This year is almost over and what a year it has been for me. So incredibly tough at times yet I feel like I’ve grown for it and learned a lot in the process. Much of the learning was self-discovery.
Around mid-year my dear husband who was worried for a while that I completely lost my identity while looking after our daughter, practically forced me to commit to doing winter series on a boat I sailed on (and absolutely loved it) previously. He was right in a way; I enjoyed the training and the first few races immensely and felt like I could recapture the magic that sailing has always been for me. I am grateful to him and to my in-laws who were looking after Riley as we both raced on different boats. Yet by mid-season we both realised that it was too hard to commit to it every Sunday. I missed my daughter and I was also physically tired after disrupted sleep at home and slightly disappointed by the dynamics on the boat at times where I wasn’t fully trusted to do my job (perhaps for a good reason). So we finished the season and decided not to commit to any other series for a while.
Both my daughter and my work required extra attention this year. The year started with Riley’s surgery to remove her adenoids after a sleep study late last year and while the operation is quite minor and the recovery was fast, general anaesthesia is a terrible thing for a one year old and her parents. After the surgery she stopped waking 20 times an hour and by the end of the year started occasionally having nights when she only woke up once or twice (every two hours is still the usual).
A week after the surgery Riley started transitioning to childcare while my mum was packing up to go home after a three month stay. I can honestly say that was almost worse than the surgery and I cried every day, doubting everything. She adjusted and grew to love her childcare and the carers. She’s known to be very confident, engaged and vocal at childcare and also very happy. Dropping her off there is still the hardest thing I do all day.
She also went through a period of severe separation anxiety towards the end of the year; refused to sit in the pram; grew into a very independent but affectionate little girl. She’s an absolute delight most of the time and still very active and funny.
I, on the other hand, started feeling way more confident and competent as a parent and stopped doubting myself all the time. I can honestly say that parenting taught me more about self regulation, patience and respect than anything else I lived through. Not that I think that I have it all figured out, in fact I often feel overwhelmed still but I now think that it’s normal for parents in general. We also finally gave up and got a cleaner.
At work, I started a new role and it was not the easiest transition; it took me a while to get into the swing of things and find my own path for a number of reasons. I had a period of severe bewilderment about some things I saw around me; I was also told that some of it was part of a 3 year crisis of being at the company. I continue to be very grateful for opportunities within the company and I’m overall happy and optimistic now, at the end of the year, and very keen to see how different things work out and what I can achieve within the boundaries of the role. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was that I immensely enjoyed working with one of our incredibly bright graduates.
A few friendships really deepened and flourished this year and I couldn’t be happier about it. The place we are renting got sold to an investor with minimum of fuss so we are cautiously hopeful we will be able to continue living there until we are ready to move on.
I tried to read deeply not widely this year and I started writing occasionally again. I also found an online community I find a tremendous value in. One of my favourite places online, the forum that inspired me to learn English properly back in the day, was shut down by its owner which caused quite a bit of controversy for a month or so. By the end of the year I also took the plunge and deleted apps for Facebook and Instagram off my phone and every time I do check Facebook I realise it was the right thing to do. I do miss seeing my friends’ news but I’m also less distracted and spend less time arguing with imaginary people in my head after reading a silly article in my feed or thinking why I wasn’t invited to an event (which I probably wouldn’t be able to go to anyway).
I hope all of you who happen to read this have a wonderful holiday season and have some time for reflection, laughter, rest and time with your loved ones. Here’s to a great year 2019.