dear diary :: looking back and looking forward

It is that time of year in the quieter lull between the Christmas festivities and New Year when I always start looking back over the past twelve months; remembering all those unforgettable moments both good and bad that are etched on my mind for ever.

It has been an eventful and productive year, if not a little exhausting at times, beginning with the birth of little Freddie in January and followed by two Christenings, a 1st birthday and 40th birthday celebrations. Phew.

It was the year I grew more vegetables, started knitting again, made a christening gown and many of my own cards. In and amongst we had some lovely days out at the open garden events as well as in Scotland and a very memorable day at the seaside in Saltburn with Little L.

It was also the year we remodelled the downstairs cloakroom turning it into a walk in pantry. I did think at the beginning of the year that we would have made a start on the kitchen too – but that was not to be and we continue to live with our truly retro kitchen, patching and repairing it as we go along.

The cottage was put firmly on the back burner again as a difficult situation arose in the summer that required our full attention. The unexpected issues we had to deal with took all our time and are best forgotten – I remind myself we did our best and that hindsight is always better than foresight. If there are any regrets or niggling thoughts that I should or could have done things differently or better I just think that we are where we are and nothing can change that now all we can do is wait for the day when the issues will be resolved for better or worse.


I don’t know about you but I am already pondering on my next actions and thinking about my word for 2020. ‘Transition‘ was my focus word for 2019 learning how to incorporate many changes into our lives as we moved from working to retiring.

Try as I might I have failed so far to get into a new satisfactory routine since leaving work and my life is certainly a lot different and feels like I am going at a faster pace than ever, trying to accommodate all the changing needs of our wider family who are all in transition too it seems and if anyone ever asks how I am coping my answer is always that I have less time now I am at home than when I worked.

Letting go of the familiar to sail blindly into unchartered waters is not easy and we have not entirely found our footing….but we know where we are headed and have made a start. I realised this year that to do all the things we want to do in retirement and have a long retirement, enjoying more time with both our chosen activities and our ever growing family, then our good health is key.

So I have been giving a lot of thought to this recently – I know our health could be better – I do not want to slide down the slippery path of having to take medication for those old age ailments that with a bit of attention from me I can prevent or reverse before they take hold.

Of course regular readers will know I am reliant on taking thyroxine medication as my thyroid gland had to be completely removed in 2008 due to cancer. This tiny gland that sits at the base of your neck at the front regulates metabolism – energy, heartbeat and temperature and how well you burn calories and digest food. It can be hard to balance the amount of Thyroxine I need daily to keep me stable – that is neither hypothyroid nor hyperthyroid – get it even slightly wrong and the side effects are not good.

Having a healthy diet and plenty of exercise does help my body overcome the lack of a thyroid gland but it can be hard to keep it up when we live such a pressured life.

January will be the month then that I will be focusing on my well being, diet and exercise in gradual small steps.

Over the year I also want to concentrate more on craftwork – sketching, sewing, making more cards – any creative activities would be nice. I feel this year I have laid the foundation and 2020 will be the year to build on this.

Minimalism and simplifying as you know are subjects dear to my heart and I will continue to reduce our impact on the environment by being mindful of what we buy and what we waste.

With all this in mind the word that has kept coming back to me is….


meaning: ‘grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, to grow or develop successfully’

I do not just want to grow and adapt during the changes to our life but to do it with good health and a positive mind. The word Flourish to me just fits the picture perfectly.

I will be beginning in January to take our health seriously – maybe not on New Year’s day but the days after. Presently I am reading and planning for the changes I want to make and I aim to record these daily for anyone else who might want to follow along with me.

It will be more of switching to healthier choices rather than a diet as such or anything too extreme. I did this when I had the cancer and it saved my life back then – I hope it will prolong my life in retirement now.

Have a lovely weekend and welcome to my new followers. xx

21 Replies to “dear diary :: looking back and looking forward”

  1. I like looking back on the year as well and regardless of what has happened, good or bad, I think if you’ve done the best you can by yourself, your family and others then that’s all you can ask.

    I also need to start taking my health more seriously, something you’d think would come naturally after a heart attack, but old routines and bad habits are easily slipped back into. And often there is just not enough time, mentally or physically to be my own priority, although that is changing slowly but surely.

    I wish you well for 2020. Somehow it being a new year and a new decade seems doubly significant.


  2. Flourish is a good choice and not a common one. Mine is Focus as I have a lot (and I do mean a lot) of old WIPs and new crafts I want to finish and start. So I must Focus in order for me to succeed in 2020.

    I had a similar operation to you on my thyroid, but mine was Parathyroid when they took three out of the four nodules out. I was assured they weren’t cancerous, which was/is good news.

    Wishing you luck with your chosen word.


    1. I remember the conversation with my consultant surgeon who mentioned the four parathyroid nodules and how he needed to be extremely careful he did not interfere with them during the op to remove my thyroid. I believe they affect the blood calcium and can make you have spasticity problems? Luckily all was well with mine and only my thyroid and lymph nodes were taken that had cancer and I have only had one episode of real spasticity the day after the op – it was truly scary as my whole body went rigid and the revival team were called into action – they charged down the corridor of the ward followed hot on their heels by the dinner trolley. Obviously I declined lunch that day!


  3. I totally agree that we need to look after our health. If we don’t look after ourselves we cannot be there for our nearest and dearest. When we change things, when we try something new we often want to do it all at once, don’t we? I hope that 2020 is a year when you find a good balance in health and life in general.


  4. Love your theme. Was going to say maybe no routine is your routine. But then having a routine of healthy eating, exercise and self-care is important not only to avoid future medication but to keep vital and active.

    Maybe because you do NOT have to go to work you feel you can be more at the beck and call of family and they feel they can ask for your help? After all, if Mum doesn’t have to go to work….. Maybe some barriers in the form of routine exercise etc has to be put in place so you don’t put them off for other things?

    I think of my weights exercise as health care. It’s like taking medication. I may not like it but I do it because it is good for me. Put as health care (or, as my physiologist put it when I had injured my knee – rehab which really just meant exercises) means that physical therapy is less likely to be put aside.

    And if you’re stronger, you can garden more!!! And for longer in your life.


    1. The gardening is a big motivator for me – I noticed this year how much weaker I had become when I was gardening and need to do something about it. The family have needed us a lot this year as they are facing major changes in their lives too. My sister has been helping with my mum and my younger daughter as she lives closer to them so I in turn have tried to relieve her more and help to free up some of her time.
      I am hoping things will settle soon in the new year. x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely to get your comment on my post today. From it I deduce that we must not live that far apart. I am going to put you on my side bar when I finish the comment. Interesting to read th details leading up to your retirement. I too have entered a new phase in my life in that, for the second time, I have been widowed and now live in Leyburn in a bungalow, but am happy and have carved out a new life. My son and his wife live near and his wife has had her pituitary gland removed – that too causes a lot of problems. We must keep in touch – I have done many crafts over the years and am still interested but can no longer do any because of Benign Essential Tremor in my hands. Happy New Year to you and your family.


    1. Hello Pat lovely to hear from you – I have left a comment on your blog in case you do not see this. I have been reading along with your blog for a while now because you talk about the places we know and visit from our journeys up to North Yorkshire to visit family and of course you have such a wealth of interesting knowledge about the countryside from your farming days.
      Happy New Year to you x


  6. Trying to find balance in retirement can be a challenge. On the one hand the structures of a work schedule provided a framework in which everything else in your life had to adapt. Work often took priority, even when you didn’t want it to. In retirement, however, a framework for living is now up to you–or to your circumstances–and it can be very difficult to find one that doesn’t feel like some kind of amoeba-like object–taking form one minute and then quickly changing all over again as one accommodates the needs of not only yourself, but others. By looking at this past year–the good and the bad–you have taken yet another step in determining the best framework for your life as you move forward. Taking your physical well-being into account is critical. Sometimes we think we can still do the things we did just ten years ago, only to discover that we simply don’t have the stamina for it. To plow on as though we should be able to do things we used to do is not in our best interests. Learning to integrate changes–whether physical, financial or emotional–is key to a balanced, healthy life. Not easy, but necessary. Look forward to reading how you will find ways to flourish in 2020.


    1. Hello Mary – you are always so good at expressing what I am feeling – looking back over the year it has been as exhausting as it has been eventful – some events good and some not so. We are not sure until later this coming month what will happen regarding the ‘issues’ that arose earlier this year but we are hoping that whatever the outcome we can at last move forward and some of the stress will be lifted. I think our health might also improve as a result as the stress has been immense and as certainly taken its toll on us all. I do so want to feel healthier again, not that I have anything major wrong I just feel tired and weak. I am looking forward to starting the new year – a clean page. I hope your year has been good for you and wish you a happy 2020. x


  7. Flourish is such a good word for what you are trying to do,it’s what plants do if you look after them well and since you like gardening you just need to look after yourself as much as you do the plants ! Sorted.


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