dear diary ~ happy ‘blog’ birthday to me

I was spurred on to write this anniversary post after reading one yesterday by an all time favourite blog of mine ‘Johnny jumps up’ which I have been following for a number of years. She has given a lovely account of the changes she has noticed about herself and her life since she started the blog which made me think about any changes that have happened in my own life.

I began the first blog ‘Where the journey takes me’ on January 4th 2012 after much deliberation – but it turns out that it is one of the better choices I have made in my life and I love reading my favourite blogs as much as I love writing for my own. Sadly many bloggers have dropped off along the way but I intend to keep going as long as possible and would like to think I might even be blogging when I get to 90 like Pat on her blog ‘The Weaver of Grass’.

So what changes have happened if any?

This has taken some very careful consideration – delving into my past is always a little scary – I think I can say that the simple life that attracts me comes and goes – just when it is within my grasp and life is feeling ordered and calm – I hit a crisis or a drama which can turn my world upside down. In August 2014 we experienced an horrific flood to our little cottage by the sea in Scotland. It was intended as our retirement home and we had been renovating it at weekends and holidays for exactly 10 years, in fact we had just had the place reroofed so that water did not get in from above! It wasn’t the sea that caused the flood but just the sheer volume of water rolling down the hills a bit like what happened in Boscastle.

Only two weeks previously we had been overjoyed at the arrival of our first grandchild Little L and this was to be quite a life changer for us.

In 2015 my colleague became terminally ill with secondary lung cancer and I had to increase my hours to cope with the volume of work which was quite specialised so there was no-one available to help without some serious training. I remember being dog tired all the time and even had to log on to my computer during any holidays I had to deal with work.

In the January 2016 my daughter announced that she was booking her wedding in Scotland for the July, so only 6 months to prepare and only about 2 weeks to get a dress on order. I spent the next few months organising and booking things for her and then designed the invites and made what seemed like miles of bunting for the marquee. Although stressful it was a nicer stress than dealing with the insurance company for the flood (which was still going on at this point) or the grief from the loss of my colleague.

In 2017 I was able to throw myself into domesticity once again…still hoping for that simple life. DH and I started hosting a Burns night at home in Yorkshire with our closest friends which we do every year now. Work became a bit manic whilst I trained two new people to replace my colleague – one either side of me asking questions all day until my head was buzzing. Eventually work settled down and I was able to reduce my hours once again. We bought a small static caravan to put in the garden at the cottage with a view to renovating the cottage once again as the insurance company had paid us out at last. Things were looking up.

In July 2018 I had my last day at work on my wedding anniversary I welcomed the end of my busy working life and felt at last that I could now concentrate on doing all the things I had not had time for…more crafting, baking, housekeeping and going out for day trips with DH. Sadly, our retirement to Scotland was not going to plan as work on the cottage had still not begun but we were able to go up there for longer periods now that we were both retired.

After running out of photo space I started this new blog ‘Where the journey takes me 2’ and also paid to have the adverts removed as they seemed to be creating a problem for readers. Whenever I go onto my old blog now I am glad that I made this decision as the amount of adverts that WordPress put on is very distracting.

By the end of 2018 we welcomed our second grandchild into the family – Sweetie- and in January 2019 Freddie came on the scene. We spent as much time as possible with them and they have certainly given us so much joy. Everything bumped along as normal with some small ups and downs along the way until July 2019 when our little world was shattered once again as one of my daughters suddenly overnight found herself alone and coping with two young children after a tragic event no-one could have forseen and which has changed all our plans for the future.

More than three years on it is now looking like there will be no retirement to Scotland and our plans for the cottage are yet to be finalised after having many changes of mind over its’ future. The garden at the cottage is still my little paradise but I have thrown myself into the garden here at home and grow what I can in the space we have. My investment in the little greenhouse was another of my better choices. I love it.

Of course last year was almost a write off being stricken with a bad back and limited mobility for many months. It did tell me how important gardening was to me when I could barely bend down and I do hope I will be able to do more in the furture. My ageing mum is also a constant worry as she has limited mobility too but hers will never be any better and her memory is none too good either making communication difficult. Having to give my sister (who lives close to her and does 3 days of care) some respite from her more frequently, together with being required to cover parts of the school holidays with child care leaves us with much less time to go to Scotland for any decent length of time.

So what have I learned about myself along the way – I realise just how resilient as a family we are – we have had some very stressful times and yet managed to keep going and mostly keep smiling. Maybe because of enduring some hard times we sailed through the pandemic and I loved being in lockdown with no demands on us – it was as close to the simple life as I fear I may ever get. But I am not complaining, nor disappointed as I know that family and their happiness is everything to me even though it takes up much of my time and leaves me busier than ever and far removed from the simple life I long for. I also know that I am not alone with many of my problems and readers often comment on their own similar troubles or often give good advice.

Looking over my blog it appears from all the posts and photos that I do like organising events and making things for them – weddings, parties, get togethers, family picnics and celebrations and this probably stems from my past life in fashion when I organised fashion shows and photo shoots – if I had my time again perhaps I would have taken an events manager’s course at University – such a course didn’t exist when I applied for Art College.

I also know that sustainability is important to me – recycling, reusing and cutting down on waste and stuff. I want to feel I will leave this world knowing that it is on a better course than it is at present so that my grandchildren have a future and that the destruction we are causing is turned around.

I do like to be organised and although I think I like the idea of routines in my life I can honestly say that I don’t really have any – going to work each day was as close to a routine as I got and now I am retired an hour or two of pottering before breakfast and an evening meal at about 6.45pm, followed by a nightly call to my mum are my only daily routines but in between anything might happen and usually not what I had planned but more what I impulsively feel like doing. I think my blog and my random posting is testimony to this.

I am not just impulsive, often to my detriment, I know there are certain things I leave to the last minute – I am one of those people who work better under pressure but afterwards always wonder why I didn’t begin earlier and I admire all those bloggers who are able to plan and execute a task well ahead of time. I am hopeless at challenges too or keeping up with some of the monthly ‘join in’ posts with other bloggers – I know there is another Scrap Happy Challenge post on the horizon and I haven’t even thought about it yet.

However, blogging at my own speed and taking photos has been an absolute joy over the past eleven years – my camera skills have certainly improved, my spelling may have too…I hope. It can be helpful to look back over both my blogs from time to time as they are a useful record of all my crafting achievements and I am sometimes surprised at the amount I actually get done even though I would like it to be more. When I see the wealth of creativity on many of the blogs I visit I do often feel that I don’t apply myself enough to do more but I will be working on this with my new Focus word ‘contentment’ and allow myself to be content with what I do achieve.

So I think I can say that although I have not by any means reached that wonderful life of simplicity I continue to work on it and see small improvements – as my blog title suggests it is a journey and one day I will arrive.

I promise that this will be the longest post of 2023 and if you have got this far through my ramblings you deserve a cup of tea. x

17 Replies to “dear diary ~ happy ‘blog’ birthday to me”

  1. Life throws many challenges at us, and sometimes we realise that a dream will not be realised after all. I’m sad that your plans for retirement to Scotland may have to change. But glad you still have a living family and the joy of watching the grandchildren grow. May 2023 be a year full of love, joy and hope – and may you be surprised by the unexpected blessings which come your way. Thank you for your blog 😊❤️🙏👍

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    1. I am not sure where we will end up but the good thing about blogging is you can carry on from wherever you are! I am so pleased your own retirement plans and move have gone to plan – I am sure God has a plan for us maybe just not the one we thought!

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  2. Congratulations on all those years of blogging and what an interesting look back.
    So many changes we have to cope with in life it’s amazing what strength can be found when needed.
    I hope 2023 is a good year for you and your family.

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  3. Congratulations on eleven years of blogging. I think it’s changed over the years since we started with many people abandoning their blogs in favour of Instagram, vlogging or podcasts. I still enjoy writing my blog though and reading others. It’s interesting to look back and see how our lives have changed, a kind of journal really. You’ve had many ups and downs over the years but as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Wishing you many more years of blogging, and I hope that 2023 gives you many delights to blog about.

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  4. Congratulations on all those years of blogging, I’m sure I have been following you for many of them.
    We are a good gang of old timers now aren’t we and so much has changed for all of us since we started, whole new lives in some cases, and challenges galore. Your photos were always good and yet somehow you seem to continue improving and you are always so busy it’s no wonder that you have never run out of things to say on here.

    Here’s to a lot more years of shared adventures on our blogs.

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    1. Your life is one that has seen a lot of change over the years and I think it is inspiring to read about it – realising you are going in the wrong direction and taking the steps that you have over time to retify things must be quite difficult but always seem to prove beneficial….and your challenges are always challenging – I know I could not do it but I love to read about them. Here is to many more years blogging and inspiration. x

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  5. It sounds like it’s been a huge scary rollercoaster ride for your family this last 11 years. But you have done so well to navigate the difficulties and come out the other side stronger than ever. I’m glad that you kept blogging and sharing your lives with us. I hope it has brought you as much pleasure and support as it has brought me. Long may it continue.

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