5 January 2015

Things can only get better?

Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As 2014 drew to a close, I noticed a lot of people online expressing the same sentiment: that it had been a difficult year and they looked forward to a better one in 2015. 

Last year was certainly a challenge for me: with every week that passed, a new crisis seemed to materialise. The lowest of the lowlights were... 

Two surgical procedures, one of which necessitated two weeks off work, and both of which were more trying than expected, with longer convalescences than anticipated.

My boiler and washing machine having to be replaced, forcing me to face my worst (OCD) nightmare of strangers coming into my home and causing upheaval and mess. 

My boyfriend, Pete, breaking his collarbone in a cycle accident.

And, to cap it all, taking redundancy under the latest restructure of our team (if anyone is looking for a writer/executive assistant/project manager from 1 April, you know where to find me...)

There were numerous other, more trivial causes for anxiety and stress in the course of the year and my immediate response, therefore, would be to sum it up as a bad one.

But was it really? I've certainly had worse: being made redundant, splitting up with my husband and moving house in 1994, and losing one of my best friends to cancer in 2009, to name but two.

And to say it was a bad year would take away from all the truly memorable moments I enjoyed.

At least a dozen fantastic days stand out in my memory, including: three afternoon teas (the first featuring a sighting of ex-Take That member Jason Orange); two belated birthday lunches with friends and an amazing dinner on the day; climbing the O2 and 'flying' on the Emirates cable car; and celebrating Pete's birthday, just before Christmas, at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

Then there was the publication of my article about OCD in Complete Wellbeing magazine, the rapidly growing support for my blog, and the successful completion of two projects at work that I asked to take on to broaden my career horizons, as well as many other simple pleasures.

I once read a quote along the following lines: the trouble with humans is that we expect always to be happy and view misfortunes as somehow unfair. I know I do this, yet railing against problems only exacerbates the stress they cause in and of themselves. Likewise, expecting things to change for the better at the stroke of midnight on 31 December is, surely, setting yourself up for disappointment?

Whilst looking, in vain, for this quote, I came across this comment, from the Dalai Lama:

'As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles.'

And so I enter 2015 wishing not for an easier or better year, but for one where I will have the strength to deal with whatever adversity I face, and where I can create more wonderful memories with my loved ones. In fact, a year just like the last one.

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