Review of Embrace - My One Little Word 2014
I look back at the year and the best way to describe it was as if a few huge hurricanes landed in our life ripping through at various parts of the year. It felt much of the time that I was holding on during the storm, managing to keep safe but effected by the impacts. At times it seemed that the storm had passed but in actual fact we were in the eye of the storm. At that stage I was taking the time to pick myself up, rebuild, and enjoy the moment of calm…only to be hit by the next phase of the storm. The year felt engulfed by challenge, change and moments that will stay with me forever, with many things happening that impacted on myself and those people very close to Mr C and I.
There were huge changes to my career and work. A process of restructure and redundancy selection happened to me twice during the year, once at the end of March and the other in August. The whole experience rocked me to my core and made me question what I really wanted. I look back and it was tough going through two rounds of restructure and change to the team I was in, saying goodbye to my entire team and other people in the business I've worked with for most of my working life. I felt the anxiety, stress and paranoia of feeling I'm next and unsure what was ahead of me. The work changes shaped most of my year but I embraced it. It was tough but my word embrace became the core focus I needed to get through that period of time. I embraced the moments I had left with my old team and embraced the change to the business and the department I'm part of. I embraced the challenges that arose from the changes to my day job and ultimately the career path I have had planned. I've found myself being the only remaining original team member, which at times was, and still is, incredibly hard, as it has meant huge change in my role and my daily work life. I've embraced it but will look back ever so fondly on the time I had before the huge change. A unique wider team of incredibly talented and creative people filled my weeks making my job the best I think I'll ever have. The close team of people I worked with everyday, their great personalities, and the brilliant achievements we had over the years, are things I will never forget. But I have kept saying to myself embrace the change and move forwards onto the next chapter which gradually I am trying to do.
The year progressed with an overwhelmingly high volume of work, and in time I ended up with the same amount of work that used to be managed by a team of four, needless to say there were many moments that pushed me to near breaking point. But I embraced it which I'm incredibly proud of, I know that I was as strong as I could ever hope to be at such a challenging and emotive time. I tried hard to embrace the change but at times I felt I lost a bit of me as time became dedicated to getting through the overwhelm of work, the lengthy working the hours that were required to deliver, and the pressure of the business on the need for the work to be completed. Losing a little bit of me during that time was tough, I worked late and couldn't really switch off as much as I wanted, I lost any drive to be creative. At times it felt that I was almost fighting for survival, feeling drowned and overcome with workload and demands on me. But I embraced it and ploughed on. I'm proud that I worked so hard, I gave it everything I could, I embraced me and all that I could do.
During the year I kept saying to myself 'just hold on tight', 'embrace this challenge' and 'embrace the new'. It wasn't until I had a fortnight off at Christmas that I realised just how mentally exhausted and physically drained I had become, our last holiday was July where I just sat and relaxed and I did the same again for a fortnight over Christmas. I'm surprised now how I managed to battle through the lack of sleep, deal with the volume of work, the lengthy working hours and pressure I was under to keep things going for the role I found myself in at work, plus deal with the other things going on outside of work. Embrace provided me with a level of strength and taught me to just accept the changes willingly. Somewhere in its meaning it also just meant that I had to hold tight, embrace it and get through it. Without embracing it I think I would have found myself in a different situation than I'm in now.
In addition to the overwhelm of work, we had to deal with the incredibly emotional loss of our beautiful niece. I mentioned in my blog post in June that our niece was diagnosed with a rare terminal illness. In amongst challenges with work, we had a heart breaking number of months of seeing our gorgeous niece fade and slowly slip away. Her brave fight ended in September leaving us utterly heart broken, shell shocked and stunned that life can be so short. I haven’t mentioned it here before as writing it brings it all back and I pour with tears, but it was a key moment for me telling me even more to embrace life and embrace the moments. We've seen so much loss of little ones around us with very close friends' new arrivals not making it through various stages of pregnancy and life over the past few years, it showed me just how so precious and delicate life is.
The year taught me to embrace the moments. I will never forget the moments I spent with our niece, holding her close, cuddling her, comforting her at times when she was in excruciating pain, trying to make the moments we had with her calm, warm and brimming with so much love. The times I spent with her were so incredibly precious, the moments when she squeezed my hand, registered that I was there, telling her stories and comforting her when she was visibly in so much pain. Those moments will never leave me, her presence will never leave our family. What it taught me even more than I was already doing was to embrace the moments we have with the people that mean so much to us, it taught me life can be so short and life can dramatically change over night. I look back and during the year across most things that I experienced I embraced the moments, tried to live life to the full, and remembered to document the moments and memories.
Documenting the moments in my Project Life album took on a new routine and new meaning. Memory keeping during tough times was delayed until I could deal with writing about it and printing out the photos associated with it. What I'm so pleased with is that I embraced the moments and documented them in the best way I could and when I could. The project from 2014 still isn't complete but I'm ok with it and adding the missing weeks when I can. I embraced me, I embraced how I felt and embraced the creative moments however few and far between they were.
The week after our niece passed away Mr C and I collected the keys to our new home. A whirlwind of emotions engulfed us during that time, dealing with a very sad time versus an incredibly positive and exciting event was quite overwhelming. We packed up our home and our courtyard garden and moved into our new home. I embraced our new space, embraced the positivity of our new home and embraced the exciting change to our routines and what we could do in our amazing new space. It felt like a dream come true and I still have to pinch myself everyday that it happened and we were so lucky to find our home and be able to move. Our new home became a space of pure happiness that I came back to everyday after a busy day and enjoyed throughout the comforting autumnal months and during Christmas when we hosted for our friends.
Embrace added a new level of strength to my personal and emotional toolkit. As with the word 'grow' the year before last, the word 'embrace' isn’t going to leave me, that feeling and belief is embedded in who I am now. In some areas of my life the situations faced during the year would have prompted me to crumble and not deal with things but embrace gave me a real focus and strength. I embraced space to think and to reflect, I embraced change and saw it as the next stage, I embraced and discovered the positives and I held on tight, I embraced the life I was leading.
This January leaving my word behind and moving to the next word is exciting and all part of the next phase for me. I didn't manage to meet some of the intentions I set last year like embracing simplicity, embracing my plans and embracing curiosity, in the way I thought I may have had the opportunity to. As with all changes in the calendar, I can see this year as a new dawn and a new phase. It's time for the next path to be created, a fresh chapter to be started on a crisp page of a book waiting to be written. It is the opportunity to move forwards to something new. I know there will be more challenges this year and I have already experienced a few in January that I've embraced and just finished working through. Luckily my in built 'embrace' mechanism kicked in as did the feelings behind 'grow' and also the impact of my new word of the year.
I'm looking forward to what my One Little Word for 2015 will bring...I'll update you on this soon.