A Year of Unexpected Things

I like to wait until the very last week in December before sharing review posts like this because, if you’re not at the absolute end of the year, who knows what still might happen? Prime example: two days after Christmas last year, my husband and I acquired a dog. This was completely unplanned, to the degree that if you had asked us thirty minutes prior to it happening if we were getting another pet we would have looked at you funny and wondered where you got such an idea.

Following on this theme of life throwing unexpected curve balls, at the end of 2017 I shared a post in which I said I had a new teaching job lined up for 2018 and had been put in charge of organising Women Aloud NI’s 2018 ‘in-train’ recital for International Women’s Day. Well, right off the bat, I was hit with the unforeseen circumstance of getting ill. I had to cancel my first class and the recital didn’t happen thanks to the train selling out all its tickets to eager rugby fans within a couple of hours of them going online.

January rolled into February, then on into March and I was still sick, facing minor surgery, but also on the verge of finishing my novel. Then, during CampNaNo in April, I took the final step and actually did finish it, which left me in the great position of having a writing mentor look over it in May. My husband and I travelled to Derry and I met with Felicity McCall who gave me really encouraging feedback.

I had applied to teach a second term at the Crescent Arts Centre and been given the go-ahead only for it to end up cancelled at the last minute due to not enough people signing up. I taught a one-off, day-long workshop and didn’t put in a proposal for a third term.

During this time, I also had my very first fertility appointment and began trying to lose weight

At the start of June, I resigned my voluntary post within Women Aloud NI and announced that I was planning to become a student again in September. Then, later that month, I finally had my surgery.

In July I attended the John Hewitt International Summer School, which was brilliant beyond words (though I did end up writing about it quite a bit) and, while there, agreed to take up a different post within Women Aloud and changed my mind about the course I wanted to do. Then I changed my mind again, upon coming home, placing the whole student thing on the shelf and putting myself forward for yet another different WANI role.

October brought with it the news that I had won funding from the Arts Council to help me write my second novel and November brought me the misfortune of a dead laptop. It turned out to be one of the most difficult months of the year, which I wrote about here, but also led to an unexpected trip for me, my husband, and my dog earlier this month, in December, which was a real highlight.

Every year for every person seems to be a rollercoaster of some shape or size but, as I look back at 2018 for myself personally, I am struck by how many things — good and bad — came from complete left-field leaving my plans in the dust. It’s currently New Year’s Eve and I’m undecided in my goals for 2019 because there’s so much I just can’t predict. I think I have a way forward but I’ll come back to talk more about that in a couple of days.

I’ve spent about a week reading over my blog posts for the past year and compiling this round-up. In that time, the cyst I developed a year ago returned, so I now have that on my radar again. As always, I will keep you posted. Thank you to everyone who’s been following me on this wacky journey through life.

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