What is most apparent writing this post, is that I don’t post enough to this blog. Whilst I have written many a blog this year, they all sit in draft status awaiting completion and so alas the few people who do read this blog are left waiting for a hastily written annual year in review, for this I can only apologise. So, what about 2022 then?

New beginnings, eventually.

This year was a year of fresh starts, although it featured some false starts along the way. In my reflection on 2021 I spoke of excitement about fresh starts and even featured a photo from our new home that we were due to move into at the start of this year, 2022. However, it was not to be and our dreams were shattered by a comedy of errors from banks, surveyors, and just bad luck.

We were forced to move home before we were ready in order to avoid loosing the sale on our York home, and so with great thanks to a friend we moved temporarily to Lincoln. This did not come without its challenges, and frustrations, and a fair few tears, but in the end it all worked out. Certainly I will not miss the long twice weekly drives to York from Lincoln to collect Aoife, although despite the long hours spent in the car, they were bonding moments with Aoife as we chatted, sung, and joked and played games along the motorways back and forth from Yorkshire. Without a doubt Aoife enjoyed every second of her time with my parents who enjoyed it just as much I am quite sure (however tiring a 3 year old can be twice a week). Aoife perhaps will not remember those days when she is older but my parents soon won’t forget and the many photos, not to mention mountain of pilfered toys and baby clothes for the dolls, are testament to the many happy hours spent there. That is not to mention the countless trips to parks and to Playzone which she still fondly remembers and asks to revisit frequently.

For Precious and myself it was a trying time, a purgatory like pause in our lives as we waited to see what happened next. We eventually found a new home though, in Selby instead and excitedly waited for the long process of moving to complete so that we could finally start living again. Our stay in Lincoln was a challenge, one we hadn’t expected but nonetheless we embraced it and enjoyed exploring the town, sampling the restaurants, and most of all going on very long walks with our many dog owner friends in the Arboretum.

Happily ever after

We finally moved to our new home in August. Moving to Selby it turns out was the best thing that could have happened. York was the last place we wanted to live, being surrounded by traumatic memories, and in proximity to those perhaps we would not want to be in proximity too for one reason or another, did not appeal one little bit. We had originally aimed for Castleford having found a lovely seemingly idyllic home there on the river, but the universe had other plans and we find ourselves in Selby instead. But this it turns out is precisely where we wanted to be, we just didn’t realise it.

Selby is a lovely town, with all the amenities we would want, and a great sense of community, plus some amazing fireworks, with lovely neighbours that had none of the drama and outright criminality that we always encountered in York. We are free (almost) of the corruption and abuse of City of York Council, and free (to some extent) of everything and everyone else that is associated with York. We got our fresh start in a fresh town and we accidentally ended up in the perfect location, everything worked out in the end.

Perhaps most unexpectedly, we found family here and Precious was able to rekindle long ago assumed lost relationships with her family. We’ve found amazing people that we can truly enjoy being around and look forward to seeing, going on outings, having meals together, supporting one another, and celebrating important events and achievements together. Those newly rediscovered family ties have made Selby feel like our home, not just for Precious who gets to enjoy rediscovering those family relationships and love, but for me and Aoife who have gained some family too.

Lessons from 2022

I think if there is anything I’ve taken away from this year more, it’s the sense that generally speaking things have a way of working themselves out. It seems to me that what is meant to happen will happen, and it will happen precisely when it is meant too. I am not suggesting that we necessarily must enjoy the glacial pace that the universe sometimes settles on when executing this grand master plan, but eventually things do seem to work themselves out precisely as they are meant too, precisely when they are meant too.

This year was challenging and painful in so many ways, we’ve grappled with profound loss, heartbreak, sadness, and despair. But, at the end of it we have finally found our beautiful new home in a lovely town with amazing family around us, and in due course more family coming to join us when the universe deems fit. Things have worked out, despite everything, and they continue to improve.

Furthermore, I am learning to care a lot less about what other people think. People have their thoughts, opinions, and impressions, they sometimes lack faith in you or those you care for. I now realise that the key is to have faith in yourself, in those you care for and love, and to believe and trust your instincts and your heart; have courage in ones convictions. It doesn’t matter what other people may think, it is crucial to be true to oneself and to embrace that which makes you happy and brings you joy, so as I enter 2023 I intend to do exactly that and embrace those things and those people which bring joy and happiness. A truly unpleasant chapter of my life is hopefully now coming to a close, and it’s time to start the next chapter, or rather the next book, the sequel, and this one is going to be much much better, and the characters are a lot better too.

We have arrived at our destination.

So here we are, lessons learnt and we are at the end of 2022 and starting 2023. Certainly 13 plus years ago I wasn’t expecting to be where I am now, even just 1 year ago I wasn’t expecting to be where I am now or to have experienced some of the things I’ve experienced along the way this year. But, here we are, the journey through 2022 is complete and we have reached our destination.

No journey is perfect, they are inevitably filled with challenges, pain, and upset both minor and major. Of course, there are good bits in any journey, but you don’t remember the clear sections of motorway, you remember the 3 hour diversion after you encountered road works, or you remember the angry other driver raging against you along the way that you didn’t deserve. We forget all the calm boring bits of the motorway or the pretty sunset you watched along the way, and we remember and hold onto the pain. But despite all that, at the end of the journey you arrive at your destination; be it holiday, or visiting family, or home. It is at your destination you can find true happiness and joy.

We as a family have arrived at the end of our 2022 journey and we have reached our destination, we’ve arrived home, not just literally in a new home but emotionally with one another and with our family. Our little family of 3 has arrived home, we have each other, we have our love for one another, and hopefully we have a very happy 2023 ahead of us full of excitement and happiness and maybe even some closure on the past. This is not to say 2023 isn’t going to have it’s own challenges, but together I am sure that Precious and I, and Aoife, can overcome anything that life can throw at us.

So here’s to a fabulous 2023. Happy new Year!