Daniel and I sat together over an amazing Friday night curry at the beginning of this weekend, and in light of our plans to have a full-on Christmassy weekend, we started talking about the year that is, finally, coming to a close.
It's been a tough one, and I'm struggling to consider 2011 as a whole, as a single section of my life. It seems as if it's gone on forever, and whereas I could make a long list of amazing 2010 moments, 2011 has, for the most part, been a long and tired struggle. I've found myself lamenting the year on numerous occasions, as if somehow the very fact that it's 2011 gives reason to all of the difficult things that have happened. Finally, though, the year seems to be giving in to some positives, and I'd be a fool to let myself see 2011 as one long string of sadnesses and frustrations.
Last year, Kaileen Elise put together Reverb10, a fantastic series of thoughtful posts to reflect upon the year. Though I followed the series and wrote some posts of my own, I found it difficult to post every day, and didn't end up getting as involved as I would have liked. This year, Reverb11 has taken on more of a DIY feel, and Kaileen has posted a set of prompts to inspire themes for reflecting on 2011. I feel a real need to think back on 2011 and write about it, a need to work out what exactly happened and think through some of the things that I had hoped would happen, and some of the things that I never knew would happen. I need to do this for myself, but here on this blog feels like a more appropriate place to do it then any hand-written or private medium, as here I think aloud, and so I think more coherently. I hope you'll get involved too, in your own way; maybe the questions that Kaileen Elise has written will help you reflect on 2011, too?
1. Where did 2011 begin?
2011 began in our bedroom in York. I was ill and had gone to bed early, but I got up just before the end of 2010 to watch the fireworks from our bedroom window. The year started with reluctance, just Daniel and me together, not in a celebratory mood on any level. Still, I was ok with that - I was glad to be in his company alone, as so many New Years have been spent surrounded by so many people that I didn't really know, and there's nothing more lonely than that, is there?
2. Who did you meet?
I met some new colleagues when I started my new job in March, and enjoy the wonderful privilege of knowing that some of these colleagues have become very good friends. I've 'met' new people through blogging, and have enjoyed reading their thoughts in their blogs and receiving their comments on my posts. I've also met new people in my yoga class and in my running club - people who will probably never become friends, but with whom I share something quite intrinsic.
3. What books did you read?
So many! Some favourites:
Running in the Family - Michael Ondaatje
The Waves - Virginia Woolf
Starter For Ten - David Nicholls
July's People - Nadine Gordimer
On Beauty - Zadie Smith
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
4. When did you struggle?
The whole year has seemed to be a struggle!
I struggled to roll out of bed at 5:15 every morning without fail until September. I struggled to keep my head when the trains ran late or when they just didn't work. I struggled to keep faith in myself when I kept being rejected for jobs, and when I was unemployed (though very briefly) despite all of my efforts. I struggled, and failed, to not cry when I was told I was unsuccessful in an interview I thought I was bound to vanquish. I struggled with grief, with waves which bounded and pulled away without warning, and which got stronger with time, not weaker. I struggled to see my family clustered together in sadness as I tried to put our feelings into words, and I struggled to keep the tears inside my head as everyone around me wept to those words. I struggled to be the partner that I always want to be for Daniel, and I struggled alongside him as he battled his own struggles. I struggled up those hills on my bike, and one instance, by the side of the road to Whitby, I struggled not to be sick and not to cry, and to get on my bike and push forth through what really did feel like complete hell. I struggled to walk after cycling 100 miles, and I struggled to stay awake long enough to enjoy a good meal and a pint afterwards.
5. What did you discover?
I discovered what I always knew, one morning in April when I realised where I want to go and that I'll do anything to get there. I also discovered fell running, and I uncovered parts of yoga and parts of my faith that have always been there but have needed some exploring. 2011 has mainly been a year of uncovering, rather than discovering.