Year in Review

It’s the time of year where everyone starts to make proclamations about how amazing/awful the past year has been and start to make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve seen a lot of Facebook memes about how 2016 has been ‘shit’ and can we ‘just forget about 2016’ because of things like Brexit, celebrities dying, other global events etc. That’s not quite the same thing. A celebrity dying has very little impact if any on the personal life of an individual. And things like Brexit and the US Presidential campaign affect everyone differently. So those memes, in my view anyway, are pointless dramatics. When most people are reflecting on 2016 personally, it tends to be the positives that have happened to them e.g. marriages, jobs, children.

This post is partly prompted by a conversation I had with my GP yesterday and also the fact that Facebook keeps insisting every day that I share my ‘Year in Review’ video. And if Facebook tells me to do something, I obviously should do it(!) This time last year I got signed off sick by my GP and in the end never went back to work. At the time, she said ‘we’ll review in the New Year and hopefully get you feeling better in 2016.’ Ha. That didn’t happen, but we were both feeling hopeful- I now had an endocrinologist who was trying to help me and not just fobbing me off. I saw her yesterday and she said ‘we’ll review in the New Year and hopefully 2017 will be your year’. So I told her she said the same thing last year and that failed.

But it made me think: how has 2016 been for me?

  • The first two weeks of January I went to a medical appointment every day of some sort. In varying hospitals/practices. I think that sets the tone for the year quite nicely!
  • I got Insulin Resistance and Osteopenia added to my diagnoses. Basically I’ve got the bones of a 60 year old and I’m probably going to get diabetes at some point.
  • I got discharged from the Regional Severe and Brittle Asthma Team- good news!
  • I went on holiday with my husband
  • I got put in resus twice. I called a few ambulances. I was admitted to hospital a few times overnight/for a few days and several more as a day patient. I had lots and lots of horrible tests. I was used as a teaching case a lot.
  • I stopped working in my career as a teacher
  • I had to stop playing wind music completely
  • I admitted defeat and started referring to myself as disabled. And got a blue badge. And eventually started using a wheelchair.
  • My brother’s baby died.
  • I stopped leaving the house by myself because I kept getting ‘stuck’ when I did and ended up in hospital or having to get people to rescue me.
  • I was a Best Person/bridesmaid for my friend’s wedding and went to her Hen Party
  • I went to the cinema a lot. And some concerts
  • I started blogging
  • I bought a sewing machine and started trying to learn how to do that too
  • I went to a couple of friends’ weddings and a baptism
  • I started my 30 Things Lists
  • I started trying to learn Spanish again
  • I took part in a few monthly challenges like blog and photo challenges. Those were quite fun.
  • I had some good days out with friends and my husband
  • I started going to a monthly church group and unofficially took on the role of ‘chief laminator’
  • A few friends showed their true colours. Both in a positive way and a negative way- I know who my real friends are now put it that way.

That’s pretty much the whole year, aside from meals out, day trips and visiting friends. Or, if there’s something I’ve forgotten, it’s because I was feeling so ill I have absolutely no recollection of it. So please remind me of it! 🙂

My GP said a couple of times ‘but you’re only 29….’ and I have to admit I did lose patience and said ‘yes, you want to try being me’. She was saying it because she wants to help, but if you look at my situation on paper, it’s pretty depressing. I’m basically an old woman in a young person’s body. I also seem to be an anomaly- my body literally does the opposite of what it’s supposed to, no-one can really work out why yet, but the bonus is it’s somehow keeping me alive.

Other people can talk about work achievements, getting married, having a baby etc. Do I actually have any achievements from this year? Not really! To be honest, while I can’t feel positive about things I have ‘achieved’ this year, I do feel I have got a lot out of my life this year by what I have learnt than in previous years:

  • I must be pretty resilient. Like I said, despite confusing some specialists, I’m still alive. I still get up every day and try to make the most of it. I don’t use my illness as an excuse to do or say whatever I feel like, like some people do. I care about other people and their lives and don’t say things like ‘stop talking about your job/baby/life because I don’t have one’ like other people have said in years gone by when they’ve had a horrible year. I care about people and their positives and I want to hear about them. If nothing else, I think it’s important that I acknowledge those things as achievements this year- some people with illness act like the world owes them something. I don’t want to be like that.
  • Ultimately, I can’t change people and their thoughts of me. If they’re not going to make the effort, I don’t have to either. If they pass judgements, that’s their problem, not mine.
  • I like having things planned out, but sometimes you just have to go with it. Safe to say, this year did not go as I planned. I think the hardest thing this year has been it has been so uncertain. I’m still in the working it out/diagnostic stages and it keeps changing, which means I can’t ‘get used to’ my illness fully and work with and plan around it. While it’s tempting to google everything I can about things that doctors say, all it does is waste energy and causes stress, so I’ve had to learn to not to.
  • Things have a way of sorting themselves out. As Newt says in Fantastic Beasts (good film by the way), if you worry about it, you just suffer twice.
  • You can’t control the situations life throws at you, but you can actually control how much suffering they inflict on you. I’m now a lot better, albeit by no means perfect, at letting things go. And I really like meditation- that’s an achievement actually- I meditated every day for a whole year!
  • People view health as either you are healthy or you’re not. That’s not how it works, it’s a scale. I think if more people realised that, and the fact that life is temporary and can change quickly, people would live a lot more in the present rather than wishing their lives away on the next big achievement.
  • People view life as a series of those achievements and plaster it all over social media. Jobs, children, amazing parties, holidays…anything that gives some kind of status. I wrote about it a bit in this post. While those things might enhance our lives, they’re not what defines us people. I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who had amazing holidays, I want to be remembered for my personality and qualities as an individual. No-one has their social media check-ins written in their obituary (although I wouldn’t be surprised nowadays!)

So 2016, on paper for me, looks terrible. Realistically, I won’t be miraculously healthy in 2017. But was it a bad year overall? It wasn’t great health wise, but thanks to my failing body and my 60 year old bones, I’ve learnt some lessons that most people my age won’t learn until they’re actually 60, by which point it might be too late. My Facebook year in review video is pretty boring, but the things it can’t show are the moments where I’ve laughed with friends over non-Facebook worthy things but fun things none the less, the small things I appreciate which I didn’t before, the people who have really been there for me by keeping my morale up every day and the way my outlook on life has changed this year. By all means people should share their achievements and accomplishments and I’ll be happy for them (genuinely), but it should be because they’re important to them, not because they feel some need to compete with the rest of the world.

As for New Year’s Resolutions? Let’s be honest, most people break those by the third week in January anyway! 😉


Image: Google Image


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