Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year Round-up

About this time last year, I posted my plans for 2017. I thought it would be interesting to see whether I actually did any of them. After all, Facebook is currently filled with posts informing us that nobody ever keeps their new year's resolutions. So here goes:

Places to go:

  • Rother Valley Country Park - Neil and I went there in January. It was beautiful and we had a lovely afternoon out. We walked round the lakes there and had afternoon tea in the cafe. 
    Monochrome photo of birds on the lake
  • Cairngorms - In March, I had a lovely week in Aviemore with my two adult sons. We were a bit limited on snow sports because of the weather but it felt amazing to ski again with my boys!
    View from the top of the mountain, showing a little snow
  • The beach (actually on the sand and in the sea) - This was one of the highlights of my week in Kemi in June. I had a picnic on the beach with my friends and managed, with crutches, to walk over the sand and paddle in the sea. 
    Rather grainy photo of me paddling in the sea with my friend
  • A European capital - okay, so I didn't get to that one. Maybe next year.
Things to do:
  • Sitski without tethers - In January, I did this at Snozone and it was the most amazing feeling. I had a session with my coach and most of my family that are into snow sports. Sadly, in February, I had an accident and injured my arm. I realised that my arms are now more important to me for getting around and decided that skiing independently was probably not going to be a long-term reality for me. I still enjoyed skiing with the boys on Cairngorm though.
  • Find something to do to serve the church - We finally found a church where we feel at home and somewhat predictably, I'm taking care of the website. I wish I had more time to devote to it but at least it's a contribution and I feel like I'm giving something again.
  • Finish my Master's - I submitted my final assignment in September and got my results a few weeks ago. I got a distinction for my last module and have completed my MA.
  • Improve my photography skills - I'll leave that for others to judge but I don't feel like I've devoted enough time to this. Maybe in 2018.
People to see:
  • Family and friends - One of the best things about being back in the UK is seeing family more regularly. However, the flip side is that I miss my friends in Finland sooooo much! It was wonderful in June to spend a week in Kemi, catching up with some of them.
  • Disabled people who are into sport - funny, eh? This has become less important to me and I've gone more towards taking part in regular sport but in my chair. In particular, I've got into Parkrun, which I love. As well as great exercise and fresh air, the people are incredibly friendly and supportive!
  • Help or inspire someone else - I think this will always be a rollercoaster ride! There have been times when I've helped or inspired others, or at least people tell me I have. More often though, I draw my inspiration from others. This year, I have been particularly inspired by the people I met on the Canine Partners training course. It was so encouraging to spend a fortnight with other people with disabilities and share our stories and ways of managing life
This year, I feel disinclined to make any particular plans. As well as the above achievements, 2017 had its share of ups and downs. At times, I have seriously struggled to stay positive and have been hit by some of the frustrations of living with a disability. On the other hand, being partnered with Liggy, my assistance dog, has been a wonderful end to the year. 

This year, my hopes and dreams are pretty simple... I would like to move into a line of work that is more closely aligned with my recent studies, either with my current employer or elsewhere. I would like to do something that will change another person's life for the better. And obviously, I aim to work with Liggy to have the best trained and most adorable assistance dog there has ever been.