Another year older…and a whole lot happier

This time last year I was in a bit of a life funk. I had just turned 28 and to be honest, there was very little to celebrate unless I counted breathing and other such mundane but essential actions. As the blog suggests, 28 was a turning point for me. I had found myself single after reaching a point in the relationship from which there was no ignoring. We wanted different things and we agreed through the tears that ending this and staying friends was the only way forward. But that was a year ago. Everyone knows that a year can fly by if you do it right and oh my, have I clearly been doing it right. The year since my 28th birthday sobfest has been filled with many things, both good and bad – and thinking back on them brings smiles and sadness. Firstly, I’ll say Happy Birthday to me – a newer, smaller, happier, more confident and ultimately more chilled me. Well done kid – you did it.

In the year that has passed I have gone from fat to fit(ter) and big to less big (but still with a bit to go) – see exhibit A

From fat...to happy

The year that has passed has been a bit of fun, a fair few frolics and lots of finding out stuff about myself that I’d have previously ignored. I moved out of the house amid many tears and into my lovely little flat which has proved itself to be a balm to sooth my bruised and aching heart. Leaving the house was hard, very hard. So many memories were tied up within those four walls. I didn’t go back for a while mainly because I couldn’t but eventually, like many things the pain eases and fades. I went back for visits and tea. The cat was mainly unimpressed with my visits but I have (finally) been forgiven. The house no longer feels like my home and finally I am ok with that. The house is definitely Caroline’s house now and while I know it’s foibles and how it works, I like knowing my flat is my home, my sanctuary and my space.

May to July passed in a blur of drinking, smoking, partying with new friends, dating, reconnecting with old friends and generally throwing myself into life as a single woman. In the process of the “finding myself” summer, I tried dating. Turns out I’m a bit rubbish at the dating game…I make a better mate than date which in itself has turned into a great thing. A girl can never have enough friends and although my dating days are (for now) over, I am so glad I went on THAT date. Found a friend who likes cheesy rom-com movies as much as I do, is always willing to have cocktails for dessert and will help me devour a large pizza without even blinking. And for making me laugh until I cry. You rock.

I made someamazing friends last year – friends that have seen me through the bad times when I couldn’t get out of bed for sobbing (Nat), friends that got me a job at the pub and helped me find who was again (Davina), friends who I have hung out in the sun with watching the world go by with beer and cigarettes (Nat again), friends that have taken me dancing, got me prettied up and roaringly drunk on Red Headed Sluts and inappropriately aged boys (Emma – I love you) and friends that have inspired me to get off my rather large arse and do something with my life because they are stronger than anything life can throw at them (Amy). You lot have been my backbone in getting me here now – could not have done this year without you reminding me that I am strong.

Summer fun in 2011 in Valley Gardens with the gorgeous Davina - out of shot is the equally gorgeous Emma

As you can guess, Caroline and I got back together. I’ll not go into the mushy bits but turns out we have a far better relationship when we aren’t living together. It’s not that we can’t live together, far from it. We have both said that we are about the only ones the other could ever think about sharing a house with but as a couple, we like the same things and that doesn’t always make for a happy relationship. Thing like sleeping alone occasionally. Doing our own thing when we want to. Eating what we want (Me – chicken, pasta with butter, sewing until I can’t see, Caroline – squash, avocado, weird vegetables). Sleeping with the appropriate amount of duvet (me -1 duvet, her – 3 and possibly all her clothes on). So as compatible as we are, we are so much happier living apart. It works. I thought I wanted kids and marriage. Turns out I don’t. I wanted my own childhood back and it took a good hard look to see that having a baby wouldn’t get my childhood back. In the same way that I wanted a marriage like my parents have. It is so solid and lovely (30 years this year) that I wanted that…and then I realised that was their marriage. I’d have my own version…not theirs. As it turns out, I don’t want to be married. Not yet. As for children, not yet, if ever. I like my own life, being able to do what I want, when I want. Call me selfish but I like to think I’m not adding to the already over-populated planet.

My "motto" for now

Not having children means I can also carry on running. This time last year, I would have laughed if anyone had said I would be a runner. Not a jogger (this needs to be said with disdain – I do not jog) but a runner. I’m not a brilliant runner but I’m better than I used to be. It all started after my lovely friend Sue came to stay last summer when she went to a wedding. I went as her plus one and wore a dress that can only be describes as fuchsia pink and I looked 8 months pregnant. I wasn’t 8 months anything near pregnant and for the first time I decided that I had had enough of being fat. She casually suggested signing up to a weight loss/fitness website and also suggested that if I just started slowly, I could start to run and could lose the weight that had started to prey on my mind (not to mention my joints and my heart). So I signed up to said website and Operation 15kg was born. It coincided with my friend Amy being diagnosed with cervical cancer and in a moment of madness I came up with the idea of running for Macmillan – but not just 1 run. Oh no. Jemma doesn’t do things in a small way…I decided to run 100 miles for Macmillan over the course of 2012. I told Caroline about this mad idea and she wanted in. The 200 Mile Macmillan Madness was born and this has had a brilliant side effect – I’m losing weight. Double whammy! The first race was run in February and while it wasn’t pretty I finished 3rd from last – evidence below for those brave enough.

Struggling over the finish line - Bolton 5k, February 2012

Told you – it wasn’t a pretty image. But with 96.9 miles to go there will be plenty more of these terrifying sights…so get used to them. And sponsor me – least you get to pay for the pain.

So as I go into my 29th year, I know the dark clouds have lifted. I’m not suggesting it’ll be plain sailing from here on in – that is just pure fantasy. Of course there will be difficult times and less than fun times. There will be fall outs and people will leave my life to go back to their home countries. Work will interfere with the fun times and plans will have to be changed. I know now how much better I can cope with the stresses that will come my way. I’m stronger, happier, fitter, healthier, more confident and with a greater respect for myself. My birthday was awesome – the picture says it all I think.

Girls DO just wanna have fun (with Emma)

 

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