Wordgirl has just woken up from fourteen hours sleep in her cloud. Yes, it’s the afternoon already, I’m yawnnnnning with a pillow face that I swear is getting ummmm more distinct (?!) as I get older, and ridiculously messy hair that will continue to grow in 2014 – I want long-long-long hair for a while. I’m surrounded by white sheets, pillows and blankets, a huge cup of tea that’s nearly as big as my head to my right, a copy of The Economist (China’s Hollywood with a museum focus) to my left with The Huey Show on Radio 6 Music playing in the background (a great soulful Booker T. Jones track on right now – on a total funk train today and currently bed dancing – can’t live without music)…and I can’t forget the views from my open curtains across the allotments with killer sunshine (I spoke about views yesterday). Time to write my end of year sign off blog post for 2013…ready? I’ll try not to keep you for too long…
Firstly a big thank you for reading, listening, following over the past twelve months…with a grand total of just over 25,000 hits. I can never quite get my head round this, and ironically words are not enough in just saying thanks. Surprisingly the most personal, non-work related posts got the most hits! Funny that. Last year’s end of year sign off blog post called 2012 “a changing year” as I got to grips with being back in the UK after my Chinese chapter…well if 2012 was changing, then 2013 was a year of self-reflection and becoming due as I had to confront some big happenings that I’ll mention in brief in a minute. So much of it I’m still trying to digest, and probably will for my whole lifetime, and for good reason…so much too though that’s been and gone, happened and moved on, that I’ve lived, learned and grown, smiled and laughed from, that has made me even more me, more Rachel. Hello Rachel.
Over the Christmas and New Year period, many old (and new) friends descended into the locality to catch up – so great to see you guys! Most of us were saying how it felt different this year, how we felt more like “us”, how we knew ourselves better, a personal contentment…and how special it was to see and be with each other. Our different “families” as such. 2013 has been a particularly testing year for so, so, SO many people I cannot tell you (I’ve literally had a handful of messages this morning from people saying they can’t wait to see the back of this year in not so nice words – I never swear on here)…including (in part) for myself largely because of surgery to recovery kingdom – but I’m smiling (most of the time) on the other side of it now. For others, it has been different through personal health problems, close family members being very ill, unexpected deaths and the loss of life and long-term love…the things that we wished we could control but never, ever can. There have obviously been many, many positives with the arrival of new lives into the world, and watching people take the next step whether it be in love or work or place moving country. I raise my cup of tea to you all special people across the world now – IN MY THOUGHTS.
Yesterday, I got to catch up with one of my best friends ‘mk’ who is currently living and working in New York – one of my other global homes where I lived in 2008. We were talking about the lists that we always ritualistically make at the beginning of each year, our predictions, our thoughts, wants, vision of what’s ahead for the next twelve months. I won’t talk about 2014’s future today but my 2013 predictions that I noted at the beginning of the year, pretty much happened…only a few didn’t. How on earth I thought I was going to travel that much, let alone get my PhD finished up against everything else I have no idea! I had a completely grounded year courtesy of my health, which in part killed me a little inside as I’m a real explorer as you all know. I got through it though (I actually got through it) and I’m now bionic, version 2.0 (not many people can say that) forming a new relationship with Amoy tiger tummy to move forward together. I did turn 30 over and over again with repeated parties, and feel no different…people seem to turn turning 30 into a big deal when actually 30 is a pretty nice knowing age to be at (apart from when you’re at your best friends little sisters 21st birthday party like I was at the weekend where you feel OLD – funny). Music has now become a main vein in a body that seems to, and might even, take over art as I’ve got to know and work with more and more in the world of sound…this could be a creative career curve ball in Rachel’s life post-PhD next year…we will see. It’s infecting me, in a good way. I did work hard in my various hats (as usual – no change there), cycle more, get published…you name it I tried to get it done, but all those kind of achievements haven’t felt the same this year. People took priority. People, health and happiness…and recovery.
As I’ve said before, words are not enough in saying thank you. There are so many of you that I need to thank for helping, supporting and being there for me this year…in what’s been one hell of year for me. There are only a few things that truly matter to me in life – people and experience…having an adventure every single say, seeing things differently that I will always do, making things happen and dreaming big.
So as I close the book of 2013, I have only a feel things to say…live on instinct more – question less – feel more – take time out to stop, rest and recover as it is so, so important – it’s only you who can make changes – like what you like – remind yourself how lucky you are for the simplest of things you can do – talk more about what’s in your head – hold hands – remember people and never forget – hug – actually do those things that you say you want to because, if this year has taught me anything, you honestly cannot plan or predict what is going to happen…but there’s something special about that unknown unpredictability right? I like (nice) surprises.
So before I head out into the last cold December evening of 2013 until the sunrises…I wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, your friends and family. I hope 2014 comes in peace and here’s to the adventure of the year ahead. I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty big. Smiles at the ready. I’m already giggling. Let’s keep this conversation going next year…
Whilst writing this, I heard a few words on the Radio that are pretty apt in closing 2013:
“If you’re doing it, go for it, go for it for real…make life a feast for every sense.”