It won’t be long before the clock strikes 12pm on New Years Eve and we’ll be into a new year with new beginnings and new goals and dreams to work towards but, before we do I’d like to take a look back at 2018.

This year has been a year of change in more ways than one. I made the decision to leave my role as Regional Training Manager after 17 years and decided to embark upon a part time role for a local housing association working in Organisational Development and Employee Engagement. Seven months into the role I know I made the right decision as I’m absolutely loving it. The role is designed to help improve the culture within the organisation and to increase employee engagement within the business and that’s right up my street as it takes into consideration leadership, wellness and so much more. The best of it is that I get to work with a great bunch of people too!

I also embarked upon further education and started my Masters in Strategic Management & Organisational Development and even though it’s been a juggling act, I’m loving it and learning so much! I’ve also started working with a local charity and have been giving back to their service users and offering free mindfulness sessions for them which has been sooo rewarding! So much so that they’ve secured further funding for me to offer 3 more courses with them as they feel their service users will hugely benefit from this.

But, the biggest change by far for me was the passing of my Dad. Just as I started my new role my Dad was sadly diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and it was a difficult time as he was deteriorating and was hundreds of miles away in France. This was really hard as we wanted to be with him and Mum but, couldn’t be there all the time as our families and work were here in England. Dad completely understood and didn’t want us to go to see him but, as soon as we noticed him detroriate further we knew we needed to be there and it’s a good job we did as he spent one wonderful day at home {in France} with us, sipping wine in the garden and chatting before he was whisked away by ambulance to hospital.

Dad never came out until 5 days before he passed and he asked for that to happen as he wanted to die at home with Mum {his words}. We got to spend a couple of weeks with him in hospital and it was such a special time for us all as we all secretly knew that this was the last time we’d ever see one another. It was such a sad time but, so special too and I’m eternally grateful for that time.

When he passed we had a lovely service and gathering for him in the French village that they resided in. We toasted his life and ever since then we’ve kept his memory alive through the stories and memories we share and talk about with one another.

I think it’s fair to say that 2018 has had it’s ups and it’s downs, it’s been filled with sadness, laughter and memories that will last a lifetime and I’ve learned some valuable lessons. Here are my top 5 lessons from 2018;

1. Memories ~ Since my Dad passed I’ve realised how precious memories are. I’ve realised that in the end, all any of us have is memories so I’m pleased we made so many together this year, with my Dad, with my own family and friends and I’ll hold onto them forever and plan to create a whole lot more in 2019.

2. The importance of travel ~ As a child we travelled alot, especially around Europe and we created so many memories. We visited cities, mountains, different cultures and countries. I learnt so much about the way other people live and I’d like to say it’s helped me respect other cultures. This year we visited 2 new countries we hadn’t been to before; USA and Finland and both were magical in their own right! I’d like to travel a lot more going forward.

3. Friendship ~ During the hard times this year I’ve truly realised who my friends are. It hasn’t always been those that have been there the longest either, it’s been new friends and old ones. They’ve supported me through the difficult time with my Dad, they’ve sent condolence cards but, most of all have given me a hug when I’ve needed one. This year I’ve shared so many amazing memories with some wonderful people and I’m so blessed to have them in my life.

4. Marriage ~ I continue to realise what marriage is. It’s a partnership, a commitment to one another and above all a friendship with mutual respect and a desire to spend the rest of your lives together. Life has been tough at times this year, it’s hard juggling work, kids, hobbies and just life in general so it can cause the odd squabble or argument, but even in those moments we know that we’re meant for one another and love each other greatly!

5. Laughter ~ I’ve taken so many lessons away from the way my Dad lived his life. He had a life of adventure, he lived everyday to the maximum, he practiced gratitude daily and most of all, he laughed all the time. Laughter and fun is what keeps life light hearted and it’s something that can be incorporated into every day life. I want to continue having fun with my friends and family and I’m going to build time into our busy schedules to make sure we have fun on a regular basis.

So 2018 has taught me so much and I’m thankful for everything. I’m thankful for the opportunities that have come my way, I’m thankful for my friends and for finding a job I love, and most of all I’m thankful for my family. Our two boys who continue to run rings round me daily but, keep me laughing and give the best cuddles and I’m thankful for my hubby, Richard who keeps us all on check and continues to be my partner in life.

I hope you’ve all had an amazing 2018 too, not long until 2019 begins! Best get my notepad out as I’ve got big plans for this year coming; plenty of travel, holidays, weekends away, study and we’ll be taking AL to the next level. An exciting year ahead!

Happy New Year!

All my love,

Kelly x