It is time to welcome in the new year. 2022, wow! Well I mean 2020 was a rollercoaster and I don’t think 2021 has been any less bumpy. Here’s hoping that 2022 provides some route to less uncertainty and not more knowledge of Greek symbols. I could rant and complain about 2021. Things were cancelled. Arguments were fought. Tears were shed. There have been tough days and days when I’ve leaped with joy. We have to be grateful for what we have. What we’ve achieved and the journey we are taking. So here is what I am grateful for in 2021.
- 2020 was a tough year for Kate and 2021 has been no smoother. She continues to put her team, her patients and many others at the top when it comes to care and dedication at work. Now working to help assess the impacts of Long Covid she continues to impress and excel me in her compassion. Above all this year Kate has made me laugh when I needed cheering up. She stepped in when I needed to cool off. And provided a shoulder to cry on. Thank you Kate for being my rock in stormy waters.
- Well 2021 has certainly been a rollercoaster ride with Finley. We continue to rub each other up the wrong way (two peas in a pod) but when I step back and look at what you achieve each and every day. You have amazing friends. More medals for doing what you love – multiple man of the matches and player of the season! You dominate the pitch when you play. Our chats and discussions have progressed to Simpsons characters and in depth philosophical dilemmas. You are a smart and a caring boy (when you want to be) and I love you to bits. You make me so proud.
- Euan. Where to start. Reading your end of year report that simply said “everyone needs a Euan in their life” sums up how I feel. Your smile. Your caring nature. Your selflessness. You are there to give a hug whether needed or not. This year you have continued to smash football and swimming. Excelled at school and showed the support you can give your friends during the good and bad times. Your love is infectious – keep being you.
- Holidays, again we were fortunate. We managed to head across the UK but particularly Wales was a treat. We had talked about climbing Snowdon with the boys for a couple of years and finally managed it. We smashed it – though picking the hottest day of the year was not our smartest when you reach the top without any water left (thank god for fresh mountain water). Along with climbing, we swam in rivers and lakes, took roller-coaster rides through woods and swam out into the Irish sea. 2022 should hopefully bring back travel overseas but this year (and 2020) reminds me to be grateful for what we have right here!
- Drawing has been my savior this year. Designing cards, drawing with Rob Biddulph and looking at other ideas. Spending 15-30 minutes just lost in the world of creativity settles my mind. It gives me some time for myself and I’ve really grown to love it. The boys join in when they can but it’s nice to just find time for myself to dive into a good drawing.
- Cooking played a huge part of 2021 too. We continued #IndianSaturday, finished #MexicoSunday and commenced #FarEastFriday – I mean the house usually has some spice and aroma drifting from the kitchen these days. The boys have dabbled in sampling some but for me it’s a chance to put on some music or TV show and drift into my own world of cooking up something special to try. We sit and have recipe books on shelves but they are meant to be used and working through them like I have been doing provides such delight.
- Football. I mean even Kate is becoming a fan. It’s just part of the week. Training multiple times a week. Games on a Sunday. Always a smile. The boys just excel at it. For Finley he’s scored goals (which as a defender is pretty good I think) and when he goes for a run there is not much that can stop him. Euan is an all round player. Striker at heart but comfortable across the board. Both picked up end of season awards, regular man of the matches but aside from all that they just enjoy it. Which is what matters.
- Grow your own: We had some good produce this year – Broccoli, beans, potatoes and what felt like a lifetime supply of raspberries (pretty much filled the freezer). The ability to grow your own I find lovely. To watch as the produce grows. You lose some. You feel a need to check and nurture them. You wonder why some “bolt”. But at the end of the day you are able to harvest a crop. You may be able to store some too. A treat for the family and great to have the children involved.
- And lastly Penistone. A place that has become home though, despite 13 years here, we will always be outsiders. The community feels. The high street and friendly shop owners. The weekly markets. It just makes it feel like home even more. Hopefully people will continue to shop and stay local a little more and appreciate what they have.
There is a lot to look back on in 2021 – progress on many fronts both personally and wider. Professionally I have joined a new team which I’ve found really exciting and look forward to continuing to grow. A strong focus on mental health has really helped me so 2022 needs to be more focused on physical health (once all the Christmas treats are gone!). Kate has purchased me a Positivity tracker which can help keep track of it all.
So 2021 is signing off. The year that Oscar Ozzy Wilkinson joined the world. A year of lego, culinary experiences and books a plenty (see next blog!). A time spent with those who are loved ones. For 2022 normality of movement is hopefully arriving. Holidays and more time with family is a must! But also plenty of time for me. The balance of life. Happy New Year to you all from my family to yours.
Cheers to 2021! And bring it on 2022!