Sunday, January 5, 2014

Life Goes On

Now we're well and truly into 2014, and I am only now really starting to feel reflective on 2013 the year that was. I can say honestly that 2013 was a mixed bag- as life so often is. It wasn't any more bad than good, and I'm no more pleased to shut the door on 2013 than I am to be opening 2014's shiny polished one.

There two stand out things that I wanted to talk about form 2013- for me it was the year of the bicycle, and the year of growing up.

Having moved to a new city, started a new job and struggled to run much, I wasn't really doing much exercise, and it sucked. After an off-hand joke from T about cycling, last year became the year I bought not one, but two bikes and rode a bike for the first time in well over a decade.

The Crimson Beast Red Vintage Raleigh Chiltern Bicycle Women's Bike

The Crimson Beast first appeared on the scene at the back end of January. It was an eBay purchase, a Dutch style bike that was older than me, it was a great place to start when I wasn't sure if I could get to grips with cycling. 

And get to grips I did. I cycled almost 1500km in 2013 and found exercise I both loved and that fit perfectly with my lifestyle since it replaced taking the train to work roughly 3 days of 5 each week. When the company I work for announced they were rolling out the Cycle to Work Scheme, I jumped at the idea of a newer bike that would enable a little progression with my cycling. I picked up my Foffa Grazia in October- a single speed beauty that weighed in at 9.5KG, almost half my Crimson Beast which went back onto eBay and hopefully is helping someone else enjoy a start on cycling in London.

Foffa Grazia Fixie Single Speed Bike Women's Bicycle #fixiegirl

Finding exercise that fits has been important to me for a long time, and finding cycling has been a joy. I was never a natural runner, and without my Air Force dreams to sustain a purpose it was really hard to get any of the joy that I get in riding my bike. 2014, I'm coming for my 300km month challenge (read more HERE)

Things I never thought I'd get excited about- Sports kit, cycle maps and trainers.

Sportswear, Cycle Maps and Nike Free Trainers
And 2013- a year of maturity and growing up...

Chloe Likes To Talk My Year 2013

1. T went to and passed out at Sandhurst, in the top third of the cohort no less 2. We went to the Lord Mayor's Banquet and had the chance to mix with the great and good of The City of London 3. I got a little freaked out and had to remember not to offend anyone

4. Resolving to take better care of myself and reduce our food bills, 2013 was the year we wanted to eat better  5. I decided after years and years of beating myself up about how I looked and only exercising to lose weight, that I was pretty proud of my healthy body and kept up making it stronger  6. We moved house, and finally found a home that wasn't falling apart, desperately stressful or overcrowded

7.Making time for friends and taking a trip to see Ayden in Glasgow (not forgetting the beautiful Dexter) - 8. Getting promoted to management 9. Taking a holiday to recharge and remember why we keep on keeping on thanks to generous time share donation from my Grandmother

In 2013 I feel like I found my own voice and started focussing making the best of my life. I was fortunate enough to have some fantastic experiences throughout the year and enjoy some brilliant bonuses, but it's also been a year where tough decisions had to be made and I had my metal tested in finding new ways to make things work as well as having to focus on what I want next. My lessons in highlights:

Moving, although it was my 11th in 6 years was both highly stressful and the best thing T and I did this year. For the sake of our sanity, we couldn't continue to live in a flat where the agent and landlord thing 6 weeks in winter with no heating is acceptable and sharing a bathroom with 6 other people when there's water leaking through the light fitting. The lesson learned- sometimes you just have to stop asking how and just get on with it. Flat hunting and moving whilst/off the back T being at Sandhurst was not ideal, but we made it work. And our new home suits us well. 

I talked about it being the year of the bicycle for me and finding an exercise I loved, but the biggest lesson that cycling gave me this year was to love my body back. Like a lot of women, I've been chronically mean to my body over the years and criticised it every which way. The back end of this year, I decided to let go and look after my body for everything it does for me. I've never been happier for it.

After being in my full time 'proper' job for less than a year, I earned myself a promotion to a management position. It was the affirmation I needed that I'm making progress, albeit a little slower than I'd like and it has spurred me on in considering the next career steps I'd like to take. After inexplicably feeling like I needed to be apologetic, I had a stern word with myself, conclusions included that pride in one's own achievement is just fine and that it was time to be honest about the things I think are important, rather than apologise or pussy foot around too much my own opinions.

Moving wasn't the only thing that made me asses what was important in life. Taking a holiday was the best possible thing T & I could have done in 2013. It gave us the chance to regroup, plan forward and keep at the front of our minds what we like about each other, not just why we love each other. I made a conscious effort to make friends in 2013 but also to kindle the relationships that are important to me. Visiting friends, writing emails and initiating contact even when it's been a while.

The start of 2014 thus far is proving to be.... hectic. I'm having to exercise that steel and my new position has really fallen into place with me needing to step up. But however mixed and balanced 2013 was, life goes on, and so 2014 has begun- not shiny and sparkly and new, but as life is, with a heavy dose of reality, decision making and finding the positives, and on that note, I leave you with my favourite picture from 2013...

At The Lord Mayor's Banquet Guildhall Nov 11th 2013
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