It sounds to trite to say 2014 has been a year of highs and lows, but nevertheless it’s true. If I’ve learnt anything it’s the importance of the long view. In our house the short view is too inconsistent to risk hanging any sense progress or otherwise on, swinging as it does from cautious optimism to eye-popping fear. So here is my look back at the past twelve months.
Pride was my cinematic highlight of the year. It is nostalgic, tragic and hopeful and the soundtrack made me want to dance in the aisle (I didn’t). The streaming of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Richard II into cinemas meant that many who can’t make it to live theatre could watch something of high quality. It was fantastic and reminded me why I like Shakespeare.
Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves, a Swedish drama which depicted the devastation of AIDS on the Swedish gay community in the 1980s, was the most beautiful and touching piece of television of the year. A close second was A Poet in New York about the final months of the life of Dylan Thomas. I also enjoyed Grayson Perry’s Who Are You? for its compassionate insight into the lives of others.
Youngest child and I rather belatedly got into Modern Family this year. As we’re done with book bag wars we snug up and watch this before bed. I’ve demolished another series of Parks and Recreation and remain wondrous that UK television has not embraced it as wholeheartedly as it deserves.
I’ve read some shite this year so there’s not much to recommend. I enjoyed rereading Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy and The Cider House Rules by John Irving. My booky highlight was Affinity by Sarah Waters. I saw her speak at a book festival and her reflections on the process of writing made me feel less like a floundering amateur, so that is a highlight too.
Dr Bruce Perry was as funny and encouraging as I’d hoped and made pitching up despite numerous obstacles well worth it. The Open Nest conference Taking Care was a highpoint for lots of reasons.
The ‘birth’ of my second paperback child The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting is a career as well as a 2014 highpoint. I’m proud of it and happy to see it head off and make it’s way in the world. Winning a Professional Publishers Award for my Community Care articles was a ridiculous and amazing thing. And this was the year I stepped out into big conference presenting and training. They’ve been knee-weakenly terrifying at times but have got me out of the house. Thanks to Sunderland University, We Are Family and The NW Adoption Consortium for taking a chance. Final highlight is being involved in the Department for Education Expert Advisory Group for the Adoption Support Fund for the huge amount I’ve learnt, the interesting folk I’ve met and the difference it should make to adoption support (everything crossed).
I continue to gain enormous support and encouragement from connecting with others through social media which has grown and grown over 2014. Most of us find ourselves in dark places from time to time and being able to reach out easily and quickly has made a significant and positive difference to me. Thanks to hat knitter J – that was a touching highlight too.
Taking the children to London to see the poppies, plus an unexpected and fabulous personal tour of Westminster Abbey (thank you!) was a highpoint and the success of the day was a measure of how far we’ve come. There have been continued glowing embers of progress in particular a club joined, a meal cooked and some friendships made.
If Wolf Hall isn’t heading up the best bits of 2015 I shall be very disappointed. The book blew me away and I hope the TV series does too.
With a following wind they’ll be a new book from me. I shouldn’t say too much but it’ll be something different.
The diary is starting to fill up with conference and training bookings which look exciting and spine-straightening.
As for family matters, I’m confident we’ll be continuing to move in the right direction, albeit with I’m sure the occasional detour into the woods.
All in all I’ll be trying my best to stay connected in 2015.
I know this season can bring both happiness and hardship to our families. Whatever it brings you, don’t forget to #takecare and I wish you a happy and fulfilled 2015.