Reflecting on my fortieth year

As I approach the end of the year and another birthday, I can’t help thinking what a crazy one it’s been. I wasn’t looking forward to turning 40 last year. As you may know, I kicked and screamed my way in to the next decade and I was determined to make the most of it by commiserating all year. Well I certainly did that, but there are things that happened this year that I could never have anticipated, let alone comprehend. I’m still trying to get my head around it all.

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Birthday celebrations began a week before the actual day, with a fantastic day/evening out in London with some wonderful friends. Then the big treat was our trip to Orlando over the Christmas break, which was amazing.

Like I said, I dragged out the festivities and took every opportunity I could to do things and see people over the course of the year, so this included skiing with the girls, spa dates and theatre trips. I count myself very lucky to have amazing friends and the opportunity to spend time with them.

We started 2016 with a huge change to our lives – the addition of a puppy. And whilst it took some getting used to, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. He’s a lovely little thing and a real joy to be around. Looking back on my blog posts, I can see it was a manic start to 2016, with lots going on and a few illnesses to boot. I didn’t get much writing done and it wasn’t until April that I sorted out my middle grade manuscript and starting shaping it into the book that is due to be published next year.

In May, I took part in the Kids Strike to protest against the new SATS. I felt strongly about the issue because I know how undue pressure can affect young children of primary age and as a blogger, someone with the opportunity to use her voice to positive effect, it felt right to take part and show how learning could be fun. My son and I had a brilliant day of learning.

Then we come to June, oh what a month that was. Something went seriously wrong in June, like the world turned on its axis or something. As the UK prepared to vote on whether it wanted to remain in the EU, we lost an MP who wanted us to work and live together to make peace. Brussels and Nice suffered at the hands of terrorists and innocent people were murdered in Orlando. The people of the UK decided they would rather be on their own, swayed by the promises of ‘make Britain great’ and the fear of ‘letting people in to our country’.

Throughout this year, the migration crisis has been at its worst. People have been risking their lives and those of their children to flee their country. Europe has been in chaos, as some countries closed their doors and others opened them. No one seemed to know what to do.

So, apart from a successful Olympics for team GB, there wasn’t much positivity to reflect on during the first half of the year. Then we moved in to the new school year and a new horror unfolded – the possibility that Donald Trump might become the next US President. And we all know what happened there don’t we? Why should I have been surprised given what had gone on before it?

We’re living in a world gone mad and it’s a scary thought for our future generations.

As I began to reflect on the craziness of the year, turning 40 didn’t seem as much of an issue as it had back in November last year. It did make me want to get on and do things though. I felt a new kind of threat and fear, one that meant you could never quite be sure what to expect from your day. That fear has been a driver for me, a driver to get on and do things and make the things I want to achieve happen. So that’s what I did and I took the first steps towards publication of my first book.

This has kept me pretty busy and focused for the last few months and now here I am, reflecting on the fact I’ve almost completed the first year of my fortieth decade. I won’t forget this year in a hurry, that’s for sure.

My second book is with my editor and I’m working on a draft that the magic of National Novel Writing Month this November has helped spur me on to get through. Three more books are in the planning stage and I’m throwing myself in to my writing as my focus for the year to come. Whatever happens in the world will happen, I’ve come to accept that. What I’m taking away from this year – 2016 – is that if you want to make something happen for yourself, go out and get it done. I just hope that 2017 is a quieter one for the world as a whole. It has been exhausting.

Sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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Comments (16)

  1. Renee @ mummytries 27th November 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Well it’s certainly been a big year! Congrats again on the book, I’m very excited for you. Totally with you on your closing line, fingers crossed that 2017 ups its game 🙂

  2. Kamsin 27th November 2016 at 11:03 pm

    It seems we are the same age. I also turned 40 almost a year ago (Boxing Day to be precise). It has been a crazy year.
    I haven’t completed any manuscripts yet but I have achieved a bunch of other things this year which will pave the way to finishing my first book next year.
    The more I reflect on it, the more I believe that the only answer to a tumultuous world is to refuse to let it stop it achieving the personal goals we have.
    I also think if you want a good story, in fiction and real life, you need some conflict and struggle to keep everything moving forward.

  3. Chilli Regina 29th November 2016 at 11:23 am

    Congratulations on your Book release! And happy 40’s! Try not to worry about the rest of the world too much, as we know it won’t stop turning. And I think that now more then ever before, it’s important to know your values, to live your life as you best can and try to make a better place to live in by being positive, loving and open-minded. 😉
    #whatImwriting

  4. Dana 29th November 2016 at 6:55 pm

    I kicked and screamed into my 40th too, and you know what, it was great. Also, 41, not half bad 🙂 Sounds like a wonderful year for you, despite politics of course. Can’t wait for your book to come out!

  5. Maddy@writingbubble 29th November 2016 at 9:26 pm

    I just turned 39 and am approaching 40 with caution – eeek! What a year 2016’s been though. Urgh. I’ve found it’s had a big impact on my blogging style – I used to be much more reserved but I’ve vented a fair bit online this year. I think it’s brilliant that you’ve got so much done despite the politics and upheavals and I’m so impressed with your novel! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting

    • Nicola 30th November 2016 at 10:39 am

      Really?! That means so much to hear it from you. Now I’m on the road to publication I am starting to s**t myself. I have the ‘sod ’em’ part of my brain fighting with the ‘oh my God’ side. It’s exhausting

  6. Sara | mumturnedmom 1st December 2016 at 1:25 am

    2016 has been the worst. I keep thinking it can’t get any worse and then it does! So far, my forties have been my best years yet. Not without their issues of course, but I have more clarity than I ever have done before. Can’t wait for your book to come out, so incredibly exciting! #whatimwriting

    • Nicola 1st December 2016 at 7:05 am

      Oh it was one of those years wasn’t it. Apart from that, bring forty wasn’t so bad. Don’t think I had the time to think about it. Would have felt to selfish given everything else that’s been going on

  7. Alice @ The Filling Glass 5th December 2016 at 6:53 am

    It’s lovely to use your birthday as a point of reflection rather than the typical, and frankly arbitrary, point of New Year. I can understand the feelings of exhaustion that the year has left you with, at least it all made turning 40 seem less of a ‘thing’! I hope that the next one brings for you more peace and also success with your book xx

    • Nicola 5th December 2016 at 10:02 am

      Yes it has and it was definitely a good time to reflect, given that my birthday is towards the end of the year anyway and given all that has gone on in between.

  8. Sophie Lovett 6th December 2016 at 11:42 am

    You have done so well to turn your understandable fear (that I think we all share) into such positive energy for your writing and following your dream. I think it can be all to easy to panic and flounder, but ultimately that’s not going to achieve anything! Looking forward to reading your first book, and good luck with the others 🙂 xx

    • Nicola 6th December 2016 at 1:15 pm

      It’s created a sort of sense of urgency, which might not necessarily be the best motivator but is certainly a kick up the bum.

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