My goodness what a year it has been for me. I have been tested to the limits both physically and mentally. It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotional turmoil that at times has left me wondering what the hell is life all about.
I have learnt so much about myself. For starters, I am not indestructible as I have always thought I was. I’ve also learnt not to take anything for granted because life can be taken away in a split second. I have felt vulnerable and this has left me realising that I need to change how I live my life.
However there have also been highs that I never expected to happen and for that I’m eternally grateful.
The year did not start well. I entered 2018 feeling not very well in myself, lacking energy and just generally having no enthusiasm for life. If I’m honest I didn’t particular want to work either as a painter and decorator or on my blog. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it other than I just didn’t feel myself. I decided to visit the doctor mainly because I was getting chest pains, and to cut a long story short I ended up in hospital as I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. This was to be the beginning of a few months of ill health that I never thought possible. After all, I’m not exactly collecting my pension.
The month of February was a time when I had no choice but to take life a bit easier. I had a stroke.
This was the biggest shock of my life to date. You go through life thinking that nothing can harm you or cut your life short, so this was a serious wake-up call for me. Thankfully I have now fully recovered but it has been a long journey to recovery and physically, yes it was relatively quick, but mentally it has been a tough time that culminated in me taking the whole of December off work to recharge and recover, and find myself again because there have been moments where I have felt very lost and vulnerable. I guess I was in a maze without any clue of how to get out, wandering around in a daze working on auto-pilot.
Thankfully there have been some highlights during the year. One such moment was winning the Pitman SuperAchievers working dad of the year award in March. This was a truly awesome moment. Being named in two of the Vuelio top 10 lists dad bloggers and parent bloggers for the third year in a row came as a totally unexpected surprise, but so very pleasing to be recognised by such an important organisation. Then in November I was shortlisted for the Vuelio daddy blogger award. Even though I didn’t win I was very honoured to be a finalist in the premier awards in the UK today.
My blog has gone from strength to strength during the year and I have been lucky enough to collaborate with some awesome brands. For the first time this year I actually did a collaboration with my 21 year old daughter which involved driving, and it really was my favourite collaboration of the year. We had so much fun for one day.
Finally in December I attended an event for the very first time. I have been asked to many events over the last couple of years and I invariably turn them down, but when I was asked to attend an event at Facebook HQ in London for an Instagram event by Mumsnet I decided it was time to move out from behind the keyboard and see what else happens in the world of blogging. I’m so happy I did because it was a brilliant day out and something I hope to do more of in 2019.
One final other experience I was lucky enough to be involved with was meeting up with the paramedics that came to my aid on the night I had a stroke. It was a very humbling experience to meet the men and women who save lives everyday and on that particular night it was my life they were saving. I will be eternally grateful.
With regard to blogging, I have just four posts that mean so much to me from the last year for a number of reasons
The first is My 24 Hours In Resus. This is something I wrote very quickly after having a stroke and how I felt mentally. You can read here My Mental State After 24 Hours In Resus which I wrote a few days later.
The next one was my meeting with the paramedics that saved my life the night I had a stroke. The post was These Guys Saved My Life Paramedics And The Welsh Ambulance Service.
And finally my last post I have to mention is my visit to Facebook HQ. For me this was a dream come true. To be in the hub of social media, it really was a fantastic day and an experience I shall never forget. Take a read here: Instagram Event At Facebook HQ Protecting our teens In Association with Mumsnet.
These are not maybe the most widely read posts of 2018 that I wrote, but they are my favourites and the ones that mean the most to me for numerous reasons.
So on this, the final day of 2018, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy new year and may all your dreams come true in the new year and 2019 is kind to you and yours.
How has your year been? I would love to hear in the comments below.
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