Sunday, 18 March 2012

31 was not too shabby....

I spend far too much time thinking, I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I think about what has been, what will come, and what I should be doing right now, instead of thinking these thoughts. This (again, for others as well as myself) is especially true round significant dates, and so today I find myself pondering the last year.

The photo above may suggest it has not been a good year. I took this last week, after I had got ridiculously lost on the way back to base from a birding excursion. I am 31 (at least for a couple more hours), and I still have no real sense of direction. Clearly from the photo, I also have still not mastered taking self-timer shots!

This photo does not represent glumness though. I got lost after spending two very happy hours wandering round a park, under palm trees and along boardwalks, searching for elusive birdies, and jumping out of my skin every time a lizard ran up a tree. It took me a long time to realize how happy being outside makes me, and I still need a shove to get off the sofa every now and again. But the ever expanding collection of sports equipment in our dining room, and the ridiculous shades of intersecting tanlines on my feet are testament to my successes in the ongoing battle with laziness.

On finishing my excursion, and on the realization that I had left my GPS in the back of my friend's car, I didn't panic (too much) despite my mind choosing to go completely blank. I couldn't even remember which way we'd turned to enter the park, and now I was alone in the industrial area of Tampa (all the best birding spots seem to be in the smelliest places!).

But I knew I'd be OK, because I'm happy talking to strangers. My Mum and Dad frequently remind me how quickly I would know everyone on the campsites when we went on our caravanning holidays. And everyone there would know my name, birthday and favourite colour too (it was green then, and still is). The kindness of strangers down South is something I've heard tell of many a time. But my hero of the day Kenny proved it to be more than a myth. Meeting a frazzled Brit, laden with binoculars, cameras and a reddening face may not be something Kenny chooses to remember. But for me, he was 6ft4 of sewage-engineer hero, complete with a fine collection of gold teeth which glistened almost as much as the twinkle in his friendly eyes. He set me going in the right direction, and grabbed me a couple of bottles of iced water from  the magic silver box on the back of his truck (I thought people kept guns in them!).

Obviously I made it back safe and sound, despite a good couple of hours hiking along the highway. Rather than heading straight for a shower (which lord knows I needed), I wandered into the small local airport near the Yacht club we were staying at, and inquired about a lesson in a Cessna the next day. Sun stroke is a dangerous thing!

What is the point of this rambling self indulgent monologue? Not a lot. But I spend far too much time thinking about my many faults, its something many of us spend a lot of time doing. And I suppose it can be healthy to reflect on our errors, if we bother to learn from them. But today I'm making an effort to spend at least five minutes thinking about my strengths. Yes I am clumsy, have no sense of direction, am far too introspective, have a tendency to talk rubbish (at length!), and am prone to being incredibly self-centred. But I am also optimistic, far more active than in my twenties, friendly and impulsive. And some days I really enjoy being me.

31 has been a good good year. I've spent time with loved ones both here and back in the UK. The idea of 'best friends' may be a little dated now that I'm not at school anymore, but I am lucky enough to live with one of mine, and talk to another two so regularly I'm amazed they haven't started screening calls yet (don't get any ideas Mum and Dad!). I have two fabulous sisters, niece, nephew and extended family, who make such an effort to make me feel loved and involved despite the miles I have put between us.
I left some brilliant friends when I left England, and despite those miles, have happily managed to stay in touch with many. I've also made some fantastic friends here, through knitting, neighbours, my job (more knitting!), volunteering and even some of Paul's colleagues. I'm never lonely, which is something I would wish for everyone.

Agh, bananas, this is getting sappier by the sentence. So perhaps I had better stop.Thank you to those of you who I know and love, and who have helped made 31 one of the best years for me yet. Hope you didn't find this ramble too vomitous, it is meant sincerely, and its the thought that counts after all! X


  1. Happy birthday, lovely!

    It actually makes me feel better about myself that someone as amazing as you has a bit of self-doubt from time to time! lol!

  2. aw this made me tear up. so so so so so happy we came across each other!