1. For the Mountains
Let’s start nice and simple.
I discovered my inherent need for outdoor wild places at university. I was stuck in a course I hated, going crazy through lack of sleep (and not from any partying, let me tell you that!).
For the past 5 years I’d been going camping every other weekend, whatever the weather, for most of the year.
I had to get out.
This past year, I’ve spent more time on the mountains than ever. Joining Mountain Rescue has had a big part in that and, even though I’m only probationary, there are weeks when I’m on the hill 5 days out of 7.
(That’s also including helping out with a walking group, but not any personal walking-for-no-reason!)
I’m grateful that the hills and mountains are still there for us to enjoy. I’m grateful that I am so close to some wonderful wild places in England and beyond.
2. For the Random Kindness of Strangers
My big event for 2016 (other than coming home to tell my parents I’d quit my job), was cycling 2276 miles across western Europe.
Or, as I like to put it: Cambridge to Plymouth via Switzerland.
On a tandem.
I haven’t blogged much about those 50 incredible days yet, because frankly I don’t know where to start.
But, what I did learn is how many wonderful people are still in the world.
The news is full of terrible things happening daily. I try to make a point not to stay very updated because of it.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that no matter how bad it looks on TV and the internet, there are still good people out there doing good things every day.
We witnessed this in our travels time and time again.
So I’m grateful:
- To the man who got out of his car at the red light to give us bottled water. It was 30 degrees.
- To the lady in Aachen station who gave me a money off voucher and disappeared into the crowd. I’m sorry I barely knew enough German to thank you properly.
- To the pink ladies on the Loire, for letting two crazy English kids share your moment of triumph.
- To the horsey family in France, for taking two sodden travellers into their home and making their mouths hang open at the number of crepes being cooked.
- To the numerous other people along the journey, who helped two (clearly) lost cyclists find their way out of a metropolis maze or let us pitch in the (technically) closed campsite.
If any of you happen to be reading this – you made our trip. Thank you.
3. For the Support of my Family
I’ve been out of university for more than a year now. My Mum’s stopped calling it a ‘Gap Year’ and other people are starting to ask me why I haven’t got another job.
But my parents still let me live at home with them.
They pay for my food.
My Mum cooks my dinner.
Neither of them will let my pay board (perhaps they know I couldn’t pay it right now…)
It’s a very small thing, that perhaps goes unnoticed when you’re younger, so I encourage you: if you’re still living at home as you’re reading this, be grateful.
Sure, it’s not easy all of the time.
In fact it’s often really hard work.
But at least you’ve got somewhere to turn when it all goes wrong.
So many people haven’t.
4. For the 850 Students on my Knitting Courses
It’s been about 6 months now since I launched my knitting courses on Udemy.
I learnt a heck of a lot along the way and I’m still learning now. But 850 of you believe in me enough to click the sign up button.
This is absolutely crazy.
I’ve always loved to teach people to knit, but until now that’s always been in person.
In these past 6 months, I’ve taught more people to knit their first stitch than I ever have before in my life.
I’m… perhaps overjoyed is too ridiculous a word, but you make me smile every time I log into the course to see how you’re all getting on.
850 new knitters in the world cannot be a bad thing.
(And did I mention you’re collectively from 80 different countries. EIGHTY. I can’t even name that many.)
5. For all the Positive Feedback about What I’ve been Doing
I’ve always been scared to tell people about my ideas.
Particularly ones that mean something to me.
It’s not that I’m shy of telling, so much as I have to brace myself for rebuke and those dreaded words “You can’t do that.”
I’m a strong cookie, but it’s hard work fighting all the time.
So I tend to keep my crazy ideas to myself and keep beavering away on them myself until I think they’re doing well enough to show people.
This year, I’ve been sharing much more, telling people about what I’m up to earlier than usual.
Some of them bit me.
But lots of them didn’t, so thank you very much everyone who’s had a kind word for me about my crazy entrepreneurial ideas and big dreams.
Included in this is every knitting student who has given me a nice comment or review. Little words like “Fantastic course, fantastic teacher” make it all worth while.
6. For my First Alpine Tour and the AAC for Taking Me There
In between going to Wales and cycling a very long way, I jumped on a plane to Austria.
I’d never done any ‘hard-core’ mountaineering before and maybe I still haven’t.
But being able to have a go at hanging off the edge of a glacier with ice axes and via ferrata along a sketchy, snow and rock ridge (also known as the Italian border) was an amazing experience.
So I’m very grateful to the Austrian Alpine Club UK for paying for the trip.
I’ve tried to express this a bit better by volunteering for the Alpine Team this year, helping with the representation of Young Adults.
Hopefully many new things will come out of 2017 in this direction.
No Resolutions for the Year
I’m deliberately not making full-on year-long resolutions right now. Mostly because everyone’s doing it right now and I guess I’m kinda too cool for that…
But I believe in small achievable goals (but not too easy) on a shorter time frame, that’ll lead nicely into the big goals I have in my head for the year.
Guess that’s me being evasive again, but I am planning to put a bucket list on here somewhere so you can see my super-long term that’ll-be-cool ideas.
Anyway, I’m rambling (no pun intended).
Have a go at writing out the 6 or 10 things that you’re grateful of from 2016 and good luck for tomorrow.