Tuesday, January 03, 2006

For auld lang syne...

I'VE THOUGHT about this a lot and I simply cannot find a way to start this week's column without using that age old cliché- the years are really flying in.

I can't believe we are at the tail end of 2005- a year which has flown by so quickly that I can still remember clearly sitting here this time last year struggling to find something to write about without sounding like old mother time.
I don't know if it is because I'm getting older (yes, I turn 30 in 2006, but I refuse to reveal the date!), or simply because we all seem to be getting busier but I'm struggling to come to terms with just how fast things are moving.
I've become one of those sad old women who spends too much time saying "Ooooh, you're making me feel old. I remember when you were just two," to teenagers and regaling stories of changing their nappies to their highly amused friends.
I now put my house slippers on immediately when I when come in the evening because they so much more comfier than my heels and when I sit in front of the TV I grumble to himself that it's not as good as it used to be when we were younger You don't even want to get me started on how much people swear on TV at the moment either. In my darkest moments I have even thought about sending an email off to Points of View.
It genuinely feels like just a few months ago I would sit with my friends and watch the programme of the same name while we shared a bottle of Peach Schnapps (I wasn't a very trendy drinker in my youth) and some maltesers.
It hardly feels like 10 years ago that I was at university, having the time of my life- but now I'm nearly 30- its 2006 (almost) and life is busier than ever.
This year has been the most hectic to date and if I'm honest I'll be glad to see the back of 2005.
Yes, there have been some amazing highs this year. To see my child grow into a bubbly, loving toddler- to hear him say 'mammy' for the first time and see those first wobbly steps- has almost taken my breath away with pride.
I've also been lucky to forge new friendships and tend to those with more established bonds. There is something about getting that wee bit older which allows you to, excuse the language, cut through the crap and get on with things.
I'm glad to say my friends know me well enough now to boost my confidence when I need it, but also to tell me to catch myself on when I need a good kick up the rear end.
We don't need to pussy-foot around each other, wary of hurting feelings- some of my friends know me better than i know myself and I'm old and wise enough now to know when they are acting in my best interests.
But this year has been hard too. Another aspect of growing up is realising that the world isn't all sunshine and roses- and as an adult you sometimes have to deal with some pretty harsh realities.
As this year has progressed, my granny has fallen increasingly under the evil spell of Alzheimers. This cruel disease means I can no longer call her "granny"- she knows my face, but that bond of granny and granddaughter which was built up over the past 30 years is all but gone.

Coming to terms
And in seeing granny worsen, I've seen my aunts, uncle and father have to come to terms with this loss- and that truly is heartbreaking.
Of course, herself still hasn't lost her biting wit- having recently told me I'm not as a fat as I used to be! (I'm trying to take that as the compliment it was intended to be). She also still manages to torture me about when I'm having another baby- so perhaps all is not lost.
And of course this year saw me lose a dear colleague and friend. The reality that she is gone is still hard to come to terms with, but as time progresses I'm trying, as indeed are all my colleagues, to be thankful for the chances we had to say our goodbyes, to pay our tributes and to know Siobhan in the first instance.
It still doesn't seem right however to end the year without remembering her, raising a glass to her memory and hoping that 2006 brings comfort and peace to her family.
So, I'm glad to say goodbye to 2005 and move on to 2006 (even if it does mean I'll turn 30). I'll look forward to what the coming year will bring. You never know, it might just be the year I write that novel and become the new Marian Keyes- or maybe I'll finally find my weight loss motivation and shift some of this bulk (one chin at a time, sweet Jesus).
I'm pretty confident (and so is my driving instructor for once) that I'll pass my test and get on the road properly- something Siobhan was always nagging me to do. And to top it all off I get to spend some more time with himself, the wee man and the rest of my family.
I'm not sure what adventures lie ahead, but I hope I'll be able to keep sharing them with you all.

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