It's taken a while - maybe due to the unseasonably mild weather we've had lately, even as I write this the sun is streaming in through the blinds on the window - but I'm finally starting to feel festive.
The Boy and I decorated the flat some weeks ago now, our cards have long been written and posted, and I finished my Christmas shopping back in November. I've never been this organised before and if truth be told I think we're both trying to rush this year away and move into 2012 as soon as we can. I feel like the little boy in the much-celebrated John Lewis Christmas advert who is willing the days away as quickly as he can!
Talking to the Boy on Tuesday night I was reminded how much I have achieved, and how many blessings I have. I wish I'd known when I was struggling so much in my 20s that everything would turn out alright in the end. I remember such low times - trying to keep miserable relationships going just so I wouldn't be on my own, difficult and strained relationships with my family and my sister, working a combination of full-time and part-time jobs just to pay the mortgage on my first flat - once not having a day off in a month, and still always worried about how I would manage to pay the bills.
There were some really tough times and I remember feeling like giving up on many occasions. It would have been such a comfort to know that my Prince Charming was working his way to me, through battles and struggles of his own, and that all my hard work and efforts would pay off. I look around and sometimes it takes my breath away that I have nearly all the things I have longed for - a loving husband, strong bonds with my family, close friends who I can really count on (the trials of this year have shown that), a flat that is warm and secure and full of love, and a job that challenges and stimulates me yet rewards me well financially. It's safe to say the only thing that is missing from our lives is a child - and I'm optimistic that will come in time.
I bought a new diary last week and I feel such excitement at the thought of blank pages ahead - a new start, with new chances and opportunities. Even though I am tired and fatigued from this difficult year, I feel positive and energetic. I feel now, as the year draws to a close and the bright lights of 2011 dim and fade into the distance, that I am stronger than I have ever been. I've been tested this year, and I've proved myself.
I never believed I was tough - but now I know I am brave, determined, committed and resilient. I feel like life can throw what it wants at me, and however much it turns me inside out and upside down, it won't break me.
And my resolution as we move into the New Year is just to remember that and keep believing in myself. I can be my harshest critic and my worst enemy - it's time for me to learn how to be my own best friend.