January is always a huge month for milestones. For me at least. You start with a brand new year. Like a brand new diary, all fresh, clean, crisp pages. Nothing dog-eared or smudged about it. And I love that feeling. I spend most of my January determined to fix the problems that the year before left me with. But this year I am trying to just focus on seeing what each day brings, and seeing the joy in every day. I know that probably sounds a rather corny thing to write down. Like something out of a film, or a story. But I see no point in dwelling these days. Last year was unmistakably the hardest of my life, but I still had joy. I still had love.
But January, before my mind wanders, January is the month of special dates. I turn a year older. 29 this year. The last birthday of my twenties. How strange that is. I still feel so very young sometimes. But then I look at teenagers flirting as they walk down my road and either they are very young, and I am simply just ‘young’, or I am starting to get older. Those older than me will read that and probably roll their eyes, but you felt like this once upon a time I’m sure. 30 is a big deal. I’m not ready to welcome it just yet. Despite the fact that nothing will change. It just feels like my birthday is telling me that things have changed. But I guess it’s up to me as to whether I will listen.
The day after my birthday, Mark and I will celebrate three years together. When I look at what we have achieved, I wonder how it can be three years. I wonder how we managed to fit in what we did. And how we managed to survive with little time as a couple – instead a family of three, and then four, all from the very start.
I really do love that man. I look at hime sometimes and I feel myself falling all over again. His bright blue eyes, and dark lashes. The curve of his mouth and the way his tongue touches his teeth when he talks. The grey hairs on his temples that he hates but I love. And the way he wears white socks on a comfy day, but black socks for every other kind of day. He is so familiar to me, yet still so exciting at the same time. I still want to impress him. I get a rush of happiness when I make him laugh. And there’s simply no one else in the world that I’d rather argue about absolute crap with.
When people talk of soul mates, the deeper, more logical cynic in me tries to scoff at the phrase. “You mean you’re telling me, of all the people in this world, my soulmate happened to be an hour away and work at the same place that I did?” But with him I just feel like it was fated. Or we just share a deeper love for Ryan Gosling, trashy telly and avocado, which naturally brings us together. I can’t quite be sure. But he’s the one I want for life, all the same.
And the last special date is actually the 18th January. Because, six years ago, bored on my lunch break at work. I searched for ‘blog’ and spent about half an hour picking a name. And the rest of that hour lunch break was spent writing a really basic, uninspiring first blog post. And since then there has been 1,282 more.
I never intended to be sat here, while my daughter naps, and my son enjoys his last hour at school, sat on my bed, under the duvet, writing a post and wondering if I should get some business cards done.
This was just supposed to be a place for me to write. Like no one was watching of course. But then things started to change because while I wrote, people did watch. They read. They commented. They came back. And I remember the first review I ever did. A Dennis the Menace onesie for Bill. He was tiny. I was starstruck that anyone would want me to represent their product. And I still carry that feeling with me today. Of course I know that I have worked hard, and that my content is a testament to that. I also know that I need to be better at saying: “I am a professional at what I do. I know what I’m doing and, actually, dare I say I’m good at it?”
But part of me is still waiting for someone to turn around and tell me it was all a joke. And that actually, I should probably get a ‘real job’. Except this is a real job for me now. I have worked so hard at it, and for the most part, I worked for nothing but the pleasure I felt when someone said they enjoyed it. I worked hard because I realised that, actually, these memories were worth their weight in gold. And it is very much a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg? The chickens flocked to see what the fuss was about, but the egg wouldn’t exist without the chickens. Because who would spend hours and hours editing, writing, snapping and filming, to put it all on a hard-drive?
It’s thanks to you that I have this little collection of life. It’s a moving, breathing, feeling, living thing. And it’s as much as I can share without losing myself online. I hope that, should anything happen to me, my children will look back over these memories and not just try and remember me, but feel as though they know me. And if there’s a bad day, and I can’t make it better, perhaps they can find some comfort in my words, or the sound of my voice, or imagine that hug I gave them then, now.
I can’t believe that I have been doing this for six years. And I can’t believe that first post turned into today. Without my blog, I would most probably not have gotten the job where I met Mark. I would most probably not have many friends who I have today. I wouldn’t have Daisy. And I would not be living out this dream.
Thank you so much for giving me the kick up the bottom to keep on going.
Happy birthday to Write Like No One’s Watching.