Summer is upon us, despite the rain here in London, and in a couple of weeks I am heading off to Greece for my annual holiday amongst the white washed cottages, fresh air and olive groves of the beautiful islands I spend all year longing for. This year we are trying Lefkas for the first time, and I am excited to see how the way of life and environs compare with the other islands I have visited before. I am also salivating in anticipation of the delicious food; fresh fish, juicy olives, creamy honey-drenched yoghurt, flavoursome stifados and crisp, addictive pans of glossy baklava…I really cannot wait to touch down on Greek soil, and enjoy the sun, the endless stretch of sparkling Mediterranean Sea, and the cobbled streets populated with black-clad, wizened women who nod and smile as you pass them in their doorways. It’s such a different way of life, and it helps London centric, ever busy and rushed and on the go me to slow down, relax, and drink life in, savouring my brief release from the hectic pace of my everyday routine.
While I lie on the beach with nothing to do but enjoy the pleasant sensation of sun warming my skin and listen to the sound of waves lapping the shore, my mind is free to roam and wander, and seize upon new ideas and adventurous plans, inspiring and encouraging me, helping me to see where changes can be made, and dreams accomplished. Holidays are always as much a rest for my mind as my body, and taking the time out from my ordinary existence does always help me come to important decisions. All of my biggest personal upheavals have taken place shortly after a holiday, as it is only while experiencing the true peace I find when I am free to be myself, away from the usual confines of my job, my friends and family, and my various responsibilities, that I am able to see what I really want from this life, what is important to me, and what I am truly passionate about. Buoyed by fresh enthusiasm and courage, I then return home determined to make a change, and before I know it, I’ve got a new job, or moved house, or applied for a course. Last year, my post holiday change was starting this blog.
Yes, this time last year this blog was born. It’s been a tumultuous year, in which I have experienced a good deal of unhappiness, disappointments, and frustration. Figuring life out is hard sometimes, especially when you want as much from it as I do, but now I feel like I have come into the clear shining after the rain, when everything becomes fresher, richer, brighter, more verdant, more alive, somehow. And this blog has been part of that process of emotional healing. My life isn’t all doom and gloom, I can’t claim that; I am blessed in many ways, and lucky to have experienced many wonderful moments over the past year, but I think, without this blog, it would have been harder for me to see the diamonds amongst the raindrops. Sitting down to write has been a cathartic experience, enabling me to express my thoughts and feelings and make sense of my life, my dreams, where I am going. In making a concerted effort to create a concrete record of the positive, beautiful, significant moments of my everyday life and focusing my thoughts on what I have to celebrate and be thankful for, I have avoided the pits of melancholy I would have fallen into with just my own mind to mull things over in.
Writing this blog has helped me grow and develop and change and take joy in the abundant gift of life again, and it wouldn’t have done half so much for me if I hadn’t have had you lovely readers to walk alongside me during the process. I can’t tell you in words how thankful I am that you are all out there, reading this. It brings such joy to my heart to know that other people want to read what I write. Whether you’re a lurker, a commenter, a regular reader or a sporadic dropper-in, I appreciate all of you who take the time to come by. You have all, in your own ways, encouraged me more than you’ll ever know, and it has been my privilege to have you share your thoughts and experiences with me over the past year, and I have developed many new friendships as a result. Blogging has made my life richer in a myriad of ways, and so as I launch into a second year of blogging, I am looking forward to continuing to share both my reading and everyday lives with all of you, my wonderful readers. Thank you for coming along on this adventure; your company is so very precious to me.