So here we are again, at the end of another year and what a year it’s been.
This was my end of year post last year – it’s fair to say things haven’t exactly gone as planned.
It’s also fair to say that 2017 has been a year that I’ll be quite pleased to see the back of. That’s not to say that it’s been all bad. It’s been challenging on many levels, but somehow, against all odds, I’m still standing, stronger and tougher than ever. They say we never really know how strong we are, until being strong is the only option we have. To a certain extent that’s true, but in my case I’m very well aware that it’s been the support of some very dear friends that has gone a long way towards getting me through some very dark times this year.
Yet for all that, this year has also been incredible. This time last year I would never have thought that I’d take part in the Fastnet, sail the Gipsy Moth, visit Number 10 as a member of Team GREAT Britain, buy a yacht, take up coastal rowing or start a new charitable trust to encourage more people into water sports. (please have a look at Nelson’s Coastal Watersports Trust)
I certainly never thought I’d be Deputy Leader of the Independent Group at Norfolk County Council. Politically, it’s been a roller coaster ride. I resigned from the Conservative Party last month with what could be described as ‘irreconcilable differences’. The loyalty only ever went one way & I’m afraid a party that is willing to tolerate bullying, intimidation and harassment while watching on to see how things developed, was never going to hold my loyalty forever. So I took a step into the unknown and in severing those ties, found a new level of freedom and peace.
Excerpt from my resignation email:
“….The pain is too great, the reward far too little. Call me naive, I never expected local politics to be like this. I thought the idea was everyone worked together for the good of the residents. I find myself finally working out what being true to myself is. It’s putting myself first. It’s saying that I’m tired of fighting, it costs too much time and happiness. Life is short and precious, it shouldn’t be wasted on dealing with people who really have no idea of the value of life or who think they are far more important than they actually are.
…..It’s made me realise the value of life. The value of my time. And that it’s ok to walk away from something that is causing you great pain. That it’s not a case of win or lose. Because let me tell you, no-one gets out of here alive. Nobody wins in the end. It’s all about holding on to those things that make you happy. And letting go of those that don’t….”
I try not to think about what has been lost, only what has been gained and what is ahead. I’ve learnt I can stand alone if necessary and that I’m stronger than anyone ever thought I could possibly be, myself included. It matters less what you face, it’s how you deal with it that matters. True strength is getting back up when you’re at your lowest and you really don’t want to take any more.
So to those who want to try and break me – good luck with that, you’ll need it.
I finally appreciate my value. I have no need to drop my standards or compromise my beliefs. I don’t have to accept anything I’m unhappy with. I am no lost little girl. Stand with me, or against me but know that I stand strong. I may bend with the breeze but I will not break. The Boudica lives.
And to those who think they can play with my reputation by spreading lies, rumours and gossip to undermine me and my company. Remember, this Princess just smashed her glass slipper, but she still has the shards, and they are sharp.
So I look to the future with renewed optimism. Just what will 2018 bring? I’ve spent the last two years and four weeks of training planning for my Clipper Race Leg. I leave for New York in June and in truth – I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming and I’m very proud to be a member of Team GREAT Britain.
But what else will the New Year bring? Well, I’m planning on actually finishing my Yachtmaster Theory Course, on doing a lot of sailing myself and to help to introduce a lot more people to the joy of water sports. I want to cut my use of plastics and be more environmentally responsible. I haven’t let go of my dreams, or ambitions, I’ve just learnt the hard way that the journey is not always a straightforward one. Sometimes you have to ignore the satnav and take a different path towards the goal.
So the last sunset?
Picture taken on the beach at Wells next the Sea, watching the last light of 2017 disappear from the sky while laying some ghosts to rest. This year has been tough at times and great at others but it’s time to say goodbye. To walk away from it and start a new chapter.
So to sign off, I’m going to borrow a paragraph from last year’s post, as I feel it’s still very relevant today –
As we head into 2018 there is one message that I want to take with me – Dare to dream, take a risk, don’t settle for ordinary. You will never truly know what you are capable of unless you try. What sets apart those who do great things from those who don’t? The willingness to try. So hold onto those dreams, no matter how improbable and start taking steps towards them. Take one step at a time and you might be surprised how far you can get.
I hope 2018 brings you everything you dream about, whatever that may be.
As my incredible skipper Andy says – ‘Let peace be the journey”