Welcome to the twilight zone – the between Christmas & New Year bit where the fridge is still full of food, you haven’t quite dared to get on the scales but know if you eat anything else, it’s going to be painful. You can stop trying to hide all those empty bottles underneath the cardboard in your recycling bin so the bin man can’t judge how much of a merry christmas you really had, as along with the scales, they can tell by the weight.
It’s also the point in the year where we reflect on the year that’s ending and make plans for the one about to start. I know a lot of people have had a tough 2016 but personally I can’t really complain. Like any year, it’s had its ups and downs, its swings and its roundabouts (how many cliches is it possible to put in one sentence?) but actually, in many ways – it’s been really quite epic.
The first week of 2016 brought with it our first Clipper 2017-18 Crew briefing and it really set the course for a large part of the rest of the year. Since then there have been other crew briefings, Level 1 and Level 2 training, 2015-16 race finish, meets, christmas parties and a fair few cocktails. When I signed up to take part in the Clipper Race I had no idea how many new friends I would make and how the Clipper family would become such an important part of my life. There’s a closeness, an understanding and a level of support that can’t really be explained.
The “Clipper Crazies” or the “Clipperati” are a family and I’m very proud to be a member.
It goes without saying that sailing has therefore been a big part of this year. Despite repeated knee injuries, and they don’t seem to have put me off at all. To the point where November saw me take my Day Skipper Theory and Practical and then sign up to take part in the ‘Gipsy Moth Circles Britain’ sail in 2017, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester’s circumnavigation. I will be joining the Hull-London section so will be sailing a piece of maritime history across the Wash and down the East Coast. Along with Levels 3 & 4 Clipper Training and the start of our race in the summer, 2017 looks to be an exciting year, starting with our January Crew Briefing and trip to the Boat Show.
Politically, what a year. From baby steps to giant leaps and the occasional knock down, it’s all par for the course. Highlights include being made Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment, joining the Kings Lynn Conservancy Board and the Norfolk Coast Partnership. Lows include the rejection of devolution and the axing of the Deputy Cabinet Member positions. Oh wait, pretty sure there was something else I’ve forgotten to mention…….
At the beginning of 2016 the idea of doing that wasn’t really even on my radar, it was a long and in truth quite emotional journey. I think I even surprised myself with what I am capable of. (Says the woman who enjoys surfing down big waves in a force 8 at night!)
I’ve learnt a lot over the past twelve months. I’ve lost a couple of very dear friends and gained some truly amazing & inspirational ones, together we can take on the world. I’ve learnt that the limit of what we think we are capable of, is only in our own imagination. And above all, I’ve learnt that the time for watching and listening is over. Those who underestimate me, do so at their peril. I will never doubt myself or my abilities again, or question what I can or can’t do. Change is coming, embrace it or be swept aside.
As we head into 2017 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.
So to all those friends, old and new, who have supported me and given valuable words of advice when needed – thank you. May 2017 bring you love, light and laughter. Set your adventurous spirit free and we’ll see where we all end up this time next year!