I'm very good at keeping myself busy. Busy enough that I don't have time for self-reflection. Not blogging much in February - not even my Project 365 photos - is another way to avoid this, as I find blogging carthartic.
However yesterday, my work day, I sat down to answer a number of emails and also do some blog work that had me writing openly and honestly. And last night I had a proper cry.
The past year has been tough.
This time in 2012, I was midway through a two month trip from the UK to Australia. Sounds idyllic, right? But travelling on my own with a baby was nerve racking. The idea of it was far worse than the reality, though I didn't get much sleep in the 36-hours of door-to-door travel.
We visited Sydney, Hervey Bay, Sydney again, then Perth. All in all, there were seven flights. Pickle is a well-travelled munchkin. The last week in Perth with the Outlaws, was some of the most relaxing. Though I was still paranoid about my Mother-in-law judging me, not least when a newly mobile Pickle bumped his head on the coffee table. True to form (from my experience, not the stereotype), my MiL was über supportive and basically told me there would be lots more bumps and bruises and to let him get on with it.
So two days after arriving back in London, my then husband BoyWonder, announced that he no longer wanted to be married. This in it's own right was stressful as I'm sure you'd understand. But I still hoped we'd work things out. It wasn't to be, and our relationship counselling turned into divorce counselling on the second visit. Those fortnightly appointments were stressful too.
Meanwhile, remember I'm still raising an active and demanding baby.
So divorce proceedings with the ensuing paperwork, resigning from my job and explaining why, planning a relocation across the world... All while living in the same house as my ex; all stressful events right?
Don't get me wrong, BoyWonder and I have had the most amicable divorce of anyone I know - with the possible exception of my brother and his wife, who still run a business together. They were certainly our inspiration, but I doubt anyone wants to compete for that award.
I'm thankful every time I hear another divorce drama story. And there have been quite a few of those.
Leaving my adorable friends was certainly stressful. I miss them regularly. I've luckily made a few good friends already in Hervey Bay, but they can't replace the ones, in my heart, that I left behind.
Arriving to a "fresh start" (and remembering the 36-hours of travel with a now-toddler) wasn't quite what I'd anticipated.
I've struggled how to address the difficulties I've encountered, as it's not necessarily my story to tell. So I will cut to the chase and just say that, after an immense amount of additional and extremely unexpected stress, Pickle and I ended up living in emergency accommodation a week before Christmas. I'm lucky it was a house and not share accommodation - I'm really not sure how I would have coped with that (SilverLining anyone?!).
Trying to find rental accommodation was far more difficult than I'd imagined. It was just the wrong time of year and very few places were listed. It came down to the wire, as the emergency accommodation was only for ten weeks - I moved out the day before expiration.
I'd ordered a cargo bike as a car replacement. There were months worth of dramas there, which deserves it's own post and will arrive in due course. I'm starting from scratch on that front.
My shipping from the UK has been in the country since 5th January, but still hasn't been delivered. After chasing yet again, I found out yesterday that it's now "probably" due Monday. Which means I've had to reschedule appointments and don't have any childcare for Pickle.
Oh and I've got a frozen shoulder - an increasing interference and a painful one at that. Chiropractic treatment and one cortisone injection later (I've had to reschedule the second injection due to the imminent shipping delivery), I'm still in pain and I sometimes feel like I'm haemorrhaging money.
So that, in a nutshell, has been the past eleven months.
Yet, I'm still - relatively - positive. I'm enjoying a simplified life. I'm actioning my career change. Pickle has started day-care one day a week (hence my work day). I'm ready for him to be in day-care, which I certainly wasn't six months ago.
Sure, it's hard work being a single Mummy. I often don't get a break until an hour or so after he's gone to bed. But after washing up, folding laundry, putting his toys away, etc., I can have quality me-time. Or - most likely - quality vegging time.
And quite frankly, Pickle is frigging amazing.
So enough self indulgent rambling from me. Time to finger paint...