My word of the year is going to be Gratitude. I had been thinking of choosing "Thankful", "Grateful" or something similar, when I spotted two different emails in my Inbox with the word "Gratitude" and knew that I had no other choice!
My word for 2017 was Celebration, and I hinted that I might have something to celebrate later in the year, apart from my 70th birthday of course. Over 10 years ago we paid a deposit on a house that was never built, after the builders went into voluntary liquidation. We took the bank to court, as they should have protected our deposit. I'm delighted to say that the Alicante court decided in our favour and the bank was told to return the deposit. Our money was repaid in May, just in time for us to start planning my birthday and "Grand Tour of Europe". Definitely worth celebrating!
At my birthday party in London, I made a short speech about how lucky I am and spoke about several things that I'm grateful for. Obviously the first thing that I mentioned was all my friends and family who were there helping me celebrate, especially my husband John and my three children Vicky, Mark and Kate. My brother David, cousin Judith and niece Helen and her family had all travelled a fair distance to be with me too, which made me feel very happy and grateful.
The next thing that I'm grateful for is my good health. Having said that, I've just recovered from a cold that lingered for over a week, but I know that many women of my age have far more serious health problems to cope with. I was told in 2016 that I had arthritis of the jaw, which was nothing to do with overuse (as claimed by my husband and my oldest daughter!) I started taking some supplements and following an anti-inflammatory diet, which I am happy (and grateful) to say seems to be holding the arthritis at bay and I had a pain-free 2017. Apart from being reasonably sensible with my diet (my evening piece of dark chocolate is for medicinal purposes!) I exercise on a regular basis. I go to dance exercise classes three mornings a week, plus Pilates on the days in between. I also walk everywhere, encouraged by my Fitbit to take a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, and helped by the fact that we have a dog to walk every day, no matter what the weather's doing.
I am grateful for the fact that we live in a modern apartment block on the edge of town, with running water, a gas water heater and electricity to heat our home in winter. Yes, we so often take these things for granted but you only have to watch the news to know that many people around the world don't have these luxuries. We also have lovely Spanish neighbours, who don't seem to mind our far from fluent Spanish and are happy to talk slowly so we can understand them.
Finally, I am grateful that we both have decent pensions to live on, which means that we don't have to worry about paying bills. It also means that we can enjoy a good lifestyle, including regular meals out with friends and a couple of holidays a year. Our plans for 2018 include a holiday in Salamanca in March to celebrate John's birthday plus a visit to Ljubljana for my birthday in September.
Did I say finally? I would also like to express my gratitude to the readers of this blog - it's great knowing that you are out there! Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2018 and hoping that you also have plenty of things to be grateful for.