Saying "Goodbye" to 2016

Sunset light on the hills

This piece of writing has been brewing for a wee while in my head and while important to "get it out and down" it is not a rant, more a firm assessment of the year that is just finishing.

Next year I turn 55. It's a weird age....not old but not youthful either. I have become a bit more solid at the waist and I am doing my level best to accept it. I stopped dyeing the hair some years ago but have noticed my "bob" on far too many other women. I think I am facing the horror of being counted in that tribe of females I really don't want to be part of: Middle-Aged and Grey, driving a small hatchback and living mostly alone. 

I face it down regularly now, though not always calmly, and I defiantly cling to a sense of style outside of T-shirts and leggings. Today is a Liberty print sleeveless top with half-belt and 3/4 capris...and always war-paint!

I do my best.

This year has been a "crossroads" year for me. I have heard other women frame the years from 53-56 in much the same terms; the years when they stopped pleasing everyone, the years when they only started to really live their own lives, the year when they no longer had to care for parents and actually began to look after themselves.

I have heard women of these years talk about how they were determined to do that course, or open that studio, or finish that degree, do that Great Walk, or travel to that place.

For too many of us these years mean we get to suddenly be ourselves when it was denied prior by family responsibilities and obligations.

In my case, I made a firm decision not to tolerate tantrums from the adults in my life.

It wasn't easy to explain to everyone and it still is not completely understood, but it will, in the future. 

Essentially I now remove myself from potentially toxic situations and I am a great deal happier for it. 

I made the decision earlier this year and it's a life-changing one.

2016 was the year I charted the Family Map and found very interesting dusty corners of our history.... 

2016 was the year I reached out to my Irish Diaspora through Facebook. I found cousins, aunts, and photographs !!!!!

I began research on the Workhouse system in Mayo, Ireland.

I worked a gansey in alpaca for Chris...

Chris' Alpaca

I did the markets and sold wool...

I held an Open Studio in October and developed my profile as an honest artisan.

I maintained this web-site and set up a Facebook page too.

In short, I worked hard and just stopped putting up with rubbish. I am well-used to saying "no". 

I am learning not feel guilty about stuff from the past...this is the hard bit. Guilt gnaws at you.

But, if you watch any Teflon-Coated politician you can learn a lot about the Dark Art of not caring.

Seeing an end to 2016

Look out 2017: Big Stuff....more research.....and better writing.

Take care,

Fiona MacBride

Tin Shed Yarns