In just over 2 hours I will turn 28. I like to mark these dates by writing, I used to do it in paper journals, counting down the minutes until quarter past midnight, filling the pages with a stream of consciousness. This time I want to mark the changes that have happened since this time last year, the differences that have made the year what it is.
I was in Italy a year ago, working on a ballet show in a beautiful theatre with a star-scattered sky painted on its auditorium room. I ate ice cream in a warm seaside square and drank too much coffee waiting for italian theatre technicians to return from their lunch break. I searched for parmesan cheese in the rain and bought a copy of 'Northern Lights' in Italian with the intention of reading it in simultaneously with the English. I can see it now, sitting on the red shelves with its English counterpart, the bookmark still on the first page, its conjugations too hard for my medium skill.
This year I won't spend tomorrow working. Its reading week and I've given myself tomorrow off. A year later I'm a student studying to get out of my depression-inducing career, trying to kick start a new one. Maybe by next year I'll have started it.
The biggest change from last year is that there will be one card missing, one less greeting that has been a constant for every birthday of my life. In just over a month it will have been a year since my Grandma, Noddy, died, on Christmas Eve. Already the onslaught of Christmas adverts is becoming too much, I know it will only get harder as the month moves on, but now I want to remember the happy times. Last year she gave me a knitting kit: two balls of undyed cream wool, two needles and a pattern. It's beautiful. I haven't started it, not because I don't like it, but because when its finished she won't be here to see it. She taught me how to knit, I'm only starting to be able to fix the problems in my knitting myself, still expecting her to be there to pick up my dropped stitches. I will knit it at some point, but I can't bring myself to do it yet. Perhaps I'll start it on Christmas Eve, start a new tradition.
This past year has had its happiness as well. Its been the year I've finally kick-started my writing, taking two 6 week classes with some wonderful women who have become close friends and extremely supportive friends. At the time of writing, I'm 17,204 words into a novel that I started in earnest at the start of November for NaNoWriMo. I've been a writer (and not just sporadically on here) for as long as I have had a stationary fascination. As a notebook covered with the old body shop animals will attest, this too has been a long standing obsession too. I'll let you know how the novel turns out.
This year I've also made some amazing new friends, four of whom threw me an amazing birthday party at the weekend with delicious food and their wonderful company, and a personalised birthday cocktail named after my favourite musical, 'Into the Woods'. I can't adequately express how amazing it was to have people I've known for relatively little time so quickly become such close friends who mean the world to me.
Tomorrow, my mum and I are heading to see 'Suffragette' and have afternoon tea. Patch and I are going out to dinner at a diner and I'm going to make my favourite chocolate cake. Seems like a pretty good day to me. The last year has handed me some of the hardest times and some of the best, I take forward all I have learned into the next year, and sign off to go and dream of cake!