At the end of every year since I was self-indulgent enough to do such a thing, I have a look on my Facebook timeline at all the photos I've taken and statuses I've written over the year, and years before that, and whether what I see makes me happy, nostalgic, confused (if I was drunk) or embarrassed (also if I was drunk), ultimately, I feel sad. Usually it's because there are people in the photos at the beginning of the year that I've fallen out of contact with and haven't made it to the photos at the end. Sometimes it's just because I see a necklace or a top or something that I haven't seen in ages and I think 'where the hell has that gone?'. Over all, it's just because I'm aware of how quickly the year's passed, and how much has changed in such a short space of time.
When I did this at the end of 2013, I was mostly looking at photos of Dylan as a newborn baby. That DID make me feel weepy. Watching him grow has been the fastest transition I've ever experienced. He went from being a tiny little bundle I could cradle in my arms, to a bonny, bouncing tot pulling himself up on furniture and squishing food into the carpet in what felt like a matter of days. He'll be 1 soon, and that's really scary. It's amazing watching him learn - desperately trying to crawl, playing with his stacking cups , saying 'mum' and 'dad' - but with each new stage, you leave behind a piece of their babyhood, and that makes me sad.
I also used to go into the new year thinking 'right, THIS year is the one' (as I'm sure many people do). I'd resolve to finally lose weight, pass my driving test, learn to cook, do more writing, pluck my eyebrows more often and put my clothes away instead of on the floor. Up until last year, I never even came close to doing a single one of those things. I'd start a food diary, then have a Nando's on day 4 and scribble the words 'SHIT' "WELL DONE YOU IDIOT' and 'MUST TRY HARDER TOMORROW' all over it. They make for quite an entertaining read a few months later, but at the time it's just frustrating and pointless. I'd have endless driving lessons, with my instructor rolling his eyes when I indicated right instead of left or stalled it on a hillstart. He thought my lack of coordination was funny and, apparently, endearing - I half-expected him to ruffle my hair and say 'aaaaw, bless' when I missed a turning or went up the kerb. I honestly thought I'd be the girl in the story that every learner gets told - 'Don't worry, you'll pass eventually - a mate of mine took 10 tests before she passed'.
Anyway. With the arrival of Dylan, I also gained a different perspective on the world. It wasn't just about me any more. I wasn't going to see my friends whenever I wanted. I wasn't going to have time to exercise more often or put thought into a calorie-controlled diet. I gave up learning to drive for 6 months. Funnily enough, all the things I'd wanted to do for years just kind of fell into place. I have amazing friends that have become honorary aunties to Dylan and are happy to do baby-friendly stuff whenever we can. I managed to pass my test 3rd time lucky in November. I still can't cook... but I've stopped caring about that, plus I have a lovely boyfriend who doesn't mind doing it for me! And I'm probably the biggest I've ever been, but who cares - I carried a baby.
I know 2014 isn't going to be a year about achieving personal goals. It's going to be a year of going to the toilet with the door open, cleaning up vomit or spilled juice, prising inedible objects from Dylan's mouth and crawling after him when he's trying to escape a nappy change. I'm fine with all of those things, because I know in a heartbeat they'll be gone, and soon I'll be looking at photos of him as a baby while he's at school, and I'll be thinking 'where's the time gone?' not 'God, I look fat in that photo of me holding him'.