As we all wind down our week towards Christmas and then the start of 2018, I am able to outright state that this year could not end soon enough. Don’t get me wrong, my positive disposition means that I have managed to come up with an overwhelmingly awesome list of achievements for 2017, but it was still a difficult year. Those who have actually seen me over the last 4 months will have an inkling of just how devastating, arduous and rollercoastery (it IS a word, I just made it up) it was for me.

In December 2016, my word for 2017 was Completion. Now that I am in December 2017 I have replaced that with Growth. Last week I was calling it “Devastation” and “Face Palm Year” but on deeper reflection,  it has indeed been a Growth year.

I started 2017 off by waking up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, about to return to Barbados for some extra beach time. By all accounts it looked like it was going to be a fabulous year. But it was to be more complicated than that.

The Lowlights

Back in April, my Aunty Margie who has been my aunty for my whole life, even before she met and married my uncle becoming my official Aunty Margie, became increasingly ill and died just 11 days shy of her 70th birthday. My uncle (Phil) was devastated as she was the love of his life, he was her sole carer for 22 years. He was inconsolable and in his text messages seemed lost without her. Next week marks what would have been their 22nd Wedding Anniversary. It is a love like that which gives hope to many people in times of darkness.

The Lowest of the Lows

On 8 June, Uncle Phil (also known as Ankle Full due entirely to our ‘Sarf Lundun’ cousins making fun of our South African accents, but only continuing because the man himself loved it) announced that he would need to undergo treatment for throat cancer, including surgery and radiation. He was positive and convinced he would beat cancer once again. On 6 July, surgery took place and he had his larynx, oesophagus and thyroid removed completely. After months in the hospital, daily updates by WhatsApp of progress made along with a few steps backwards, it was clear we were doing the Cha-cha-cha but it still ultimately, sounded fairly positive and he seemed to be getting better, until he suddenly was not. Then the prognosis turned south, very south indeed prompting the call to head back to South Africa asap or immediately if possible. Uncle Phil, the best uncle in the world, died on 18 October (the day after my last blog). I did not make it home to see him in time, I had instead sent him a video “just in case”. I arrived one week later.

The reality still hasn’t sunk in as I realised as I went to send him a birthday card last week, to arrive in time for his 75th birthday in January, or to text him after yet another dismal performance against his beloved Wales. I remember I used to steal my mum’s pre-paid Airmail envelopes when I was about 5 or 6 so I could draw him pictures and write him notes to show off my ability to write while he lived in ‘fancy’ London. I thought my London Uncle was the coolest thing since sliced bread, even though he seemed largely imaginary to me at the time. Even when he became a South African resident the novelty never really wore off. After he died, I was utterly broken, I returned to London in early November and then I didn’t even get out of bed for more than a couple of hours here and there for two weeks. I have sadly experienced many deaths in my life, so it’s not so much the act of dying that gets me, it is the learning to live without someone you have never known your life to be without and it had happened again.The only comfort I can take from his death is that he and Margie get to be together again and united for eternity in Mouille Point. For now, the stars shine brightly for them.

The Highlights

In between all of that, the horrifying fact is life has to go on and I had a business to continue to set up and run, content to write, strategies to write and conferences to attend. I would be lying if I said I was entirely focused. The learning curves 2017 delivered were heartbreaking and ruthless but I survived, in some instances I bounded out the other side largely unscathed. There were some very-high highs, like meeting my business partner, Jess, properly and getting to know her; joining an excellent Passive Income Workshop as a helper for my friend Paul; meeting and befriending Dawn, the brightest star in Digital and Social Media Marketing universe; and finally, making a new like-minded friend, Kurt, on the flight from Cape Town back to London. I also met small business owner and entrepreneurial inspiration, Sam.

I had so many dear friends visit me in London, one visit prompting an impromptu visit to other friends in Edinburgh. I have had two sets of great friends move to London from South Africa. I had my 20 year high school reunion. I got to see some of my favourite bands/ acts live – Depeche Mode, Guns ‘n Roses, Johnny Clegg, Pete Tong. I attended a friend’s impromptu wedding in July. I spent 3 months alcohol free. I visited Rome, Berlin, Phoenix, Cape Town. I published my first article on LinkedIn. And finally, I completed 12 Certifications during the course of 2017 and attended Brendon Burchard’s Growth Summit in Arizona. Of course, I also got to see my mum unexpectedly, unexpected for 2017 anyway.

So it is very clear to me that while there were two huge losses in my life, along with numerous other untimely deaths and losses, it was not all bad. Still, I will be pleased to start the new year and begin a year of more achievements and action taking.

I urge you to note down your accomplishments throughout 2018, so that you can reflect on the year next December and see just how much you are actually accomplishing, especially if your year gets a touch out of control like mine just did.

I am ending 2017 with Hope and view the year to come as a Transition Year, closing out with Prosperity. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and an exceptionally Prosperous 2018. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Much love

Coach Canham x

Victoria Canham, founder of Ahead Together, is a coach, mentor, writer, learning and change management specialist. Victoria is currently studying towards a qualification in Personal Training with Future Fit UK and is already qualified as a Sports Nutrition Advisor and Gym Instructor. With a background in many industries and a wealth of skills as diverse as her experience, Victoria is the Coach who sees the best in you, even when you can’t see it yourself. Victoria grew up in Cape Town, South Africa where she studied Food and Beverage Management and Adult Education. Having lived in London for 12 years, Victoria has had the opportunity to work as a contractor in many different styles of industries and locations, most recently Compliance within Financial Services. Victoria is an iPEC accredited Certified Professional Coach and a member of the ICF. Victoria is also a Mentor for the Prince’s Trust, helping young people get into work and develop their potential.

 

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