At the start of 2014, I declared it would be ‘the year of opportunity’. How right was I! It all started in January, when British Athletics invited me to compete in the Glasgow International Match, I then got asked to train with the GB Women’s Goalball Team and I also reserved my first house. The highlight of the year without a doubt has to be the Commonwealth Games. Finally, I was given the opportunity to represent my country, the years of chasing a dream became a reality. A massive thank you to England Athletics for giving me a chance. I had already decided I would quit athletics if I didn’t make a major championship in 2014. It was coming to the point where I couldn’t deal with the constant failure. It’s an enormous relief that I don’t have to hang my spikes up just yet.
The biggest disappointment of the year was not being selected for the European Championships that took place shortly after the Commonwealths. It was difficult to watch people run slower than me and for there to be no British T11 representation. However, I didn’t prove myself enough this year since I didn’t manage to run a PB.
Another major upset was failing to secure a place on Teacher Training. Despite obtaining a First in English Language and Literature in 2013, there was a severe shortage of English places meaning no teaching for me. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved the work experience I did in schools and had the chance to teach a Year 9 English lesson, which was nerve racking, but so rewarding.
After the Commonwealths I began job hunting once more, something I hadn’t done since before my degree and had a torrid time when I did. Apparently, the job market hasn’t improved. I have applied for countless jobs and only secured two interviews, which obviously led nowhere. It’s so frustrating to apply for positions you are completely over qualified for and not even be acknowledged.
On a more positive note, I have visited so many places independently this year with Calvin, my other half who is also totally blind and my trusty Trekker Breeze. We have enjoyed days out in Cambridge, Ely, Peterborough, Norwich and London. Activities included punting, Oliver Cromwell’s House, China Town, M & M’s World, Norwich Castle, several beautiful parks (Jubilee, Embankment and Ferry Meadows), as well as more traditional activities, such as the cinema and meals out. All outings were achieved with minimal taxi rides and a little bit of help from the general public. I wish I could put into words how liberating it has felt exploring. Yes we got lost here and there, but it just enhanced the experiences.
To finish the year I had my sixteenth eye operation that has made the world a slightly brighter place and I officially moved into my house! The operation was more for comfort, as I had calcium build up. It’s the second time I’ve had the surgery and I’m in no hurry to get it done again, as operations really are no fun.
In a strange way, I’m not expecting too much from this year. The plan is to settle into my house, continue with the athletics and piano lessons and to be generally happy with life. I have spent so many years pressurising myself to achieve, achieve, achieve. I still have aspirations, but this year they are smaller.
I don’t say it enough, but a huge thank you to everyone who reads this blog, takes an interest in my life and supports my ambitions. Here’s hoping you have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015.