Esther has tagged me for this meme. You have to list four things that were new to you in the past four years - four things you learned or experienced or explored for the first time in the past four years: new house, new school, new hobby, new spouse, new baby, whatever. Then you have to say four things you want to try new in the next four years.
Hmmm, I can't think what might make her think I've experienced any new things recently... ;¬)
Well, four new things in the last four years - that's easy:
1. I started a new job, which is still my dream job. It combines elements of all the jobs I have ever done, gives me an opportunity to learn something new every day, to share my knowledge with others and to meet some great people. I also have the flexibility to work from home regularly, a more regular workload so I've got my evenings back, and the world's best head of department to work with (yes, he's the sort of boss that you work with, not for).
2. I moved house, from a one bedroom flat on a run-down council estate in South-East London to a house in the friendliest street in a little market town outside London, but from which I can walk to the station in about five minutes for a direct train to the nearest underground station to where I work.
3. Last October, I completed a marathon. When I started training, I had never run more than about half a mile. It wasn't the world's fastest marathon, but I got a lot of publicity for a good cause. Instead of donating money, I asked people to sponsor me by giving blood (in gratitude for the 17 units of blood which had saved my sister's life the previous year). Over 100 people gave blood, many of them first time donors, and many have now become regular donors as a result.
4. I've taken one of my nieces and one of my nephews on holiday unaccompanied for the first time. The challenges of being responsible for a three-year-old on a seaside holiday and a 13-year-old on a city holiday were completely different, but the rewards were equally great - I loved every minute of both holidays, and hope I have the opportunity to do the same sort of thing again.
And now for four things I'd like to try in the next four years:
1. Marriage would be nice - and I wouldn't complain if it was to New Man (who hopefully won't mind if I describe him as another of my recent new experiences!).
2. Motherhood would be fantastic. Some of my friends have suggested to me that I should consider adopting or fostering on my own, and I have considered it - but although I loved going on holidays alone with my niece and nephew, I don't think I could ever do that. I don't think I could give a child the sort of life that I would want it to have if I were on my own. I have some friends who, for various reasons, are having to bring up their children alone, and they are fantastic mothers - but none of them chose to be single parents, and I don't think it's a choice that would be fair on the child. So for me, 1 would have to precede 2.
3. I never thought I'd hear myself say this (see myself write it?), but I'd love to do another marathon - this time running the whole way. Given the short amount of time I had available for training, I did well just to finish the marathon last year, but I did walk the whole of the last 6 miles and intermittently (probably for about a third of the time in total) during the first 20.
4. I'd like to visit the place in Ireland where my grandparents grew up.
Now, who to tag? I've been a bit out of the blogging world recently, so apologise if you've already done this one - but I'll go for Mac, the Roving Medievalist and Brad.