Annette: a retrospective (1968 – 2018)

When I opened my laptop today, I had no idea that I’d be writing my 200th blog post. I like the symmetry of a ‘milestone’ post being the first in Annette: a retrospective (1968 – 2018).


Self portrait in dappled light, 2018


I can’t believe that I’ve written 199 other posts here, sent each of them out into the ether… and they’ve all been responded to in one way or another. That’s something… and it seems fortuitous timing to start this retrospective at this stage in my blog’s lifespan.

Here’s the gist of it: I turn 50 in 15 days. Half a century on this little blue ball in space. That’s kinda cool.

In the course of those 50 years, life has served me a smorgasbord of experiences. Some wonderful, some mediocre, some long forgotten, some painful… nothing unique about that, right? We all share the same joys and burdens in that respect.

What I’ve been pondering, as my blog slowly atrophies and loses readership and engagement, is that while I might *feel* like my life is boring and I’ve got nothing much to say, that’s not actually true.

I might not be having a magnificent adventure or be in the midst of a deeply life altering season right this minute (or I could be but I just don’t know it yet), but I’ve had them, and they’ve shaped the person I am.

Really, I’m a baby valley; apt given that my middle name is Dale. The seasons of life have changed me, I’m worn smooth in some places, and there’s definitely sediment and settling happening! I’m made up of layers. I am an archaeological dig, waiting to happen.

What I’d like to embark on next is the blogging equivalent of a non-exhaustive, on-the-fly retrospective of Annette. Not a highlights reel. Nope. If you want pretty, curated and sterile, head over to Instagram and follow someone you’ll never know anything about except that they can create an on-trend flatlay.

What I’m hoping for is that as I think about my life and the things that have shaped me, I might find 14 more things to write about that are interesting, thought provoking, revealing and perhaps contain some of the kernels of what it is that make me who I am. It’s the ultimate blogging exercise –  a series all about me – huzzah for narcissism!

The thing is, I don’t think it will be that, and if it is, I apologise in advance. Yet, even if it is does turn out to be what women particularly have been told is the ultimate self-indulgence (thinking not of how we can first be of service to others is the ultimate lady crime, right?), really is that such a bad thing?

If I write 15 posts about knowing myself, about how I got to be the person I think I am today, and within those ‘mirror, mirror, on the wall…’ ramblings, there’s something transferrable or that makes one person reading this blog feel like they’re not alone in their own valley, then fuck it, I’m going to write like my story is the most important story in the world. Just for a fortnight.

To kick things off, here’s a list of 15 Annette factoids which may or may not come up over the next two weeks:

  1. I love colour.
  2. I am a shouty driver.
  3. Home is my favourite place in the world.
  4. I’m not inclined to be a follower. Not anymore.
  5. I do not have a passport, see item 3.
  6. Ambition and I are not well-acquainted.
  7. I love hugs.
  8. I taught myself to be compassionate.
  9. Going to youth group, at my local church, shaped me profoundly.
  10. I have no childhood memories of ever dreaming of getting married.
  11. I like my face. It doesn’t need to be dressed up for anyone.
  12. Once I believed I was irreversibly broken; I was wrong. See item 8.
  13. I am adopted. See item 8 again.
  14. Words are my gateway to the world.
  15. My words are worth reading.

I invite you to join me as I wander through the past 50 years. Maybe you’ll recognise some milestones and markers along the way. Perhaps as I ponder my past, it will light the way into the future. Let’s find out together.

With love,

Annette x

29 thoughts on “Annette: a retrospective (1968 – 2018)

  1. Yay!!! I love that you’re doing these blogs!!! I will read them. You know I will stand with you and honour your story my dear friend. And I have begun to shed a tear and will probably shed at least one or two more.
    I’m so very glad for item 8!!! Me too.


  2. Yay! I love reading about you! There is always much for me to relate to. Bring it on!
    Your words are magnificent.


  3. Do it! I never think there is any narcissism in that kind of thing, I’m interested in knowing things about peoples lives. Narcissism is different to that and I cant even relate that word to you. Plus you’re not boring… like even!!!! So write away 🙂


  4. Oh how I adore this post and that you share your adventure. What is adventure anyway … it’s not standing on a rock cliff taking a selfie (nothing interesting going on without a story)! You my friend bring so much colour to this world. It’s not the first time I’ve been utterly moved and inspired but your compelling words.

    I’m excited about where this goes …


    • Fran, you rock. I am looking forward to your upcoming adventure, and the stories that it will germinate in you and in the girls you seek to support.

      Thank you for being my northern hemisphere buddy from The Basin!!


    • I’m here because Fran linked to you in her post. I like the sound of your next 14 days, I will stick around to read. I’m so nosey, always interested in real lives, what makes people tick, how we become who we are and why we do what we do. And as someone who also turns 50 this year, I wonder how many similarities and differences we will have.
      Cheers Kate.


      • Hi Kate, that Fran is a cheeky one! I like real lives too, and 49 years is a long time to have one, huh? Hope you enjoy the ride.


  5. This is cool and a great idea! Love the notion of retrospective and as it’s your blog, then go for it! In May last year I decided it was time to write my memoir ( kind of sort of) & I did post #1. Then I got waylaid by the “C” for cancer & only recently began again. In fact my Chapter one published a couple of weeks back finished in 1967! When I saw your year of birth I placed myself at Teachers college in my first year! Blogs In my opinion as a great way to sharing our lives but also a wonderful record for ourselves.
    Look forward to more.. and link up if you like on a Monday for Life This week. Prompts are optional.


    • Now I’m realising the challenge I’ve set myself… whoops!! Can’t tell you what to expect but I’ll give this daily writing thing a crack for a few weeks.


  6. Oh Nettie, I cannot wait to read your retrospectives! Thank you for all that you do!! 💜💜👏👏💜💜


    • Hey Maz, I’m not sure I “do” much, I just want to tell my stories and if that’s relatable, or maybe helps ease people out of any shackles of self-doubt and thinking that THEY don’t have a worthy story to tell, then I’m a happy blogger.


  7. Annette, I’m certain you have lots to tell. And you obviously have many followers at their computers, poised to listen. Thank you for being confident and bold enough to share your intersting life with us. Joan


  8. Huzzah!

    You’ve given me such a wonderful way to celebrate you and your birthday. It’s a gift to me that you’re open, and a beautiful writer.

    Now what can I get you as a gift……


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