18 months ago it was the day before our wedding day. The day before the best day of our lives.
18 months ago we hadn't visited Mexico, Iceland (twice), Marrakech, Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego. We hadn't been glamping, or celebrated our 9th and 10th anniversary.
18 months ago we were both in our twenties.
18 months ago my Dad hadn't had a stroke. He walked me down the aisle as the Dad I love with all my heart, the Dad who was well, who didn't need a reminder to eat or to change his clothes. He stood and made an amazing speech, that had us all in laughter and tears of happiness. He didn't need to be reminded of things that have happened, of simple directions or people's names.
18 months ago Sarah was out of work. She had been made redundant from a job she really loved, working for a Buddhist charity, and was really at a loss as to her next career move.
18 months ago the Home Birth Team hadn't even been talked about, let alone formed. I was working hard on a Birth Centre that was seeing much change, and wondering if I liked the changes, and if not where I'd go next.
18 months ago my best friend's Dad had just been given the all clear from his oesophageal cancer. He was in remission. They could carry on and live life, he could plan his next trip to Asia with the wife he adored. He would see his future grandchildren. My best friend and her boyfriend hadn't discussed children, not really.
None of us could ever has possibly predicted that in the 18 months since our wonderful, incredible wedding day, we would have lived through what we have. 18 months of marriage has brought us more happiness than we ever really dreamt was possible. We are often told by our families and friends that we are the strongest couple they've ever known. And I don't think that happens by luck - it happens because we hold looking after each other and our relationship as the single most important thing in our lives. We love each other passionately, ferociously and with no limits, and we accept each other for exactly who we are. We are each other's best friends, and there is nothing we cannot get through without each other by our sides. The past 18 months has brought so much adventure, excitement and optimism.
But the past 18 months has also bought more heartache and changes for us both than anyone could ever have predicted. My beloved Dad's stroke, the very sudden death of my best friend's Dad, the birth of her child, the discovery of her own cancer, the ups and downs of new jobs, heartache over the future of the NHS and whether I really want to be a part of it or not, the grief you feel when you get a positive pregnancy test, the hope of a very longed for baby, only for your hopes to be dashed a few days later with the arrival of the monthly curse. Talking about all of this the other day, we came up with the 18 month rule. 18 months is long enough for your life to have completely turned on it's head. Sure…this can happen in an instant, in one day, like if you won the lottery or someone knocked on your door and offered you a round the world ticket for a year, but in reality change takes time. A year isn't quite long enough, but 18 months is right.
Thinking about the 18 month rule and it's potential to be life changing, we decided that once a month we would write a diary entry, on the same day each month. It's just for us, we have our blog for public viewing, but it's just a sealed box, in to which, on the 24th of each month, we write out a diary entry of what is happening, what has happened, how we feel etc, and place it in to the box. And then at the end of the 18 months, so in our case on 24th July 2016, we can open it up again, and realise that yet again our life has done a 360, and we are stood on a very different road to the one we are stood on now. We might be parents! We might have different jobs. We might live in a different city, a different country perhaps (ok that's very unlikely - we love our city!). We might have new friends in our lives in addition to our current ones. The possibilities are endless and fascinating! 18 months is such a short space of time in the grand scheme of life, and yet equally, 18 months may bring a whole lifetime of changes. We shall see!