Hi everyone, Ashley here!
I am sending this out a bit earlier than normal because I will be barding a flight very early in the morning to New York for my wedding!
Welcome to December and our focus for this month - 'Reflection'.
A few months ago I told you about how I moved to London in September 2002 when I was 19 years old. Coming from a small town in the West Midlands, this was daunting and scary and exciting all at the same time and I felt like I was constantly filled with a nervous energy. On December 28th, with Girls Aloud at number one with their first hit Sound of the Underground, I met this incredibly gorgeous man who everyone said looked a bit like David Beckham (I have attached a photo of our first holiday together 6 months later after we met!).
Simon is the man I have spent 10 of the last 15 years with. In our turbulent twenties, when both of us thought we knew best and stubbornly held on to win every fight, we split up after 8 years together. People often ask me if I have regrets that we split up and when I reflect on the people we were then I understand that we couldn't have stayed together. In the 5 years we had apart we both had other relationships and experiences that helped to shape who we are today and both Simon and I are thankful for those people and times. Those 5 years apart also gave us new opportunities and introduced people in to our lives that we may not have met if we had stayed together. We were on our own journey and this was how it was supposed to be...
Until our paths crossed again two and half years ago and we had a chance to discover the new people we had become - much of the same as before but wiser, maturer and more mindful. Two people who really appreciated one another, who give time to each other but also allowed space as well. We were exactly what the other needed and having practised mindfulness for a year at that point, I felt I could really acknowledge what it was I needed to be happy. It was difficult at first to move away from 'never look back, always look forward' but after a little while I was able to reflect on the past and let go of expectations. Mindfulness enabled me to reflect but use it to allow me to live more blissfully in the present.
On Tuesday I will get to say 'I do'. This is something I never in a million years would have thought possible when I was a child filled with confusion and worry and dread over the differences I knew I had. I imagined life would be one big secret because no one really taught you at that time that it was ok to be gay and that you would grow up and live 'happily ever after' just like all the other boys and girls at school. I am grateful to have had a loving family who allowed me to be exactly who I was but more than anyone I am grateful to Simon, the man I met aged 20. The man who has been on this incredible journey with me so far, holding my hand and working with me so that we could both be the best versions of ourselves. Of course, like all relationships, it hasn't always been easy but it has definitely been exciting! On Tuesday we get to continue this loving journey and share our special day with the most important people in our lives and do you know what, I couldn't be happier!!!! There have been times in the past when I have been so sad and lonely so through reflection I get to enjoy and truly appreciate the happiness I feel right now. I have something to compare it to and this is what reflection can sometimes be about...
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! No matter your mood, and I appreciate everyone is at a different stage of happiness right now, try to take a moment to reflect on anything you feel will benefit you...
Finally, the next bit is for one person who I know will see this because he wad added to the community without even being asked
Simon, I can't wait to be your husband. With all my heart, I love you
m and Ash
For Body For Mind For Life