Another Year In Review

It’s stunning just how quickly it comes round, and each one comes round quicker than the last. But all we can do is live it. And so it’s time to assess what happened.

I was talking to my brother earlier. He was saying all the stuff I used to say about the pointless of New Year. It is, after all, just another day. But in recent years I’ve refined my view. Though I’m always contemplating, and reflecting, the end of year point just seems to provide the right framework and mindset to wrap up what’s gone on in the last year.

Of course, there is a formal rating to do first. What kind of year was 2010?

On balance, I have to say, it was a Very Good year. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s only by looking back through this journal that I realise just how depressed, and just how much of a rut I was in at the start of this year. After all, look at this post to see just how much I was filled with dread for the year to come.

What makes me think that this was such a good year though is the fact that I set myself just one goal for 2010: and that was sort my direction out in some way. While I don’t think I’m 100% of the way there on that score, significant progress has still been made. I now have, genuinely, a sustainable and moderately successful business venture. Much to my shock and surprise. It’s been a lot of hard work, and I see only more to come, but broadly speaking the direction of travel has been undeniable.

That’s business. Business and work makes me feel like I’m doing something. We all have our ways of self-identification, but work is foremost amongst it. It’s hard to be anything other, when work is, broadly speaking, what occupies the days of most of us, most of the time. So when work goes well, I feel well. And when my work is pretty much in tune with what I’d like to do, and earning me a reasonable living at the moment, I feel glad.

As for the rest of my self-worth, it wasn’t quite so good. Friendships and relationships are not in a great state. That’s my own fault for allowing work to dominate, but most self-employed people will tell you that there’s almost no other way to live. After all, the lack of paid holidays, sick leave and all the other perks of being employed, rather than self-employed, make your life very different to operate.

Looking wider, my family didn’t have quite so good years. My mum and dad have had very bad years, through combinations of family circumstances and their own work problems. Both of them could potentially be made redundant by the end of this year. I don’t think it will happen, but you can’t rule it out.

My elder younger brother, if that makes sense, is ending the year on a high, having swanned off to Australia, but his problems remain. He had a terrible year of destructive, self-worth sapping woes. Meanwhile, my younger younger brother is still plugging away in education, having now started college. Hopefully he can stick with it, but I don’t see him going to university. And as for my younger sister, she’s doing OK. I still get on well with her, which I hope continues.

Then there’s my elder sister, who has, like me, had a good year. I said at the start of the year that I hoped one of us had a lucky break for a change. It just so happened that it was her, after so many years of suffering. Though her work-life isn’t great, she has found a new boyfriend, one we all like, and one who actually respects her. They are engaged to be married some time this year. I’m really pleased for her. She deserves it. In some ways, it has meant she’s grown more distant from the rest of us, but such is life. We all move on in the end.

Then there’s my nephew, who has evolved into a minor troublemaker. He thinks he’s the big man, despite being aged 11. He’s nothing like the rest of us ever were at that age. I just hope the new stability in his life can help him develop into a more stable individual.

The wider family is also getting on with things. I have my worries, as there’s been a noticeable decline in my granddad over the last year, and it’s only going to get worse. He now barely recognises anyone. Dementia is a truly cruel condition.

Anyway, the year is ending very differently to how it started. No party. No shindig. No singing. No serious ale quaffing. Sums up the way most of the rest of my family are feeling, it seems.

But for me, at least, it’s time to crack open a celebratory drink.

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