The Yearly Assessment

New Year is always a trepedatious time of year. It makes me feel worried about what’s to come, but more on that tomorrow. Instead, let me just assess what happened this year.

For this exercise, I have just read my traditional start of year post, in which I set out some of my expectations and worries for the year. It was actually pretty surprising.

The formal business to transact first is what kind of year was it. On balance, I think it was a Good Year, and it was just shy of being a Very Good Year. Business has been, it has to be said, very good, and even more so when I look back at what I wrote at the start of the year. I really didn’t expect to do as well as I have. I won’t really know until all the figures are in in a few months, but I think it was probably better than 2011, which itself was a good year financially.

I’m really surprised at that. I did think that the general economic gloom would have more of an effect than it actually did. It seems I am, for the moment, in a pretty reasonably protected sector. That’s good. I am quite pleased at what I have managed to achieve this year.

The major proviso is that at the start of the year I did think I was going to secure one of the major deals. In fact, I did do that, but it was the deal I didn’t really want. I need to do some work on that soon, but I am pretty surprised to hear myself be dismissive of what is potentially worth a lot of money to me. The main reason for that is how little I know about the field I’m going into. It has been a big positive from the year, but it is a worry for the year to come.

As far as personal life goes, that was a bit of a disaster. I did improve my relationships with a couple of friends, but others drifted still further, some of them pissed me off completely and I didn’t make any new friendships at all, let alone anything more significant.

In family life, we all move on. My brother is now in university, my other brother is starting a job, at last, my sister is in college, I have a new nephew, and my two other nephews are doing reasonably well. The wider family hasn’t suffered any disasters or crises, and my grandparents are still here, although my poor grandfather is worse than ever.

But I should be grateful. We’re doing OK. We have to do better, and we possibly should have done. But others have it a lot worse than us. I just wish my younger brothers and sisters would be a bit more appreciative of the help they get from the family; meanwhile I live far away from home and get no more help from my parents.

It’s because of these slight negatives that I can’t give this my very first ever Very Good Year. But I hold out good hopes for the next one. More tomorrow.

The Yearly Rest

Most people have regular holidays, if they’re able. Definitely summer, maybe one or two weeks in autumn or spring. If they have children, holidays are usually only six weeks away.

Me, not so much. Throughout this year, I think the holidays I’ve taken have been one week in mid March, when I was feeling quite unwell, and a few days in September, when I went to Cornwall. Which was kinda ruined.

But here we are now. Safely back home with my family, after what was probably the best journey home ever. I left at stupid o clock, and everything ran to time, but even better it was quiet and totally stress-free. I brought a book, lent to me by a customer, about Steve Jobs. I’ve never been a fan of Apple, but I have a little bit of motivation now…

It’s been a nice day overall. I got home about 11:30, and haven’t done much since. But that doesn’t matter too much. This is my holiday. The only proper one I have all year. I have worked damn hard for this, and so I’m going to enjoy it as much as I possibly can. Enjoy definitely knowing taking any phone calls would be totally inappropriate. Not that anyone would phone me. Although, this year, I wouldn’t put it past a couple of the weirdos I’ve dealt with.

But this year it’s even more special because I have come home to see my family, which has an extra addition. I now have a new nephew, who was born a week ago. The family just gets larger and larger. I saw him for the first time earlier today. All babies are ugly, I’m pretty sure of that. But they soon improve!

It is now eight years since I started blogging. Every year I note the “blogiversary” as best I can. But this year I don’t think I have anything further to add. I’ve said it all in past years. All good. Long may it continue.

Now I sit awaiting my final drink of the evening. It will only be my second, but we kind of have an ironic tradition in this house in recent years. We sit around wrapping presents till late, watching crap TV, drinking Baileys and watching Midnight Mass. None of us is remotely religious. And, to be fair, we only watch it for about 10 minutes, by which point we couldn’t care less. But all families have their silly traditions, and this is one I quite enjoy. Well, anything involving Baileys must be good.

Tomorrow and the rest of the week should be really good. I am looking forward to present unwrapping tomorrow, and the general family catch up that we’re all planning on. Oh, and lots of food.

Happy Christmas one and all.


The End of the Beginning

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this yet…

I am delighted to say that my housemate has finally got the message. We had a little “chat” and next thing I know he was looking for somewhere else to live. Within days he had done that, and a date was set.

January 9 is freedom day. It’s also the day from which my costs rise significantly. I will be able to cope with it, but I’m not looking forward to a sudden slow down in savings. It’s hard enough to raise a deposit as it is…

But in truth it is a fantastic development. I keep thinking about all the wonderful things I won’t have to put up with. No more random bottles of unfinished shower gel piling up in the bathroom. No more midnight snacking. No more radiators on overnight. No more of my housemate’s crap all over the house. No more having to think about not making too much noise because he’s gone to bed at 8pm. No more being woken up in the middle of the night by repeated visits to the toilet. No more nasty tobacco smell (a recent filthy habit). No more being woken up stupidly early (6am) on Saturday and Sunday because of his bizarre work habits. No more awkward conversations. No more angry thoughts about the situation as a whole. No more having to dodge conversations. No more awkward invitations to social events I have no interest in attending with him. No more moaning about not doing anything to help (cleaning the house, or in the garden especially). No more wasted space in the living room and utility room. No more irritating phone calls. No more irritating conversations about the contents of the DVD and bookshelves with visitors. It just goes on and on.

I keep thinking this is a major milestone in my life. It is the point at which I become the master of my own domain. I have no more excuses to try to move my own personal life forward. That bit does worry me a bit. But it might also mean I can feel a bit more confident about making this place look a bit nicer. It is far too functional. It lacks any kind of warmth or welcome. Not that I know exactly what I’d do about it, but hey…

It seems like this is the end of the beginning of life. Hey, that happened ages ago in reality, but in terms of feeling more grown up, and feeling like I’m completely on my own. Completely independent. That’s so scary.

But it could help things socially. I now have a spare bedroom. People could actually come to visit me without having to pay megabucks to stay in the local B&Bs and hotels. OK, not necessarily megabucks, but if you visit for more than a couple of days, it soon adds up!

It all feels like such a big turnaround. It was only two months ago I was depressed that he was now looking like staying for the immediate future. I was starting to panic that my life had truly entered the stuck rut phase. But in the end, it was just was so increasingly untenable that we both felt the time was right to discuss the future, and he has done the decent thing.

I am excited about it. I really am. It will start next year off really positively, and I need to carry that forward into 2013, as I think it could be the biggest year of my life.

Maybe more next time.