Thursday, 3 January 2013

Reflections on New Year

I always find New Year a difficult time. As ever it seems only yesterday that we were welcoming in the last one and now here we are saying goodbye to it. Where did it go? What happened? What did we achieve? The relentless drip, drip, drip of time passing. It is not a good time, in the depths of a dark, gloomy, British winter, to be reminded of your mortality...

Just before New Year, N told some friends that he would be glad to see the back of 2012. I questioned him on that, mainly on the basis that, although I knew he had had a heavy blow struck him at work this year, there had been many other things that had made 2012 memorable. Not least of all, we had begun it on the other side of the world, together as a family, finally doing something which we had been promising ourselves for years - a far-flug trip with our girls, before they grow too old, and a mini sabbatical for N after so many years of relentless hours at a demanding job. As we toasted it in, sitting outside on the deck of the boat, listening to the revelry of other boats moored nearby and catching the odd glimpse of a firework in the inky black distance, we quietly asked ourselves the same questions: what would 2012 bring? Would it be a good one? Would it be tinged by some great sadness or disaster?

We all gladly wish eachother, as Big Ben strikes its twelth chime, 'Happy New Year - hope it's a good one!' This is, of course, an absolutely genuine sentiment, but I always fear the elephant in the room, the thing lurking in the coming days and months which will mean that this will be your very own, in the immortal words of our Queen, 'annus horribilis'.

The fact of the matter is, we can never know what it around the corner. The best we can do is make the most of the good times and work together through the bad times. As I have always said: for every peak there is a trough, and for every trough a peak. Sometimes the waters are calm. Sometimes the peaks and troughs come in quick succession and sometimes the troughs seem longer or deeper than the peaks - and, occasionally, vice versa. There are, indeed, good years, just as there are bad years. But mostly, the year is made up of good things and bad things. That is the balance of nature.

For me, looking back at our personal 2012, it was rather like the collective one in Britain - a series of ups and downs, with high points and low points. We travelled a lot, enjoyed some fabulous holidays, celebrated the half centuries of N and many friends, celebrated our 20 years of marriage (and 30 years together), saw a great tragedy befall one of N's oldest friends, consolidated many newer friendships, battled together through difficult times in the workplace and the impact of that on ourselves personally. There were a great deal of things that we did not achieve, but a great deal of things that we did. Meanwhile, in the UK the joy, optimism and success of the Diamond Jubilee, the pregnancy of a queen in waiting, and the Olympics and Paralympics (together with record renewing success in tennis, golf, rugby and cricket), went hand in hand with the unfortunate revelations of a former British icon, Jimmy Savile, and all its ramifications, an enduring recession, higher tax bills, the wettest summer for 100 years, ash dieback disease and the ubiquitous political scandals. In the wider world, despite the year kicking off with the bizarre and tragic sinking of a ferry off the coast of Italy and the ongoing chaos, violence and unrest in Afghanistan and Syria, statistics show that 2012 has actually been the best year ever: globally there has never been less hunger, less disease, less death through war or greater prosperity. The forces of peace, progress and prosperity are actually prevailing which is good enough reason to celebrate this New Year.

Life is rarely easy or straightforward. We have to absorb the knocks and ride the highs. There is always something to challenge us or to enchant us, to humble us and to enrich us. The important
thing is always to expect the unexpected, to keep learning from experience, to hang in there together, to love each other, help each other and celebrate each day on earth by taking time to notice and appreciate the smallest crumbs of beauty, comfort and solace which, if you keep your eyes, mind and heart open, are given to us daily as we negotiate the complex paths of life today.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. 

2 comments:

Nutty Gnome said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
HER ON THE HILL said...

Nutty, my apologies - I appear to have removed your comment by mistake when trying to rid my blog of thousands of hateful spam comments since getting a new computer and a hotmail email address :-((.

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