In the past I have written round ups of what has happened throughout the previous year before wishing the compliments of the season to readers, hopes for the future etc. I’ve also gone so far as to neglect to do anything at all with regards the blog in recent years, sporadically posting when the fancy takes me, having very little regard for direction or purpose. But that’s life.
I felt it best to offer category based round-ups this year; this way I can engage in some retrospective commentary about the years events, without feeling the need to go into too much detail, but allowing myself the license to do so for those topics of particular note.
Family – With the tragic death of Shweta’s Mother in late May and the passing of my Grandfather in December, it’s been a rough road at times, particularly for Shweta and her Father. While it’s not something that’s either easy to write about, nor really articulate in terms of emotions or feelings, there is only one way, and that is forward and we’ve never felt alone on this difficult journey either in body or spirit and that has been a great comfort.
Home – So let’s move on with something that has made a very firm positive mark on the year. Shweta and I bought a flat together, managing too, by the end of the year, just, to finish renovating it. It’s located in Shad Thames, a small corner of London that we’ve lived in together for the past few years and have come to love very much. We look forward to many more happy walks along the river, nights out we can walk home from, quiet nights in and perhaps the odd party or two.
Travel – What we’ve lacked in distance flown, we’ve made up for in engagement with our surroundings. We’ve spent a number of holidays and made numerous excursions to different part of the UK. We’ve stayed with friends on Angelsey, hiked in Snowdonia, toured Cornwall, explored Gloucestershire and had many nights out in our fine capital city, taking in music, theatre and art. We’re still behind with the photo log, but I’m working on getting albums up and there’ll be a kind of retrospective written later in the year to point in the direction of these.
Politics – One really couldn’t leave this post without referring to the political events of this past year.
The Brexit vote in June was quite possibly the most politically upsetting event that I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. While I’ve not always agreed with EU policy and direction, I’ve always felt an affinity with Europe and her peoples. The shame of being a citizen of a country turning it’s back on this great bond of friendship and having to face friends and colleagues in work the following day who are citizens of other European countries, was a most singularly unpleasant experience. We can only look forward now, but I can’t deny that I do so with trepidation about what our future might hold.
As if this wasn’t enough, the election of Donald Trump was another body blow for progressive Western politics. Again, I was not always a fan of some of Obama’s more left wing policies, but his handling of world issues and his general tolerance towards those who might oppose him was a positive beacon for many and one that we will all feel the worse for losing. One cannot predict the future, but isolationist policies perpetrated by a modern world power cannot do anything to help it be a positive one.
Direction – Shweta and I have come to appreciate what, I think, we’ve always known and that is, whatever life serves you, you get the most out of it if you give it your all and expect nothing in return. What you get back will then, almost certainly, not only surprise you, but surpass any and all expectations. To this end we have resolved, perhaps more than ever, to focus on our presence; that is to say, be aware of what is around you, retreat less, engage more. We plan on reducing our engagement with ubiquitous communications, spend more time with friends and family, make more adventurous travel plans and throw plenty of energy into social and cultural engagements around town. We’ll also be starting a scrap book; we’ve already collected some material for it and will continue to do so into the new year. It’s not for public consumption and is very much a slow-burn type task, but I feel sure this will provide much fun and inspiration for us both.
So yes, it really is a warm welcome for 2017 – we have much cause for hope in the future and there really has been far too much despair in 2016, in spite of all the immensely positive things that we and our friends and family have achieved.
Wishing you all then, a very happy, prosperous new year.