Chapter 7 – Goodnight 2017

I haven’t written on this for ages. about 4 months in fact, so, sorry about that. I’ve been averaging about 15 emails a week from you and I confess I haven’t had the chance to read them all yet, but I will get to them all! Not that I’m making excuses – I could have made the time, but to be honest, I have been a bit busy and have been lacking motivation – not only for this but in many aspects of my life. But its the end of the year and this is as good a time to change my outlook as any.

The end of a year is a time for reflection, for taking in what has happened over the last year, what you want to leave behind and what is important enough to take with you into the next. This brings be to my first new years resolution – I vow to add to this blog more frequently and reply more promptly to anyone who takes the trouble to contact me.

So what has happened over the last year? Well I’ve loved and lost, trusted and been betrayed, given and been taken advantage of and in may respects got a lot of my priorities wrong. For me, in many ways, 2017 has been a fail. But as I have been trying to explain to a certain friend over the last few months, failure is not a negative, but an opportunity to learn and to fix what is broken. So while there are many things that I regret from 2017, these are the things I can leave behind, and I move forward into 2018 feeling strangely unburdened as metaphorically leave the negatives at the roadside and accelerate away from it. This leads me to the second of my 3 new years resolutions – I vow not to dwell on the things that I cant change and to focus my efforts instead on the things I can.

But New Year isn’t just a time for reflecting on yourself, it’s a time to reflect on others and on the bigger picture. And worldwide, the news this year has been pretty bleak. We have lost many good lives to terrorism, to natural disasters and to avoidable disasters (Grenfell – my thoughts are particularly with you at this difficult time). Someone I can only describe as sub-human has somehow taken the office of “most powerful man in the western world” and in doing so has raised the threat of terrorism, both domestic and internationally and has made North Korea a genuinely scary looking place rather than just a funny little sideshow. Britain continues to shoot itself in the foot without truly understanding why, Las Vegas experience a terror attack of its own (and yes it was clearly a terrorist attack – just because the shooter wasn’t Muslim doesn’t mean they weren’t a terrorist – similarly just because someone is a Muslim doesn’t mean they are a terrorist), Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, there continues to be war in Syria, famine in Somalia and genocide in Rohingya. I honestly wonder how people can live with some of the things they do and the effect they have on others.

So basically, 2017 can do one, especially as Jaffa cakes have gone from packs of 12 to packs of 10. But we must remember, it wasn’t all bad news – we should take solace from the fact that there have been some huge positives in world politics (Macron’s win against the odds to beat down the rise of racism in France, Corbyn reminding Britain that we’re not all self-serving, uncaring arseholes, Hillary Clinton actually won the most American votes against the vile Donald Trump. And in other news, China have banned the domestic ivory trade saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of elephants per year, many endangered species are no longer endangered (snow leopards, giant panda’s and hump-backed whales to name a few), The Queen still hasn’t given Trump a state visit, astronomers have found 7 new earth like planets, scientists in Holland might have discovered a way to reverse ageing and equality worldwide has made huge strides forwards. The hole in the o-zone layer is getting smaller and Katie Hopkins finally got fired. These are positive things from 2017 that we should hold tight in its final hours and take forward to 2018.

But those positives wouldn’t have happened without good people. And there aren’t enough of them either. So my third New Years resolution is to be a better man. I aspire to echo the bravery of our emergency services which we have seen in spades over this last year, to mimic the kindness of the 1.2 billion people who’s google search began with “how can I help…” and to honour those who have lost their lives this year (albeit unwillingly) to highlight the real problems facing our world today, so that their deaths can mean something, by being the change that makes a difference in peoples lives.

And finally, I would like to wish you all a Happy 2018 – I’ll speak to you all again next year!