As this year draws to a close, I thought it might be interesting to reflect on the past twelve months.
Firstly, I just wanted to briefly comment on this site. If you’ve ever visited before you’ll know it was a place where I could write (complain) about football, my life, and um, well, more football. It was self-absorbed and dull. With all my free-time, I decided to relaunch the site and tow it towards a lighter, more diverse and all-round better path.
I’m the sort of introspective bastard that will frequently compare my life now to a year earlier. When I look back now though, things are not that different and yet so much has happened. I’m still doing things that are usually done by a man three times my age (embarking on countryside walks, doing cultural shit) but I’ve found someone who likes doing those things too, so now we do them together.
I returned to my post as popcorn sweeper in between summertime visits to Warwickshire. Not only have I met someone to do old-person stuff with, but I now have three places to do it too (Sussex & Dorset too). This year we’ve explored the Cotswold, the South Downs and the New Forest. I’ll write some separate articles on these trips at some point. Interestingly, and rather morbidly, I’ve seen more famous people’s graves than I ever have before.
As well as starting a new relationship, I failed the Shorthand unit in my Journalism course. Despite passing all of my other units, that was probably one of the low-points of the year. You see, if you choose to fail one unit (like I smartly did), make sure it’s not shorthand, because it’s the one you can’t continue to your second year without. A mixture of genuine struggle with the unit and failure to prepare means that I am now studying two hours a week for an entire year, just to pass this unit and continue my studies. Luckily, all my friends on the course did the same as me, and yet I haven’t seen any coincidence in that?
With so much free time I decided to take on a part-time job. I started at HMV, which in theory should’ve been my perfect job. It wasn’t. I left after just three weeks. In that time I worked six days a week and I didn’t write one word of shorthand.
I’ve tried to stay productive since September. After a year of “hey you know what would be a good idea” and “you know what we should do”, my friends and I amalgamated and created a new website dedicated to our collective adoration of football. We were concerned that our journalistic skills wouldn’t be put into practice for a whole year, and didn’t want to be rusty going into a hectic second year. The site is going well and we have big plans to develop it in the new year.
My family have had a really challenging year, my brothers in particular. Living two hours away is difficult when you just want to rush home and support them, but you know that sometimes people just need time to deal with their own shit. It made me realise the importance of New Year’s Eve for some people, despite the fact it’s never been something I’ve cared for. When the clock strikes midnight, that’s it, a clean slate, and it’s just what you need.
Looking at the year generally, for everyone, it’s been a pretty miserable year. The events that stand out the most are perhaps the most tragic. Most would probably look at the monstrous killings in Paris in November. Personally I look back to August and the plane that crashed during the Shoreham Air Show. As the incident happened less than a mile away from my house, it deeply affected me and everyone in my area. Something that happened to me last week made me think about the whole situation again.
I was on another enjoyable, albeit windy walk in the middle of nowhere. And I mean nowhere. We were nosing around the local church when we found a table with scattered notes on them. Each note was written by a member of the community, they were messages to God. It was incredibly sad. Some had asked for their Mother’s health, others had asked him to take care of lost relatives. One message said, “Please pray for all the victims of the Shoreham Air Crash, and their friends and family”. I froze. To think, someone in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles away, when asked if they could send one message to God, thought of those people close to me. I was sad for a second before I realised how wonderful it it was. It reaffirmed my faith, perhaps not in religion, but certainly in people.
I understand that this wistful account of 2015 might seem like an annual egotistical whinge, but I promise you it’s not, or at least it wasn’t intended to be that. New year? Yes. New me? No. Not really anyway. Is 2016 “my year”? Probably not, since I don’t really know what that means. All I can say with absolute certainty is that I’m excited for this year, and whatever it brings. Happy New Year.