Well 2013 wasn't a great year. It was, really, the year of endings.
Death was a frequent visitor – my mother, cousin, uncle, as well as my sister's beautiful horse, excellent hen, her husband's aunt, and my niece's very favourite teacher who was killed in a car crash aged just 23. My own health wasn't too handy but, thankfully, is now much better. Overall, I have never looked forward to a new year as much as I have this one. It's easy to be despondent but, in the words of Nelson Mandela (another 2013 loss, not just to me this time, but to the world), part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. And this is what I intend to do.
So this year I will:
1. Remember the importance of family and friends. I couldn't and wouldn't be without them.
2. Keep following the sun, always look on the bright side. I'm quite good at this, but sometimes the load is so big that it's difficult.
3. Know that while all things come to an end, there are always new beginnings.
4. Keep writing. Writing can be a solace, but it's also something that takes you somewhere that's preferable to here, just for a while.
5. Listen to my body. While I long since gave up dairy and sugar, you cannot heal on a diet of wine and chips. This is a shame but it is true.
6. Read. Read, read, read, read, read. My, how I love books.
7. Be inspired. Reading other people's stories, both fiction and non-fiction, lifts me up and makes me think I can do whatever I want to do.
8. Do those things, whatever they may be. It's all very well having good intentions, but pointless if that is the way I leave it.
9. As well as those things I feel inspired to do, I will also do NEW things. And they will be exciting, too.
10. All this sounds far too earnest, so there must be foolishness: I will continue to be fan-girly about Tom Hiddleston, Cillian Murphy, and the Arctic Monkeys, among others; I will go to the theatre ALL the time; I will dance (very important); I will cook experimental recipes (I love cooking!); I will watch things like Marvel's Agents of Shield on TV.
So this will be my 2014. I intend to do all of this, and more. But most of all, I will be grateful, every second of every day.
Happy New Year!