Another year end blog post! One of the things you get from writing a (semi) regularly updated blog is that you get to reflect on the things you were thinking about, talking about and worried about at this time last year. You are really given a sense of perspective because the events that you were writing about remain fresher on the page than they do in your memory, and the things that you were doing yourself are inextricably linked to those memories.
I'm really quite pleased with the way that 2011 has gone. I have a new job, a new girlfriend, have met lots of new and interesting people. I have become closer to and learned new things about the people I already knew, while other people have moved away from me as they pursue the next chapter in their own stories elsewhere. I have been to Egypt. I have written the first 50,000 words of a novel and met some wonderful people whose own books will knock mine out of the park.
Memorably, 2011 has seen a desire for equality and democracy grip the world. We have seen uprisings, upheaval, political instability and a clarion call for fairness and justice. A lot of lives have been lost in the pursuit of the simple human rights that we in the UK take for granted, and these are rights that we, with our freedoms, must continue to campaign for others to have.
A new year should bring the promise of a clean slate and accompanying optimism with it. However, in the context of the world in which we live, we face a year ahead under a cloud. Austerity bites, and the pound in your pocket will buy less in the coming year in real terms than it did in the last. Our nation is politically stagnant and we are in dire need of good ideas and brave actions.
The wonderful thing about Britain is that it remains big on heart and character. We can still be proud of our culture and our resourcefulness. Hard times call for courage and inventiveness, and as I look around at the people I know and work alongside, I know that the challenges we face can be overcome.
I achieved last year's goals of travelling outside Europe and finding a new love, but I never did buy a camera and take up photography. It remains on the list of things I want to do. As with last year, I have set myself three goals for next year to try and help me on my way.
1) Lose some weight. Yes, I know, it's a New Year's resolution staple, but it's a cliche for a reason. If I get any bigger, I'll be visible from space and I'm not having that. So my goal is to be at or under 13 stone 10lbs in weight on 1 Jan 2013.
2) Finish my book. Note that that says finish, not get published or write a bestseller (I might do those things in 2013.) This should be the easiest of all goals. I already have 55,000 words of a firsr draft that I wrote in 28 days, so actually getting the words onto paper is the easy bit. Generating characters that don't feel contrived and having a storyline that gets and keeps your interest is a little harder...but that's something for a second draft.
3) Pay off my personal debt. God, these are aiming a bit low this year...but it needs to be done so I can start enjoying myself again. I'm glad David Cameron took the bit out of his speech about getting people to pay off their credit cards. Otherwise I'd feel like I was being told off by a Tory.
What are your plans for 2012?