THE NEW YEAR

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If you are reading this, then congratulations, you’ve made it through one of the most dismal years to date.

You’re a survivor, a hero, a cockroach of the highest order, if you will.

(Although, saying that, the clock hasn’t quite struck twelve yet, so perhaps I should be a little more cautious about what I say…)

I think that even if you aren’t normally the type of person to spend the last few days of each year reflecting on the preceding twelve months, you have probably made an exception this December because let’s be honest, 2016 has been a hectic one.

On a personal level, it has been a memorable year. Emotional – packed full of change, celebration and exciting news. Epic – from moving cities and starting a new job in a different industry to friendship groups shifting and changing. And sad – a combination of bad news and broken relationships aplenty.

On a public level, it has been an insane one. The deaths of some of our most treasured icons and idols have left us feeling at a loss; the wars that continue to threaten our world are maddening; the outcome of the US election is laughable; the murder of Jo Cox is heartbreaking; the shooting in Orlando and the Nice attacks are frightening and Brexit is, well, Brexit. I mean, I could go on, but do you really want me to? I think we are all quite clear on exactly what went wrong this year – you don’t need me to reel off each disappointment one last time. After all, we’re supposed to be celebrating our departure from this foul state of affairs in a few hours, so let’s look forwards shall we?

Although it might not be time to forgive the wrong-doings of the past year, I think it might be about time we forgot (or at least put them aside for a while) as we enter a new chapter. I know I’ve had enough of talking about how shit it has been; it is making me feel sluggish, lazy and a bit defeatist. I’m sick of expecting to wake up to bad news. I don’t want to grow immune to sadness and loss. I refuse to let negativity become the norm. Besides, it’s almost insulting for us to sulk so much about what an awful year it’s been when people have it far worse each and every day of their lives and still continue to smile.

So, with 2017 – a brand new, sparkling year of hope – almost upon us, it’s about time we took some responsibility for what is happening. Feel hard done by? Shout about it. Upset about something in the news? Don’t pick up your phone and frantically type out 140 characters hoping to make a difference, actually get out there and do something about it.

2016, after berating you for long enough, I would actually like to thank you. Thank you for being the busiest year yet. For distracting me from what was going on around me by not letting my feet touch the ground with weddings, parties and trips (perhaps you knew I didn’t like change?) and thank you for making me feel so deflated for so long that I feel more driven than ever to succeed.

2017, although we are all very much looking forward to meeting you at midnight, I ask you to be kind to us. We’re all a little fragile from what came before you and we’re all a little nervous about next year, so please understand that you won’t be meeting us at our best tonight. It’s unlikely that we will be working the room; we will probably be very drunk, looking a little dishevelled and hugging our loved ones tight at midnight – but bear with us, tomorrow is a new day and we can start off on a better note then.

So, everybody: here’s to making it through one of the most trying of years. I hope the next twelve months bring you love, light and happiness. Or at the very least, fewer deaths and less bad decisions.

Have a good one tonight and be forever grateful for the things you do have.

Happy New Year.

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