It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…
Weirdly. Dickens wasn’t writing about 2016.
For much of the world, 2016 was pretty terrible and there isn’t much promise of 2017 being better. And yet, just because everything isn’t awesome I’ve been trying to remind myself that everything isn’t awful. 2016 was fast, at times it was furious and exhausting, and at others it was exhilarating and wild.
These are my highlights of my year:
- I visited four continents – Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas (Central) – three of them for work, which is a ridiculous privilege and a huge joy. I got to meet some amazing people who are doing great work and put my world into perspective.
- I climbed a volcano and tobogganed down it, I haggled in markets in Kathmandu and Ouagadougou, and I ate some seriously good food in Provence. I walked 25 miles around the Isle of Man on a blistering hot day in June, and climbed up and down Table Mountain in a gusting wind in December.
- I got to work on two projects at work that really made my brain fizz, and challenged me and made me think new things and start doing bits of my life in different ways, and I’m hugely grateful to the colleagues who gave them to me in the first place and then said terribly nice things about them afterwards.
- I was also given an interim promotion at work, which was at least as terrifying as it was exciting. There’s nothing like feeling like you’re flying by the seat of your pants to make you feel simultaneously alive and like going on holiday for a very long time. Nobody died and nobody quit, so I’m calling it coming out on the postive side of the scale.
- I spent the summer at the Proms, on a gallery season ticket, which I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. I got adopted by a motley crew of classical music geeks, and learned that I really, really like Mahler now – and that staying up late to listen to choral plainsong is always a good idea.
- I also watched three Chekhov plays in 12 hours and didn’t die (which is more than can be said for several significant characters in the plays). It was my first Chekhov, and I liked it a lot.
- The year in western politics was ghastly, but at least I got to stand / sit / drink gin through them with brilliant people who are clearly going to help me stay sane through the depressing nonsense that 2017 is clearly going to bring.
- I got voted on to the PCC at church, which doesn’t sound like a highlight I know, but I really wanted to get a little more invovled in my church community this year and this opened a door to that.
- Lots of wonderful people came for lunches and dinners and short stays, and hung out and helped me make my crazy house into a home. And I got my garden done up so that 2017 can be the year of barbecues without falling through rotten decking…
- I got asked to be a godmother to two of my dearest friends’ little girl. She’s spectacular, and I’m ridiculously proud to have been asked.