We’re now into the second week of 2013. Most years, January is to December is to November and November is to October, and so on. This year, though, is palpably different. There are huge differences in my life now, compared to a year since. I’m coming into the year with a little less optimism, a little less spring in my step. 2012 was a year of facing up to the real truth, and oh man was it scary. The reality of….well, reality, I suppose. It came and didn’t so much take me out of my comfort zone as blow my comfort zone to kingdom come.
There has been a troublesome trend recently to begin a new year with a larger than strictly necessary dose of reality. This year, I spent the lead up to Christmas trying to come to terms with the loss of my Grandmother (Nan Kay, my Mum’s Mum). When my Dadcu passed on in April, it was hard to accept because he had been, perhaps not in good health, but certainly in better spirits than he’d been in for some time. In my memories, he has been unwell since I knew him, but so vital and full of life. Never was there a man with such a cheeky grin when slipping me £5 and saying “Now don’t tell your Grandmother!”.
Then, inevitably, some time later my Nan would catch me and do the exact same thing, “don’t tell Dadcu,” she’d say with a chuckle. I think they both knew, but it was more fun that way. Dadcu was a fisherman and a Navy man. He had flags on his coffin and they played The Last Post as he burned. My Nan Kay, who always knew what to do, took him out to sea one last time, on the lifeboat that he was an avid supporter of. Shortly after that, she suffered what at the time appeared to be a stroke, but was actually misdiagnosed [name of rare brain problem that I can't remember]. Nothing has ever pushed me closer to moving back to Wales, but I didn’t. I sent her cards, not as often as I should have done but it was all I could manage.
The most heart-breaking part of it all was that she seemed to be improving for a while. Then it all changed, the progress she’d made fell away and left her nude and unprotected. We’ll never know if she was in pain after that, or if she was still the same person inside. We will never be able to tell whether it was harder for her or for my Mum. Nan Kay lived until December. I can only hope she’s resting now. She never really got the hang of resting.
It’s difficult to do so, but looking beyond that I learned a lot in 2012. I learned a lot of harsh truths about friendships and how fragile they can be. I learned what it’s like to work full time in an environment that is really foreign to me (an office), earning enough to pay the bills but almost nothing beyond, and the value of staying because the job, the company and the other people there are all great. I learned that no matter how keen I am about them, stupid ideas remain stupid ideas. I learned that no, not everything IS fair in love and war. I learned a healthy new fury at the current government. I learned that you can’t sit about all day and eat junk food and maintain a size 8-10 figure. I learned I don’t trust people as much as I thought I did. I learned that there’s a proper medical term for the type of insomnia I’ve had for the last few years. Much more besides.
I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I do take the start of the year as an opportunity to assess myself and often, to give myself a good talking to. This year, I was sterner than usual. I may not be starting the new year happy, but I’m fierce. I may not be convinced but I’m determined. I may not be perfect, but dammit I’ve got to keep trying to be.