Some years, you get to December and you look back at the 12 months that have gone before and you wonder how the hell you’re still standing. This is one of those – and, weirdly, seems to have been for so many people. (Was Mercury in retrograde or something?)
I could list the things that went right, or the things that went wrong – but then I’d probably just start laughing, because sometimes it’s the only thing you can do. I fell, and I got up again and I fell again and got up again so many times that I’ve kind of lost count. But each time I landed on my face, I learned something – and in the end, I’ve wound up on my feet and (hopefully) wiser for it. For every time I’ve put my faith in the wrong place, I’ve also come across the opposite: the person who changes everything and everyone they encounter for the better. Those people, rare as they are, are worth celebrating if you’re lucky enough to find them – and in that, I’ve been immensely fortunate.
For all the gloom and doom and grey days, there have been bonfires. There have been starlit nights and the smell of sunshine on sand, laughter and woodsmoke and hot air balloons. For every downpour, there’s been dancing (more than once, in the downpour) and for every wrong turning, there’s been the discovery of something new. If we don’t take a risk now and then, we stay where we are, never changing.
So take risks.
Be the one who steps up. Be the one who helps someone else up when they fall. Trust people. Watch for shooting stars. Hope. Listen to church bells. Chase rainbows. Sing. Run in the rain. Don’t be the person sitting in by the fire, telling your grandchildren about the time you almost…
Don’t pick the flat wide road, the easy one. Pick the interesting one: the one with the mountains and the valleys and the crumbling cliff path – because when you get to the end of that one, you’ll be able to look back and see just how far you’ve travelled.
And in the meantime, there’s always this to close us out: one of my favourite tracks from one of my favourite albums I’ve heard this year, just for the sheer joy of it.
See you on the other side.