That’s what people are saying, the worst year ever. Obviously highly subjective but I understand this to be a view formed by many because of the number of ‘celebrity’ deaths, the awful cock up that was (and still is, and probably forever shall be) Brexit, Donald Trump becoming President-elect of the USA and the awful events in the Middle East.
Well apparently, the number of celebrity deaths has indeed been an increase on 2015, by about 30%. Celebrity in this case being defined by whether or not the recently deceased person had a pre-written BBC obituary. Which probably excluded Prince and George Michael just on their age and definitely excluded David Gest. So it’s not really an accurate reflection. But, in the interests of apples and apples, this BBC list has been increasing year on year for at least 5 years. What was unusual in 2016 was that many more deaths occurred during the first 4 months of the year than the same period the previous year. That sort of set the perception. We are going to have to get used to ‘celebrity’ deaths it seems, because there’s simply more ‘celebrity’ around now than there was 50 years ago.
Brexit was a massive shock for Remainers like me. I continue to believe this country was duped by the referendum, being asked to take responsibility for an ill informed concept and at the mercy of a badly run campaign. Badly run on both sides. Trump being elected was another massive shock but I don’t understand American politics and, rightly or wrongly, I feel detached enough to not worry about it on a daily basis. Ditto problems and enormous human tragedy in the Middle East.
So, now that I have cleared my conscience somewhat of the problems of world politics and religion, I can concentrate on what this blog is about, which is getting positive things from everyday life as I know it. On this basis I can safely say that 2016 has been one of the best ever. They say things come in threes and I have got three clear winners! There have been many other little triumphs and liberations, the letting go of past concerns and nerve shredders, but I just want to concentrate on the nice, big, warm glowing ones.
In order of excitement and as it happens, in chronological order too, March saw the birth of my first grandchild. This little girl has brought such joy and pleasure to all of us. I just can’t believe how cute and funny and lovable she is. I love being with her. She makes me laugh and I make her laugh. She is in fact ‘lush’. The feelings I have for her are so strong they remind me of the feelings I had for her father when he was a baby. An overwhelming urge to protect and guide and make sure she is happy. I am truly a very lucky granny!
The second thing happened later in the year but was the culmination of 5 years of living with the knowledge that I have had cancer. I was effectively given the all-clear by way of a final annual mammogram that was declared ‘entirely satisfactory’. I had not quite recognised the enormous weight of that diagnosis and the feeling of it being lifted was much more emotional than I expected. I am under no illusion that I am immune from any other episodes, either with cancer or any other serious illness, just because I have been cleared of this one. But it is very liberating to think that I am normal again right now.
The third thing only really sorted itself out just before Christmas. This was the opportunity to work permanently in an organisation I had been ‘temping’ for since April. I knew I liked the look of the organisation when I was doing my background reading and research prior to an interview. I liked the website, I especially liked the remit and I had heard very good things about the whole organisation. The good old word of mouth, never fails. I liked the people who interviewed me. I felt they ‘got’ me and I felt that I ‘got’ them too. I liked the offices, I liked the location. It was all good. Ticking all my boxes. I was delighted to be offered the role. It wasn’t until I actually started that I realised just how much I liked them and the culture in the place. My contract was originally until mid-November and I was delighted to be offered an extension until end December. So it was the best Christmas present ever to be offered the role permanently.
I am a small company girl I think. I’ve done it all during my working life, big companies and little ones. Private, public and voluntary sector. I was self employed for nearly 2 years too once. I hated that. Not enough security for my liking. I ended up having to take one of my clients to the small claims court to get my money. I got it but it was a complete ball ache. Despite some success it does always look like a bit of a blip on your CV too. If you are sitting in front of a potential ‘on the payroll’ employer in an interview situation, then something’s gone wrong.
No, I like the smaller company, especially one that values its staff and what they are all there to do. One that recognises the longer term, supports learning and development, even for one who’s getting a wee bit long in the tooth like me. Makes me feel I still have something to offer, that as one little part of a big team, that team is getting to where they want to be. Making a difference to people’s lives.
So it’s a very satisfying end to a very satisfying year for me. I feel calm and content. At peace. Patient and yet excited by the prospect of the years to come. Happy with my place in the big picture. Ready to learn more, to help others, to have fun, to rest and to enjoy the little things. To enjoy watching my granddaughter grow up. No high octane, bucket list challenges for me!! Just the small matter of going up to Cumbria with my sister for my birthday so that we can both gallop along the beach on some beautiful Friesians.
But for me, speaking purely personally, as far as celebrity losses are concerned, it’s Bowie’s death I feel the most sadness about.