Reflecting on 2017

2017 has definitely been a year of change for me, and in most cases, this has been change for the worse. At the start of the year, I was doing very well as a freelance writer, I had lots of close friends nearby who I visited very often and I had lots of money saved away for me to use for future plans. Now, as I write, my only source of income is a part time call centre job (and the lowest paid job I’ve ever had) and I’ve drifted away from about 90% of the friends who I always looked forward to meeting up with (despite my best efforts to maintain contact.) The last misfortune came in the form of an unexpected expense, which has essentially cleared away all of the money I had saved away – it feels, in many ways, that in terms of both my personal life and my professional life, I’ve lost everything that I had worked for over the last few years.

Having said that, 2017 wasn’t without its positives. In April, I was able to meet Mary McDonough and Michael Learned, two of the stars of The Waltons (one of my very favourite TV shows) and meeting an actor from that show has always been a goal of mine. Throughout the year, I’ve also been able to become good friends with someone who was initially just a friend of a friend and that is something which has proved to be emotionally rewarding. In November, I successfully completed NaNoWrMo for the second time (proving to myself that doing it in 2010 was not a fluke) and earlier this month I hosted a Christmas meal that many of my friends attended.

I know that a lot of people regard me as an optimist, some even going so far as to describe my optimism as my best feature and I do like to think of myself in that way too. But I do have to admit that I do sometimes grow tired of the way things are. It feels a bit like an endless cycle: I meet people, get comfortable in a job and become contented with the way things are. A year will pass, then circumstances will make it impossible to see my friends and I’ll have to leave the job for whatever reason. At my lowest points, I have to ask, what’s the point in doing any of this, over and over again? Each loss hurting a little more than the last.

But, and this is a very big but indeed, that is not my main outlook. That is just how I feel when I feel a bit low. It’s funny, because I wrote a similar blog post on the last day of 2013. I wrote that a good year always seemed to follow a bad year and vice versa, I ended it by saying that it had been a bad year and that I hoped 2014 was a good year. As it turns out, 2014 was a very good year! So I’ll end this post by saying that I hope 2018 will be a good year and I hope I’ll look back in future and see that I was right.

While I am not particularly happy with any aspect of my life at this moment in time, I can take comfort from the fact that it is always the positive memories which have the longest lasting impact. In a few years, once I have everything back on track again, I will remember all the good bits and the reasons for sadness will no longer be valid.

At the end of the day, bad times are a small price to pay for good times. Yes, it’s sad to lose a job, but it’s also a useful experience which will help you to get new jobs and, yes, it’s sad when you can’t see a friend anymore, but getting to be a part of somebody’s life is such a rewarding thing, that the amount of happiness it creates for you will always infinitely outweigh any sadness that comes from a parting of ways.

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