It’s time once again to write up my thoughts on the year – it doesn’t seem long ago at all that I wrote Reflecting on 2022, but there you go. Last year, I started by saying I couldn’t help but feel exceedingly luckily because I had everything I ever really wanted from life. Pretty much the whole year had gone perfectly, until, of course, my friend Jon died which put a sombre note on its end. Still, it gave me comfort to look back on a year of happy experiences with good friends that preceded it.
Jon’s funeral was one of the first things I did this year, and to some extent, I feel that that set the tone for the year ahead. Besides that, my housefriend Eilidh has been very unlucky with her health this year, and while I’m not going to go into detail about something that is personal to her, it is hard to see someone you love suffering and missing out on things because of their health. Then my workplace also made a whole bunch of people redundant (though surprisingly, not me), and at home we’ve had ongoing problems with various household appliances which have been rather frustrating to deal with for various reasons. It may sound like a small handful of things, but together they take their toll.
Nonetheless, there have also been lots of positive experiences this year, and I’m sure that in years to come, it will be these memories that I most strongly associate with the year 2023 – in particular, this year has seen my first trip overseas. In June, I went to Portugal with my friends Rory, Neus, Malena, Lorena, Lorette, Isabella, and Victoria. Although, the twist is, that they mostly weren’t my friends before then. Rory is one of my oldest and very best friends, Neus is his partner who I had met and got on well with a handful of times before going, and Malena is a friend of there’s I had met twice before and thought “Gosh, she’s cool, I hope we can become friends” but the rest were people I’d never met or heard of in any capacity before and the thought of spending so much time in close quarters with people I didn’t know was slightly daunting.
In the end, I decided to go because I’ve never had a bad time when Rory is in the mix, and it turns out I had absolutely nothing to be concerned about. I’ll make new friends most years, but it’s rare to get the opportunity to befriend so many new people in such a lovely way and not only was this trip easily the highlight of the year, but one of the highlights of my entire life. I wrote a blog post about the emotional peak of that trip, and gosh, that’s a memory that’s only going to get more magical as time goes by and I become more and more nostalgic for it.
Also, while not everything has been perfect with my work, two aspects have been particularly pleasing. After going most of 2022 without a manager, I finally got one towards the start of this year and she has been a delight to work with. While I did want a manager again, I was wary of it – someone awful could have ruined the whole job for me. Fortunately, she made the job even better and I have a very friendly relationship with her which is quite different to what I’ve had with other managers. I also got a promotion, which is cool. Oh, and I was quoted in the trailer for Lil Gator Game, which was surreal.
Aside from going overseas and the plethora of things that I did in Portugal (including losing a pair of glasses to the sea for the first time), this year has also had a number of milestones for me – I went bowling for the first time, I got called up on stage and asked to make speech to a group of people for the first time, I went axe-throwing for the first time, and I even watched a live orchestra perform for the first time (thanks to Eilidh treating me to a special screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol – what a beautiful and kind soul she is).
What also marks the passage of time for me is that my friends Sarah and Edward will soon be having a baby. It’s curious because they aren’t the first of my friends to have a baby, but it somehow feels a lot more emotional for me this time. I’m very happy for them, and it feels very moving for me to see them moving through the different stages of life. I also believe whole-heartedly that the two of them would make absolutely fantastic parents. Perhaps I’ve just become more emphatic since the last time I someone I know had a child, I don’t know, but I do know that the news moved me very deeply.
There have been lots of lovely occurrences throughout the year – I’ve had a couple of visits to Thermae Bath Spa (once with Ben, once with my friends Hayley and Tasha), taken a fun-filled trip to a board game cafe with Kat and Leo, had a mini cinema-like viewing of The Room with Ben, Chloe, Liam, Tom, Sarah, Edward, and Kristen (which was a fantastic birthday treat from Ben), had a trip round an art gallery with Edward, and had countless other dinners and visits with people, visited an exciting Bristol market with Eilidh, had a special birthday trip to Bournemouth with Chloe and Liam, and there’s probably more I’ve forgotten too – countless dinners with people to be sure.
While it could have been a rubbish year, it wasn’t thanks to all of the following people: Eilidh, Rory, Stacey, Sarah, Edward, Chloe, Liam, Tom, Neus, Malena, Lorena, Lorette, Isabella, Victoria, Lauren, Ben, Hayley, Tasha, Richard, Davey, Laura, George, Emilie, Nick, Christian, Jess, Amy, Stephanie, Kat, Leo, Elissa, Mairi, Oscar, Elliott, Christy, Lydia, Tonicha, Lin, Dalfino, Helen, David, Christopher, Jane, Steve, Sam, Kristen, and my mother. At some point or another, you’ve all made me happy this year, and what more could a person want? So as much as I would call this a harder year, I still count myself very lucky to have so many good people in my life.