I know there’s still a month of it to go, but it’s probably safe to say that 2016 won’t be up there as many people’s favourite year. For me, along with the global scale sad and scary stuff we’ve all watched unfold on the news and all around us, there’s been the heartache of seeing several people very dear to my heart lose their loved ones this year and a huge amount of upheaval and worry.
And yet…I cannot bring myself to write off 2016 as a horror. I’ve been inspired by seeing many friends both in real life and online working so hard to push back the darkness of negativity through kindness, campaigning or just plain trying to be positive. Yes, there’s anger and fear but there are also people who had grown complacent who now find, and want to show, that they care about the way our world is run.
Then there’s all that’s happened to our little family this year. What could easily have been a tornado sweeping destructively through our lives seems to be turning into something more akin to the storm that landed Dorothy in Oz. The children are ridiculously happy in their new school, we’re closer to more of our family and friends (and will hopefully soon have more room to welcome the more distantly placed ones when they visit) and I’ve been pushed into doing what I probably never would have dared were it not for the enforced move- working full time as a knit designer.
It sounds like such a simple decision- carry on with a stressful teaching job or explore the creative path you’ve dreamed about for years. However, I am risk-averse and not particularly self-confident, so the idea was as terrifying as it was beguiling. It still is. What has helped immensely is that at every turn I found I had people cheering me on. As well as family and friends, there were people I only knew through the often-maligned world of social media, telling me to go for it. These have included many whose talent and achievements I am in great admiration of, who would have been well within their rights to metaphorically pat me on the head and say ‘very nice, dear, but don’t give up your day job’ or just plain ignore me.They didn’t, and for that I am so very grateful. Much of the news in 2016 might have suggested otherwise, but the fact is that there are many, many good people in the world and that is something to hold onto.
All of which brings me round to this morning, when I sat in a cafe with a new friend, drinking tea, eating cake for breakfast, laughing a lot and putting together this new website. She was helping me because she knows more about writing websites than I do. Sometime soon I’m going to teach her to knit in the round and work decreases so she can knit the hat that she wants. This, it seems, is my life now and it isn’t anything like the life I imagined I was going to have back in December 2015. So 2016, you may have had more than your fair share of ugly moments, but you definitely have some redeeming features.