My Favourite Year

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s been both the best and worst of years for me. The best, in that I’ve gone a whole 12 months without setting foot in a pub or imbibing a drop of alcohol. The worst in that I’ve spent more time on my own and I’ve missed the camaraderie between good friends. It’s taken me a while, but now I recognise the friends that matter and those that don’t. Next year, I intend to spend more time in the company of genuine friends and to continue avoiding insincere fuckers like an aged relative at Christmas.

Let me expand on that point.

2018 finds me at peace with myself and who I am. I no longer feel the need to prove anything to anyone (if I ever did in the first place). I’ve got used to not living vicariously and copying the behaviour or adopting the personality of someone else e.g. Liam Gallagher or John Lennon. I’ve grown accustomed to spending time alone and have accepted, equally, that it’s perfectly reasonable to not want to be alone. As much as I hate to admit it, I do like to be around people sometimes. Most folk are all right … in small measures. 2018 has been the year that I’m content with being myself and people can take me as I am or not at all. But I’ve realised my trust in certain people in recent years has been completely misguided and I’ve been taken for a fool.

Never again.

I will no loner allow myself to be picked up by others when they feel like it and then dropped at whim. Certain people I thought of a genuine, caring friends have proved to be anything but. Those people are long gone and nowadays, I can count on one hand those who I consider to be trustworthy and highly valued chums (both near and far).

I’m happy being single for the first time in years – another bonus of my newfound ‘self-awareness’, if you can call it that. I’m too selfish and make for a truly terrible boyfriend or husband. Yeah, that’s right. I was married once. Shocker, eh? Another story for another time, perhaps.

I’m afraid relationships are just too much bother. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the company of women very much. I find the fairer sex completely fascinating and I have been in love on several occasions (within the confines of a relationship) over the years. But in every single instance, it has led to an unmitigated disaster of some kind on my part. I lost faith in love and romance some time ago.

This year, I survived reviews into both of my sickness benefits by the DWP and came out the other side relatively unscathed. I’ve learned to live with illness (diabetes and fibromyalgia, amongst others) and to count my blessings. Some days are very difficult to cope with, but I know it could have been so much worse. I live in a beautiful house with all mod cons (including a brand spanking new turntable system) and want for nothing. My mood swings are diminishing and I’m optimistic for 2019, where I intend to apply myself to photography and other creative pursuits.

This year, and despite vowing never to do so, I started a Twitter account and I’ve encountered some lovely people, several of whom have really been there for me in troubled times. I hope to meet up with one or two of them in person at some point next year. My Facebook account looks likely to remain inactive and, save for using the Messenger service, I doubt I’ll be returning to it anytime soon. One less distraction has made life considerably easier and I strongly recommend anyone to give FB a rest for a while, if not permanently (following the Cambridge Analytica controversy).

Have I learned anything else?

I think I’ve learned to take the rough with the smooth and to live in the moment. Not every day is going to a good one, but that’s OK. When I’m feeling down, I try to think back to three/four years ago, when I was so terribly unwell. I’m in the here and now and have plenty to be grateful for.

So, here’s to another twelve months of life’s ups and downs, highs and lows, trials and tribulations.

I really wouldn’t have it any other way.