One of the benefits that comes with age (for some people at least), if the gift of realistic expectations. Having reached 51 years, I no longer harbour thoughts that each year will be a rollercoaster ride of excitement, mirth and personal gain. Nor do I count on the stars aligning so that I make my fortune and retire peacefully to the Cayman Islands, to live the life of a tax exile. If New Year’s Eve rolls round and no one has died, I’m not looking at being tried for murder and there’s still gin in the drinks cabinet, then I usually deem the previous twelve months an acceptable year. However, despite even these fairly lose and undemanding criteria I feel compelled to say that 2018 was bollocks and that I won’t be sad to see the back of it.
Both my parents have struggled with their health and personal well-being. The UK has continued to fracture socially, politically and economically as it embarks upon an act of national self-harm. Globally, international affairs continue to become more bellicose, crass and mean spirited. Yet for some reason, we’re supposed to forget all this at the stroke of midnight and participate in an act of national denial, and lie to each other that it’s all going to be great in 2019. However, humans as a species thrive on hope and I don’t want to be party to denying anyone such. So let’s see if I can muster up some from the depth of my soul and focus upon it to find some sort of positive message for the coming twelve months.
You don’t get to pick your family but you can choose your friends. Family can be loving, supportive and an integral part of your life. They can also be assholes, baggage and a never ending source of misery. Friends however are not thrust upon you by the capricious nature of genetics. They are a matter of choice. A friend is someone who knows all your flaws and has seen you when you’ve been as drunk as a sack and a total dick, yet they still keep coming back. Therefore, don’t take them for granted. Also trust them as they can be quite wise. And don’t bother your US friends when they spell words without the required “u”. It’s not their fault. Blame Henry Kissinger or Robert McNamara or someone.
It’s time to do that project or thing you keep telling people that you want to do. So you want to write that book, make your own muesli or provide Dachshunds with stilts? Then grasp the nettle and get going. If something is important you make time for it. No it’s not going to be easy. You may have to do extra work to finance your undertaking. You may have to cut some fun stuff out of your life to accommodate this project. But it’s the only way it’s going to happen. I believe there is wisdom to be found in Yoda’s words when he said “get off your lazy ass and do that shit you keep whining about, co’s I’m tired of your bullshit”. In twelve months’ time, if you get this matter sorted you’ll be pleased that you did. Furthermore you can bore other people about it and revel in your self-righteousness.
Don’t add further to the angry, confrontational and anti- intellectual malaise that pervades all discourse at present. Or put more simply, don’t be a dick as there’s more than enough of them at present. I appreciate that it’s hard not to be jaded and cynical at present and it’s tempting to jump on the “fuck you” bandwagon along with everyone else. But it really doesn’t solve anything and despite what the tabloids tell you, getting angry doesn’t make you feel better. It’s tough to remain polite, rational and dignified when second rate politicians and fifth rate thinkers such as John Redwood MP are given knighthoods but throwing your toys out of the pram just eventually leads to you turning into that which you revile the most. Count to ten (or ten thousand), stay cool and maintain your own personal moral high ground.
And that’s about it. I really can’t muster up any more positive thoughts than that. I guess as a codicil I’d add something about global warming, eating your greens and the fact that poached eggs on toast remains a cheap and easy meal that is really delicious. 2019 will certainly have its challenges and no mistake. But I’m still going to be here sharing the love (as I so often do) and offering encouragement. There should be another Contains Moderate Peril podcast out soon, you lucky people. So, happy New Year to you all of you. I look forward to reading all those blog posts about stuff you’re not going to do next year, despite the fact I’ve offered sound advice and support. Tread boldly and may your god go with you. If you’re agnostic or an atheist, then yay, Carl Sagan and all that. Okay, I’m off to pour myself another gin. See you in 2019.