A Good Year of Sorts
I suppose nothing underscores the fleeting, transient nature of life more than the turn of the year, the natural transition between one year and the next somehow being a trigger for reflection and stock taking. Time does have its tricks; in my experience I find that whilst time in the present can sometimes feel like a drag, time in retrospect always feels like it has sped by far too quickly.
For all the hope and energy that managing to drag myself through my church’s year end program engendered, when the elation of the moment subsided I faced 2016 with a significant degree of uncertainty. A few months earlier, I had switched jobs, the draw of an opportunity to move into the sort of technical role I had dreamed about since I got into my industry being too strong to ignore. I knew I wanted it, and knew I’d made a decent fist of it, what was uncertain was if the oil price and the seemingly unending town halls about removing cost from the business would let me end the year still in a job.
On a personal level, the thing with L had not progressed a jot in five months, leaving me in a place where I was caught in the middle of nowhere, between wanting to wrap everything up and waiting out the slump. Events, which came to a head in May, put me out of that misery for good, even though they left in their wake quite a few pieces to pick up. Not that my year up until that time had been an unmitigated disaster: I did manage to write a blog post for 100 consecutive days, the inspiration being the 100 days of Making project. I also did manage to make it to Nigeria for the first time in two years to catch up with my family; attending J’s wedding was a delightful bonus.
The death of the thing with L was a good thing, in retrospect. Not having to plan around anyone’s availability anymore – or walk on eggshells around them – meant that when summer came around, I was able to shoot off on a number of jaunts, ones which I chose to call my #NineFridaysOfSummer. The Caledonian Sleeper from Aberdeen to London, an extended weekend in Vienna, the Hillsong Europe Conference and loads of time touring castles with S made most of summer a breeze.
Most, except for that window of hell, bookended by the 19th of July and the 15th of August. That’s the one time of the year in which I feel the reality of loss and grieving most keenly. This year, those feelings were complicated by the decisions of a couple of fellow grievers, which threatened to cause a significant falling out. Nothing that hasn’t been ironed out already so I suppose I can chalk that all up as a learning experience, one that speaks to the weight of the burden of grief.
That weight was considerably eased by the almost magical joy of rediscovering running, and somehow finding a way to combine it with prayer. A quick google search shows I am hardly the first person to discover this. My one slight peeve though is how I managed to not stumble on this earlier.
The fourth quarter picked up – surviving and thriving in the new role I had trepidations about at the turn of the year, crossing off the key hurdle in my quest to reduce my dependency on my Nigerian passport and getting to a place where S and I felt like 2017-could-be-the-year were significant highlights. I’m still holding out for a pay rise that bucks the recent trends. Fingers crossed on that one though.
If I had to distil 2016 into its most essential moment, I would have to go for that day in July, sat at the O2 in the midst of changing, coloured lights and joining in as a few thousand people roared the chorus to the song What A Beautiful Name It Is. The joy – and makeup destroying tears (not mine but my friend Y’s) – that enveloped the room more than made up for everything else that happened or didn’t happen in 2016. That, and all the other things which did or didn’t happen, made it a good year of sorts. One can only be thankful and daringly hopeful that 2017’s lines fall in a far more pleasant place.