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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Tough, Tumultuous, Semi-Successful and Quite A Lot Of Fun

Brexit.

Let's get it out of the way.  Don't worry, I won't spend much time talking politics, this blog is all about the self-defecating narcissism, after all.

I summed it up perfectly on the morning when I woke up.  A victory for lies.  A victory for xenophobia.  A victory for racism.  Or something like that.

This year has seen the general feel of the country, and the wider western world, turn against the values of freedom, liberty, tolerance and respect that I hold so dear.  It's almost acceptable to be racist once more.  It feels in a general context that nastiness has swept the nation, and the western hemisphere.

But despite Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, Putin, Assad, Orban, Grillo, Wilders, Erdogan, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and fucking Nigel Farage, there remains hope.  The general unpleasant atmosphere and rise of populist, nationalist and outright racist views makes it a tough outlook - but the world does continue to be a better place overall.

Less people dying in conflict, less dying from malnutrition, improvements in life expectancy, more countries democratising, vast improvements in technology, more young people in education, more women in education - you name it - there is a lot of good news around if you seek.  Let's just hope it doesn't get reversed through this period of unpleasant selfishness we have entered.

My year hasn't exactly been easy.  In fact it has been pretty damn tough at times.

It started with notice of redundancy.  Not that I cared about my job but I knew I wasn't ready to be a web developer.  Though I did care about my job, and worked with some wonderful people that could make me smile no matter how miserable the job, office...that fucking boiling hot office, and most of the customers were.  Oh sorry, did I ask you to pay on time?

Uncertainty ruled.  But sometimes worries and troubles can be a force for good, and I try to channel them as such.  I set myself a strict study plan, sometimes getting a little stressed if I hadn't done my hours - I remember being quite upset with myself when I left my Surface charger on the train to Hull, which meant I was not going to be able to do the required 6 hours of studying left on my weekly target.  I didn't know quite how insignificant this disaster was going to be compared with something that unfolded later in the year.

I don't really know how to broach that subject.  A handful of you know what I went through this year, most of you don't.  Well, assuming I have more than 6 readers of this post, it will be most.  Maybe I told a few more than 6 when drunk.  Someone very close to me contracted cancer.  I had the kind of blase semi-confident attitude that I normally do that everything would work out fine, as everything normally does work out fine.  But it wasn't as straight-forward as it should have been for someone fitter and arguably healthier than myself.

Of course, it did work out "fine" (still a shit outcome but much preferable than death), and 6 months later said person is pretty much back to normal.  But it could have been a very, very different outcome.  If you are reading, I hope I haven't said too much - let me know and I'll amend.

I remain lucky.  Others not so.  A few close friends have lost loved ones this year, and may I take this opportunity to say that my thoughts are with you.

Now, back to Brexit.

Only joking.  One thing it has made me realise is that I have to live my life and make effort to fulfill my dreams.  Although I knew that and things were in train anyway before the news.

You could say August was quite the month of upheaval, the cancer thing, moving house, moving city, changing job, changing career.  I was emotionally exhausted by time I went to Ibiza.

Which was fucking great.  I had the perfect person to go to Ibiza with in Martin, and the holiday was the perfect mix of messiness, sunshine, culture, beaches and looking at backsides.


It wasn't the only break away, as I also went to Bucharest in Romania with the ever-delightful Alena (Ali to you) which was a slight eye-opener being the poorest country that I had ever visited, by some way.  Even poorer than Hull - City Of Culture 2017.  Make sure you put Hull on your to-do list next year.

There were lots of good times during the year - roast dinners, birthdays, parties, occasional club nights or simple beers down the pub.  Thanks to everyone that joined me, from my sister, to Alena, Martin, Al, Rosa, Zag, JP, Ben, Karen, Elisa, Dave, Bod, Khristine, Ashley, Iain, Carrie, Tommy, Ellie, Swen, Shaun, Emma, Josie, Silvia, Michael, Ali...I'm asking for trouble aren't I as someone is going to turn around now and say "what about me?".  All of you, ok?  I love you all.  Even if you voted Brexit.

Many special events - being at Wembley to see Hull City AFC promoted again, going to watch the rugby league cup final with my dad - who insisted after the 5th or 6th defeat at Wembley that he would never live to see Hull FC win at Wembley.  We won.  Lord's with my Dad was pretty special too - we are in the ballot for this coming year.

I loved going to watch the Shakespeare in Reading - how many years was I threatening to go there?  I had a really nice day in the picturesque village of Bibury (the day after Brexit).  I had a lot of fun writing my roast dinner reviews, and sometimes eating the roast dinners - though I did get dumped by Get Reading early in the year.  Oh and definitely not forgetting my visit to Parliament - I have the best sister.

I'm struggling for my segue into moving to London.  I should have done it earlier.  Not just the segue but the actual move.  For 11 years I threatened to move to London.  And finally I did it - and wow was it super-exciting at first.  I had a whole week off where I didn't do any studying and I just enjoyed my freedom to walk around the parks and streets of London, just getting off on the buzz of the place.

And I moved to London for my first web developer role.  Which didn't work out.  Fantastic at first, actually coding for a living and having a grateful employer.  But that I didn't fully learn PHP/Wordpress in 2 months was my downfall (not that it was possible to do so).  I don't know whether to be grateful for the opportunity as I know so much more than I did back in August, or be pissed off that I didn't get the training and support that I expected.

So now I'm sat here in London in another tough situation.  No money coming in except benefits and I still don't know what housing benefit I'll get if any.  But it isn't just the financial side of unemployment, but the emotional side too - the loneliness mainly.

I definitely used to be lonely.  I'm not sure if I am now - I have created quite a character for myself so I can normally keep myself amused.  That said, if unemployment goes on too long, then sitting here every day by myself may drive me insane.  No, I'm totally normal right now.  Not even the tiniest loco.

It shouldn't go on too long.  I should get a job reasonably within the next couple of months but who knows?

It's been a strange year overall.  I could easily write it off as a shit year but that really gives prominence to the bad things that have happened, all of which were out of my control (has someone taken back control?!).

However I'd like to view it as a very imperfectly good year.  Sure, its been tough.  My beliefs have been shat on, I've fallen out of love with my country and I've gone through arguably the most difficult period of my adult life.

Yet there has been a lot of fun and more importantly, I have actually achieved.  I have moved to London.  I have changed career.  I escaped Bracknell.  The main items on my agenda have a big bloody tick next to them.

So, with a lot of buts, I have to conclude that this year has actually been a good year.  Mostly down to me - and partly down to you too.  Thanks x