So that was 2011…

Looking back, 2011 was something of an epic year…
The spring saw me face a big challenge and pass – meaning that the summer involved moving house and the autumn included a new job and a new life as a trainee vicar. Big changes, but good ones.

I don’t do resolutions, but it is useful to look back on the year that’s ended and look ahead (positively) to the coming one. On Saturday morning I held a (somewhat epic) brunch at which my friend Becki asked the room two questions:
(i) What will you leave behind in 2011?
(ii) What will you take up in 2012?
I like that kind of an attitude to the progression of time. January is a good time to feel free of the things that may have made last year hard, or that we don’t want to taint this year; it’s also an ideal time to move in to new things. No, I’m not going to share my answers, but suffice to say that the friends in the room were affirming in their enthusiasm for them.

Counting the blessings of the past year is also a much more constructive way to look back. I was really touched to hear via Twitter that my vicar’s daughter had included me on her list of 2011 blessings – she and the rest of her family are definitely on mine! Thinking about it on New Year’s Day, these would have to be some of the others:

  • Vicar School friends (and Christmas Jumpers).
  • New colleagues and friends at my new church.
  • Staying in touch (and becoming better friends) with ex-colleagues and church people.
  • The Matroyshka House community. 
  • Living in central London. 
Then, of course, there are The Firsts. It’s now two years since I came up with the concept, and it’s one that’s connected with a lot of people. In fact, I discovered last week that my friend’s mum had used it as the basis for their family Christmas letter this year! I hope she won’t mind me quoting its opening paragraph:

Someone we know keeps a list of firsts in her life; from momentous, I never thought I’d do that occasions, to small events such as visiting a new coffee house or trying a new food. Anne jotted down a few of hers for 2011 and it is easy to remember the more significant events but not so easy to remember the smaller ones. However the recording of firsts has helped her realise how rich life can be in the big and the small. So in 2012 she has resolved to record every first, if the shrinking grey matter can remember if something is indeed a first, but does this matter if the experience is a positive one. Not all firsts are good, and neither are all firsts lasts. Oh dear getting deep now!

It has to be said that reading this has actually made me decide to keep going with the Firsts lists. Other people list every book they’ve read, presumably partly to keep track of what they’ve read (or do they just do it to look clever?), so my habit of tracking Firsts will just be my version of that. If it helps me realise how rich and diverse my life is, that can only be a good thing!

Predictably, my next post will be a 2011 Firsts review, once I’ve had chance to properly evaluate the 79 listed…

Happy new year people! May you leave behind all that you want to in 2011 and feel free to take up what 2012 offers you.

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