There's so much I'd like to talk about this year, but I'm big enough and ugly enough to realise that some things just can't be discussed in a public forum; not if you want to have a better 2010.
2009 has been dominated, for me, by two things - the deaths of many friends and acquaintances and my own miserably bad health.
Death visited no less than 5 times; four times it struck people who were close to me and the 5th time it struck someone who was close to people I felt close to. The oldest of these was 56; the youngest 42. As I type this, another long time acquaintance of mine and good friend of my brother-in-law, is fighting just to be able to see a glimmer of 2010. That's the problem when you get older, people around you shuffle off; but I sort of expected that to happen when I was about 70 (and be one of the first so I didn't have to put up with all the others), not before I marked even my 50th year.
Obviously, self-pity has been big on my agenda this last year. I started the year with a really bad cold... in fact, if you look at my 2009 desk diary, you'd be hard pressed not to make a case for me being put down.
The weird thing was that from about March to August, I could well have been transported back to the 1980s, a time where my memories are so fragmented (from all the drugs!) that I'm not totally sure I was there. I actually went to work through March, April and half of May before everything just got on top of me. I think, actually I'm convinced, that if Therese hadn't suggested I go home on the day I finally went off sick, I probably would have cracked up, broken down and fallen apart... It was, in fact, the drugs that were causing it. Yeah, the constant pain was a bummer, but the uber-strong painkillers I was prescribed actually fucked me up considerably more - hence not being able to remember much from that period - apart from the emotionally charged moments.
This blog covered a lot of the pain my shoulder gave me; the hassles and the frustration and with hindsight, I have to say, I could do with never revisiting a period like that ever again. I think I summed it best up when a colleague said, with an element of disdain in his/her voice, 'but you've had the whole summer off!' and I replied, "Tell you what. I'll swap you your summer for mine, right now - no strings attached!'
Of course, I now doubt that it was all 100% successful, but I also have to take into consideration that I also have arthritis in my shoulders; so I can't really expect it ever to be 'as right as rain' again.
Like I said, there are elements of my life that are just not for repeating here; but the hassles with work seemed to get resolved, eventually and I go into 2010 with a lot of enthusiasm and a little bit of trepidation - my new project needs to succeed.
I got fucked about a lot by friends this year. I ended up giving money to some of them - lending is just too stupid a term to use when you know damn well that the person you're 'lending' the money to has no way on earth of actually paying it back. I witnessed other friends willingly exchange their happiness for commercial and materialistic wants; which, I have to say, really made me question the journey that human nature is taking in the 21st century.
I got used. I got abused. I got threatened. I got attacked (albeit by a friendly dog, but I did still almost break my nose). I got insulted. I got a new car. I had my ego massaged. I had some fucking awesome sex and learned how to be really crap at poker. I had my integrity questioned... actually, that was one of the few things I didn't have happen... I made some new friends, I remained alienated from some old friends (and as time flies, I see no bad thing in this any longer) and I identified a human being that I would gladly like to see suffer for the rest of his life - a life that would have to be long, so he could suffer for longer than your average cuntbag.
But the year, to be fair, has been dominated by ill health and a year that I'd like to forget. I said, I kicked off 2009 with a stinking cold; I'm hurtling out of the year with a stinking cold. The kind of cold that leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. On December the 18th, I woke up with a really snotty nostril - singular - so blocked, I couldn't breathe through it. It stayed like this until the following Saturday when it opened like the floodgates of a dam. By the Tuesday it had sunk down to my chest, leaving my nostrils free to breathe again, but not my lungs. By Christmas Eve, I was hacking, coughing and had a splitting headache. Yet, by Bank Holiday Monday my chest was clearing and my throat was now red raw. It seems that for 10 days my cold couldn't decide on a plan of assault, so it just threw some feelers out. This morning, I believe the results of the experiment were processed and it was decided that I should NOW have all of the symptoms at once, rather than in handy little bite sized chunks.
So, I'm writing this with snot dripping from the end of my nose, a raging sore throat, a chesty cough, a stinking headache and I'm cold! I fucking hate this!!!
I'm not about to make an New Year's resolutions, but I am seriously considering taking a break from smoking for a month or two; just to repair some of the damage. The worst thing about the chest infection has been the obvious mirror image of what I'll be like - every day - by the time I'm 65, if I don't do something to improve my health. I'm sure that some wag will show some correlation between my arthritis and bone problems to my smoking; but the fact I've had FOUR colds in a 12 month period, suggests to me that I'm going to be the first to die if we have a massive flu pandemic...
If health was the motif for 2009, then my lack of achievement in 2009 has been its understudy. I was off work for 3½ months and all I seemed to do during that time was play Texas Hold'em, Farkle or Scrabble. Because I couldn't sit at a keyboard for long, nothing got done. I didn't write; I didn't imagine; I didn't do much at all. It's far easier to sit around and feel sorry for yourself than it is to try and do something; I failed, because I didn't really try.
Now, the end is near and 2009 faces the final curtain. I've had some pretty shitty years in the last 11; deaths of family members, the advent of arthritis, upheavals and major life changing events; but overall 2009 will probably be the nadir of bad...
That is until 2010; when England don't win the World Cup; Liverpool scrape into 4th place, breaking the hearts of Spurs, Man City and Villa fans; the Tories will be back in power; the council taxes will go through the roof, the weather will be shit again; friends or family will die or become seriously ill. 2010 offers so much, but will probably only deliver a percentage of goodness, the rest will be sheer misery.
Happy? New Year!