Here we are, New Citeaux's first 'year in review' post.
There's a lot to digest for 2015. In many ways, it's been both a very good year and a very trying year. One might even consider it to be life in a nutshell, no?
It's been another year without seeing the girls, and frankly I feel further away from them than ever. This is not a good thing. In 2016 I'm going to make a point of writing to them every week that I'm away from them. They should never have reason to think that their Daddy doesn't think about them.
The year kicked off, of course, with five months of unemployment. You learn a lot from those times. I'll never look down my nose at anyone on Centrelink again. It's not great to be unemployed long term and stop looking for work, but now I can understand how people can get utterly jaded of the system and think "I'll just send off a crappy CV and covering letter: I'm not going to get the job anyway so what does it matter?" I hadn't really grasped just how demoralising it is.
I also learned that I'm tougher than I thought I can be. I can lob up and do hard labouring under crummy conditions and keep a smile on my face, even when I'm fed up: just hold your tongue and keep an eye on the clock (or the sun, depending on what brings the day to a close).
My word, what a lot of new skills were gained this year! Overwhelmingly through SES of course: chainsaw, general rescue, rooftop safety, flood and storm damage, boat crew and road crash rescue all leap to mind, and I know that's not a complete list. People warned me that SES can take over your life. I didn't expect to be so entirely OK with that. And I didn't expect to find generally giving a damn so rewarding either. A goal for 2016 is to sign up new members for each of the SES, the Blood Bank, and the Red Cross.
I was surprised to find this year that art matters much more to me that I thought it did. A very good friend and I were talking about "what would you take to a desert island". I was trying to be honest and found myself coming up with a list that included (or that in hindsight would have included) -
- Three books, being Under the Sun: The letters of Bruce Chatwin, Albert Camus' Lyrical and Critical Essays and Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon.
- A picture of The Starving of Saqqara
- Paper and pens.
- Music (probably Durufle's Requiem and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue)
- A couple of photos and pictures of paintings (among them, A Woman Out Shopping with Her Pet Rabbit, Santa Monica, California and Lady with an Ermine)
On that note, readers who are so inclined might like to check out the Arts Party. I'm not a member, and wouldn't be on board with their whole program, but they do seem like they'd bring an interesting perspective to politics
Image from here.
Regular readers will have heard me blither about religion a bit here. I think that writing about that sort of thing has taught me quite a bit, and arguing with people taught me a bit more (I learned that once an argument has become circular, it's almost impossible to get it out of that pattern).
Running and fitness have been as big a part of my life as ever this year, and my weight is now down to about 71 kgs (from a starting weight of 89 kilos). I achieved my primary distance target (Houston to Clinton, CT) and secondary target (South Portland, Me), but I'm about 100 miles from my tertiary target of Kenduskeag, Me. I need to figure out my challenge for 2016!
And for 2016?I need to find a permanent job (for one thing, my current gig is only till April). Sadly the job market up here is still pretty dire and I think I may have to move away. I'm not fussed as to distance: once the girls left, I kind of became a sojourner anyway. I have a constant feeling of my feet touching the ground lightly wherever I am.
I want to see the girls this year. A third year away from them is unthinkable.
And I want to keep developing personally in the direction that I've been heading this year. I have a hard time explaining quite what that direction is, but I know for a fact I'm a much better and more interesting person than I was 12 months ago. If that doesn't speak well for 2015, I don't know what does.
Happy new year everyone!