Hogmanay in Hyderabad
with our best friend Anil, who leaves today
It is almost unbelievable to me that I type these words on the last, the last ever, day of 2016. Of a year that profoundly changed the whole world, in so many ways. I wanted to write this post for a few reasons. The first is that I have apparently published over a hundred pieces of writing this year, with nearly a hundred more sitting unfinished in my drafts folder, and I didn't want to end this year having published an odd-number of posts. I'm funny about things like that.
The other reason is a simple one. There's a feeling going around everyone right now that 2016 was a bad year. One we can't wait to be rid of. In many ways, I understand why- a lot of totally shite things happened in 2016, as they have every year since the dawn of existence. So I am writing this post to remind myself that 2016 was a fundamentally good year for me. This is the year I turned eighteen-years-old, finished high-school, moved to India, was first published as a writer, became a volunteer teacher and voted in crucial elections and referendums. During those events, it hasn't always been easy. It hasn't all gone according to plan. I left behind my family, stood in front of classes and felt wholly unprepared, seen things I never wanted to see, got many a rejection letter for my writing and saw my country vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump become president.
Yet this idea of 2016 being bad leaves little room for the hope that 2017 will be better. It's not as if we will wake up tomorrow and Trump won't be the president elect, or David Bowie and Alan Rickman will suddenly not-be-dead and Britain will be in the EU again. We have no choice but to face 2017 with bravery, courage and acceptance of all that 2016 brought us. I pray it will be a good year for all of us, not a perfect one, but a good one.
Over the last year I have taken strides to be a different person – a better person. I began 2016 with the simplest of goals: be kind, share love, appreciate more. Yet even the simplest goals have their difficult moments. That is what I learned from this year: it doesn’t matter if something works out in the end. All that matters is how hard we tried, how much we loved, and the stories we write in the process.
I have struggled through great life lessons this year. I have recognised my flaws and worked to fix them, knowing that once they are fixed new ones will appear. Life is funny like that. I have seen my impatience and have found peace. I have worked to see all my goals as equally important. I have embraced a mindset of love, for that is what connects one person to another: the desire for it, and the capacity to share it.
As each year passes I realise more and more why I am who I am. I am a storyteller, and I want nothing more than to share the world with others in the way I see it. We each see so differently, and beautifully, and it is a shame not to share in those experiences. And so I tell stories, with my words, and I hope each time a new one blooms that someone will want to be a part of it.
So I move into the new year with another story in my mind. New goals in mind, although I’ll leave that for a different blog post. For today, my story is about a Scottish girl in India on Hogmanay, with absolutely no plans, who has realised that the greatest gift one can receive is that of presence. For in the moment, no matter how small, there are great stories to be told.
Happy New Year!!