The following writing may turn self-indulgent and the very opposite to the self-effacing nature I usually live my life by. No apologies just a polite notice.
So far I have had a very Family themed Christmas, and then last night we had a family-reunion type party with those who we sometimes don't get to see outside of the usual formal occasions that happen once or twice a year. By and large we all get on well, there are the standard family relationship dramas playing themselves out but no-one ever starts throwing punches, yet.
What struck me last night is how we celebrate new life - as a family we had two babies born in 2012 and at least another two on the way in 2013. We are not ashamed to get down on the floor and crawl around playing with toys, the youngest are not put away to amuse themselves - we all interact together.
At the same time, we have lost family this year and we never forget that. This was the first Christmas where a couple of big personalities have been absent and were sorely missed but it is not our habit to dwell on death. I suppose as farming families we get exposed to the now very Disney term of 'Circle of Life' quicker than most, also having a large family means there is always someone at a different stage of their life who we know.
This somehow sits differently to my regular day to day life. Katherine and I have an excellent family life in our own little house but outside of that it can feel quite lonely. Our friends are spread far and wide, and we all suffer from the modern disease of thinking internet interaction is a replacement for face to face contact. Also as we all get more responsibilities in our lives it gets harder to organise regular meetings. On the work side of things a couple of happenings have served as a reminder of who my friends really are and my riding has developed a bit more of a solo theme, as well as suffering in regularity due to some injuries.
This all can add up to a slight feeling of being alone and lost - especially when the weather turns and I feel trapped in the house. Like I said at the start, living in a modest fashion isn't the done thing these days, so my achievements can feel belittled just by being exposed to the grand plans of those around me.
So in the spirit of New Year and as a reminder of 2012, here is my positive reminder of the best things I have done this year.
Obviously the best thing I did this year (and maybe my whole life) was to get married to Katherine in June. It took a while but I'm now completely used to wearing my titanium wedding ring.
Getting married means having a Stag Do. For mine I got to shoot a shotgun for the first time and then a week later some of us went on a (quite hard) bike ride.
Also a wedding means you get a honeymoon. San Francisco and New York for a month.
That Bridge and The Park.
I became a Godfather to my Cousin's son Isaac, we had a few little travels around the UK and I relearnt a few skills I'd forgotten about;
I got to ride a lot and where I wanted rather than to anyone else's schedules.
Finally, I got a small addition that hopefully reminds me of Good times, who I am and who I want to remain.