(December 24- 31)

It’s the first day of 2019 as I write this, and this will be the last post for 2018. It will also be the last ‘diary style’ post that I do on this blog. I began this slightly crazy project exactly two years ago, with a vague idea in the back of my head that I should document my experiences during 2017. That instinct turned out, absurdly, to be right: 2017 ended up being a pretty crazy year.

Ending these diary posts at this point in my life brings a nice circularity to things. I started 2017 married to someone I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. That relationship ended a few short months into the year. Now, I end 2018 in a relationship with someone I met a few short months ago, and who I’m already certain I will be spending the rest of my life with.

But, through the course of the last year–and from these two years of journaling–what have I learned?

Perhaps the most important lesson is that things turn around. Balance will return if you’re patient and tenacious enough–and, most importantly, if you’re lucky enough. 2017 was tumultuous, to say the least. It wasn’t quite a downward spiral, but it was a time when my life was thrown up in the air and I didn’t necessarily end the year finding out how all of those pieces were all going to land.

2018, in contrast, felt more like the recovery. It was purposefully unambitious. Things ambled along steadily and securely. Life carried on. My family and I learned, together, that things could continue working perfectly well. The most important outcome is that my kids are happy, which is one of the best things I could ask for–that’s not just down to me; it’s taken both parents, the rest of the family, and a lot of friends to make that happen, and I’m grateful to everyone who’s had a part in that.

After the events of 2017, I was quite happy with having a relatively unspectacular 2017. For a time the biggest highlight was the Elderbeast getting into the Gifted & Talented program (and he ends this year having graduated from primary school, and ready to start his first year at high school). I did spend a lot of time reflecting on the end of my marriage and my unplanned single status. For the most part I found myself at peace with it all.

Sometime around the middle of the year a friend asked me if I was dating yet. That simple question unearthed a whole cacophony of conflicting thoughts. There was the very real possibility that I might have remained single for the rest of my life, and I was prepared to accept that. Then again, the one thing I was consistently missing was a sense of companionship. Above all else, I assumed I’d already had my shot, and that I had no chance of meeting someone who would be perfectly right for me. I assumed that if I ever did meet someone there would be some element of compromise, and maybe, if that was the case, then it simply wasn’t to be.

After a while, I stopped worrying about it all and figured things would happen if they were meant to happen.

And then I met someone. And she was absolutely perfect.

And that’s all you get about that on this blog 😉

Getting back on point, throughout all of this–the last two years–I’ve learned that journaling has been a big help to me, even when I’ve been at my most vague, or my most trivial. The act of writing all this crap down inevitably moved beyond any irrational need to share the minutiae of my life and has become an essential exercise for me. It’s become a chance to reflect on my recent past and a regular opportunity to clear the cobwebs with a bit of [almost] free writing. It’s a chance to get something written even when I don’t have a story in play.

For those reasons, I won’t be completely abandoning this blog or my journaling habits. One of my not-resolutions for 2019 is to focus a bit more on my writing–I wrote plenty during 2018, but with little corresponding effort towards getting anything published.

I also want to write more about writing than I have done to date; so my blog in 2019 will be some form of writing diary. I’ll probably keep up the watching/reading sections, but my posts will otherwise be an update on what I’ve been writing each week and will, hopefully, include some useful reflections and lessons learned for any other budding writers out there who happen to be reading.

Let’s see how that goes …