I was with my mother and sister who were visiting me, and surrounded by friends and a magnificent fireworks display overhead when it started. As I sit here at the end – a bit enfeebled but recovering after a few weeks of illness – to reflect on a year gone by, I am astounded but how much of what filled the past twelve months, I was able to plan for, anticipate, hope for, dream of and believe in. And yet, not all dreams came true in 2013, some hopes were dashed and some of the deepest desires of the heart remained unfulfilled. Yet it had enough wonderful surprises, disappointments, challenges and moments of utter helplessness to make it all the more life-like rather than dream-like.
Looking back, I will remember the year that’s about to end for the wonderful people who autographed some of its most memorable days – the thoughtfulness of my family that remained so far away and yet so close, old friends and new who brought old memories alive and new ones to be recalled for years to come, teachers who taught as much about life as of the subject matter and whose example and friendship will always inspire me, classmates and housemates with whom to share ideas and laughter in just the right measure. Generous bosses and a great mix of colleagues made transitioning to a new role that much easier and rewarding, despite being forced to part with perhaps one of the most inspiring leaders and friends i have had the honour of working with. A new house, a new neighbourhood, a new bike and an old car to explore new routes and go on new adventures; things that by themselves could never make 2013 a great year, but made sure that it was a good one.
Perhaps one day many years from now, when the intricate details and memories of 2013 blur and become no longer distinguishable from any other year, the one thing I will remember it for will be as the year that taught me ‘gratitude’. For all the years I had lived in hope and anticipation, the year that is about to end has taught me to be thankful and grateful for all I have received and for all that I can dare to hope for. Most of all, I am thankful for the people – every individual with whom I was able to share a minute, a word or a thought. As tempted as I am to wish you all good wishes for the coming year, perhaps I am tempered enough to realise that we may not know what the coming year will bring. All I can wish for you – and for myself – is that we may all have enough love and gratitude to last another year, because if we do, I feel fairly confident that it will turn out to be a wonderful year!