And so, because I'm still here, I've written my annual round up of 2012 – that year that, um, was.
2012 has been a hard year for me, with many changes and pressures from all sorts of angles. If I could sum up the last twelve months in three words I'd probably go with these: tiredness, illness and busy-ness! That's not to say it's all doom and gloom. I've actually had some great times, it's just that I've had to experience them through something of a zombified fug. Oh, and I'm not saying 'woe is me' or anything. I know plenty of people who've had a harder twelve months that yours truly, so please don't think I'm complaining because I'm not. I'm just, you know, telling it like it is.
The most obvious thing to mention is the birth of No. 2 son, Edward. Unpredictably, he is very different from his older brother and so for us going from one to two has been big adjustment in a lot of ways. For the first few weeks he ate, cried and slept (as the little sprogs do). It was OK for a while, but as the weeks dragged on it got more and more exhausting. Ed has, so far, not been a great sleeper like his bigger brother was. Wifey has only had one night of 6 hours sleep. Other than that, the longest stretch has been 4 hours – and that's since April. I've been fortunate to have a bit more sleep, but not enough to feel fully normal so I can't say I'm my usual self at present. Admittedly things are slowly improving and Ed is beginning to get to grips with this wonderful thing called sleep. It has, however, been, eight months of pseudo-torture. Saying that, I must make the obligatory gushing comments about how cute Ed is and how proud I am of being a dad etc. etc. which is all true but being so knackered all the time don't half take the shine of things.
Anyway, to continue the moaning thread, I have another subject to tackle - illness!
Yes, not only have I suffered sleep deprivation on a hallucinatory scale, but plague and pestilence have darkened our doors and it has not been fun. For the first part of the year I was fine, but when the sleep deprivation thing kicked in I think my usually reliable immune system decided to give up. I have had numerous colds, flus, coughs and some weird thing that felt like a kidney infection but turned out to be a virus that rendered me virtually immobile for several days that even now I am still experiencing the after effects (albeit extremely mildly). Even though the actual time spent being ill is far less than being 'okay', the unusual frequency has clouded my view of the past year.
Right – that's enough moaning! What else have I got to say about the year?
Well, work has been the usual rollercoaster ride of uncertainty, chaos and fun but I am quietly confident about the next twelve months. We started employing three youngsters (well, they're under 25 which is young to me) thanks to some government funding which has helped massively. This time last year, being the eternal pessimist, I had my doubts about the future but I feel the complete opposite now about things. January through to April are likely to be extremely painful financially but I do think that the company has a good chance of pulling through and doing reasonably well by the autumn.
Faithwise, I have found 2012 to be a year of frustrated stagnation. Spending quality time with God has proven highly elusive and I don't feel like I've moved forward in my faith at all. This is annoying because I know that there is so much more I can learn about myself and God if only I put in the time. Not only that, a stagnant faith can veer toward no faith at all – which is slightly worrying.
On a positive note, I feel that God has been challenging me about how I handle situations, encouraging me to learn to 'chill out' a bit more. I've found that for almost every challenging situation I've found myself in, a solution has come along soon enough and that everything was fine. Panicking doesn't solve things any quicker or easier, and usually a sense of humour wards off any sense of despair and hopelessness.
Also, we had a great time in Bluestone, West Wales for our holiday back in July. The weather wasn't brilliant, but there was plenty to keep us amused and have a decent break. The weather did, however, make us think long and hard about going abroad in 2013 – which we will be doing (hurrah!).
So, what am I looking forward to in 2013?
Well, assuming my hunch is correct, I'm looking forward to things going well at work (no doubt there will be plenty of challenges which is handy given what I said above). I also expect we'll be buying a new car at some point. Our current vehicle has served us well but is beginning to cost us lots in upkeep and I fear it will get worse the more we use it. How we're going to pay for it ... well, that's an interesting thought. Our kitchen will need a new ceiling (ulp!), thanks to a leak I discovered just before Christmas. It will be a good week of disruption but worth it in the long run. Lastly, we have booked a holiday in Western France in the summer so can't wait for that (hopefully we'll actually get to see some sunshine...).
I don't have any resolutions as such but hope that God will help me to mature as a person in 2013, becoming a better dad, husband, friend, relative and work colleague (no mean feat, that!).
I just need to remember not to take things toooo seriously.
Happy New Year everyone!