So it’s 2014 already? When 2013 started I thought it would feel like the longest year of my life. As I may have mentioned (ahem!) I retired in September and as I was really looking forward to this I imagined that the months would drag until then. How wrong I was! It seems to have been a whirlwind all around me, and the year absolutely rocketed by. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m loving retirement – I was clearly born to be a gentleman of leisure! – and have been caught up in turning my rented flat into much more of a comfortable home now that I’ll be spending much more time here. Well, officially, anyway! Those of you who have been with me here for some time will know that I started this blog to share my experience of depression in the hope that it would help others, and I have to say that the dark days of 2011-12 seem a very long way away. Of course, I am still under the care of the health services and am likely to be on medication for a while yet, but I rarely think about my illness now. That has to be a good thing, right?
This is probably the last chance for me to post while I still have WordPress’ wonderful seasonal theme for my blog, complete with falling snow. So for New Year’s Day I thought I’d share with you a few songs that I think are right for this time of year, as well as leaving you with my hope for the year ahead. Although it isn’t perhaps the most seasonal of the songs, I chose as the title for this piece an early U2 song, if for no other reason than to show you Bono in his angelic youth phase, before he became a great world leader. It also happens to be today – clever, eh!
It wouldn’t feel right to write this without wishing you a ‘Happy New Year!!’ somewhere along the way. This seems like a good way to do it:
In the UK and, I believe, other parts of the world, the song Auld Lang Syne is associated with New Year. I’d like to include it here, but – with apologies to my Scots friends – I couldn’t possibly do that with some hairy-arsed bagpipe players involved. So here’s a new version, which I think is rather lovely. It’s by Mindy Smith and she put the video together after asking fans to send her pictures of “those WE LOVE and those WE WILL NEVER FORGET.” It tells the story well:
If you can watch that without a tear in your eye then you have a harder heart than mine!
The turn of a new year is always a time which encourages us to look back at what has happened and to think about what is to come. This Counting Crows track is in my view one of the best at conveying those feelings. As an added bonus, the video includes some of Courtney Cox’s finest ever acting work:
In the vein of that song, I too have spent some quiet time over the past few days thinking about where I was, where I am now and what lies ahead. Whilst I’m grateful to be so much better, I know of several people who have been, and still are, in difficult situations either physically or mentally, or both. This saddens me, as it makes me feel unable to help. I’ve been so well supported during and since my illness that I wish I could give something of that to people I am proud to call friends. I’m not in any way qualified to provide counselling or any other assistance, but I know I can help people by listening to them and sharing my experience with them. But I’m far from being unique in this. We all have something to offer others, especially when they may be afraid to ask for it. So my hope is that we can all think of someone who needs and deserves our love and support, even if they are unable to tell us that, and to do something about it. Hopefully we can then all look forward to a better year in 2014, no matter how good 2013 may have been for us.
Happy New Year. May it bring you peace, joy, love and fulfilment.