Last year, as the last whisps of 2011 melted away and 2012 arrived, I remember feeling quite melancholy. It was a feeling that clung to me for weeks. And not without good reason. When I look back now, as I'm about to close the door on 2012 forever, I can see it's been a year dogged with ongoing issues, few resolutions and lots of goals left unachieved.
The second half of the year has been plagued with work issues, as my previous employer's contract came to an end and a new (incompetent) contractor came in to take over. There has been much anxiety in the build up to the transfer, which has manifested in people generally being unkind to each other. I've had to say goodbye to some great colleagues (and one very good friend who is bringing in the New Year in Australia). The final culmination of this has been mass redundancies and some really inappropriate and unfair actions by the new employer. This has been the single most stressful thing I have been through with any employer and I hope I never have to repeat anything similar in the future.
Our house is still on the market. It still hasn't sold. It's still causing a disproportionate amount of stress with dickish estate agents and a kitchen roof that continues to leak. We've missed out on a number of opportunities, the worst of which was a house with a turret. Even with the front of the house sinking, it was a bargain and it would have been a beautiful home. I fear I might always regret that as 'the one that got away'.
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However, 2012 has a few things worth remembering it for. I have waited for most of my life to see The Phantom of the Opera and I was not disappointed when Mum and I went to see it in May. It was spectacular and if I had been able to afford to see it again, I would have. I also saw Starlight Express this year. I've wanted to see it since I was about twelve so it's been a long wait.
May was a great month this year; as well as Phantom of the Opera at the Palace Theatre, Mum and I had a trip down to the Big Smoke so I could sing at the Royal Albert Hall with Sing Live and the Night of 1000 Voices. I love the choir. I love singing. And combining that with the trip and having Mum there was a real treat.
Mum, Steve and I holidayed in Cyprus in May as well. We lounged around the hotel pool and the hotel bar and the hotel restaurant and our room and didn't leave the hotel all week. It was almost perfect. But I really must stop eating milky and creamy things: My stomach can't take it!
In August Ann and I went into Manchester for one of those makeover days where they take photos. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and came away with a bunch of photos that I'm really pleased with. They actually make me look quite normal, and not strange or hideous. Although they do show I have a dent in my forehead. Investigations into the cause of the dent are ongoing. (I suspect Dad might've dropped me on my head as a child.)
One final highlight of the year has been Pinterest. Ah, what joy. And what agony. Pinterest inspired me to make some of my Christmas presents this year. Claire got a handmade bracelet that I was quite pleased with. My Dad received an iPad case made out of a recycled suit jacket. I gave my Mum a scrapbook of our wedding photos - it wasn't quite finished but I think she was really pleased to finally have a wedding album. Ann got a Memory Jar. And my in-laws... I made them a patchwork quilt, which I finished at 2.30am on Christmas Day. It turned out really well and I have a queue of people asking for me to make them one. So Pinterest has been a success in that it has lead me to achievements myself.
* * *Looking forward to 2013, I'll be graduating from the Open University, achieving my Literature degree. I'll also be going to see Wicked when it tours (another one of my favourite musicals ticked off the list) and I'm hoping to get to see a few more theatre productions this year too. I would love to see Avenue Q, although I'd be surprised if that opportunity rolls around this year. I'm really looking forward to the Les Miserables movie, and Sing Live's first concert of 2013 on the 3rd of Feb at the Bridgewater Hall.
I'm renewing my 2012 New Year's Resolution to read 12 books (I only managed 6, with 2 still on the go) but I think I might have to aim for 13 books as it's 2013.2013 will also see the first draft of the novel that I've started at least three times, and I'm determined to keep a diary. Writing has to be a focus of the year, if for no other reason than it's necessary for my degree, so I'm relaunching my writing blog tomorrow. I'm not setting a goal of blogging every day, but I want to make sure there is regular content, and if I'm writing everyday that should be easy... Should... Be... Easy. Famous last words.
I really want to spend a bit more time with friends this year; I feel like I've hardly seen Ann or Claire and I'd really like to meet up with some old friends that I haven't seen for a while. I'm already dreaming up a visit to Ally and Rich in Londonium, and maybe lunch or dinner out with Jo Jo from First Choice. And who knows what else I might manage to do.
So I'm making 2013 a year of friendship and achievement! 13 might be unlucky for some, but it's never steered me wrong. Hello 2013. Goodbye 2012.