We made it.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it this far.
This year has taken its toll on almost everyone I know.
Somehow, this year feels like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye at the same time as it feels like it’s been never-ending.
I, in turn, feel like I’ve aged ten years in the span of a year. And as a testament to that, my temples are getting grey streaks.
Don’t worry, I’d much rather go grey than bald.
I’m changed. I’m not the same person I was a year ago.
A year ago I had just come out of my year-long beard/hair journey which saw me take on the appearance of Catweazle at the end—not a pretty sight.
A year ago we were living in Maidstone, Kent. In a small—and cosy—1-bedroom flat, with a communal garden and a recurring mice-problem.
A year ago I was working at Squiders, watching ducks swim by in the river next to my window.
A year ago, we and Amanda were talking about all of us moving in together after she had finished her year of working with the Red Cross.
A year ago, I was happy.
“The trouble is, you think you have time.” Buddha’s Little Instruction Book, by Jack Kornfield (1994)
Today I look more well-kempt and representable, having cut my hair to a more manageable length and trimmed the beard significantly.
Today, we’re living in Cambridge. In a 2-bedroom terraced house with our own little garden and an actual guest room—with an actual guest book, because I thought that would be fun!
Today, I’m working at Studio 24—after a hellish commute—with some amazing people that I already consider good friends and getting to work for nonprofit organisations and clients such as East Anglian Air Ambulance—where Prince William is a pilot—and London Transport Museum.
And I get to write articles such as Your Website Isn’t Accessible and It’s Costing You.
Today, Amanda isn’t here any more.
Today, I’m not happy.
But I’m not sad either.
I simply am.
Somehow, there’s something quite poignant about the fact that my position at Squiders was made redundant on the very same day Amanda died. And that I attended the interview for my new position at Studio 24 on the very same day as her funeral.
We look for meaning in things that have none. For reasons for things, because the idea that the universe just doesn’t care is terrifying.
But meaning, is what we make of it.
Nothing comes with its own meaning or reason. We take the giant shitty clusterfuck of a mess that is life and living and create our own purpose, our own meaning.
We are the ones that make it matter. We are the ones that make it count for something.
We give purpose to things that have none.
Life has always, and will always take you to places you never thought it would.
After that, life sort of leaves you to deal with the rest. Life, is a fickle fucking fecker like that.
This year, I have learnt that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I have learnt that I can and should rely on other people to be there for me, as much as I should be there for other people.
People are good. People try their best. And still fuck up.
We move on.
We take a deep breath and exhale. And then we do it again. And again.
Until we’re breathing again.
Give this coming year purpose. Make it count. Make it matter.
Respice Aspice et Spera, which translates to, “Lock backward, look forward and hope.”
Because hope is the last thing we can do, when everything else is gone.
And that’s exactly what I plan on doing.
Aspice et Spera.