It’s been a while, I realise, since I said goodbye to a year with such fond regret as I will to 2011 in a week’s time. It has truly been a year of wonders.
A year of new experiences: bears and tapestry and Peru and Spanish and Somalia and walking on fire (no, seriously!). And of happy returns to known pleasures: family and friendship and falling in love.
A year of consistently sleeping my fill for the first time in a decade, and during my waking hours of satisfying my every desire of food, drink, company, place and entertainment until I can want for nothing. Of feeling in tune with my body for the first time I can honestly remember, and my body responding by eating up the Inca Trail like it hadn’t been sitting in front of a computer since its teens. (Admittedly, since Cusco there’s been a lot more sitting around, drinking and eating and not getting regular exercise… But what are new years for if not good resolutions?!)
It’s been a year of revelling in places: returning to the remembered beauties of south-west France, swooning before the high wild glories of the Andes, dipping into the pleasing otherness of Quebec, drinking in the sweet salt winds of the Cornwall of my childhood and the budding woods and rolling meadows of a middle English spring. And of delighting in people: renewing old friendships, taking time with those who matter most but who wouldn’t normally know it from my irregular and fleeting contact, and meeting new friends, mentors and inspirations – relearning the truth that, wherever you go, you find people to love.
In the last month of the dying year, my family lost a dear friend for whom a progressive disease had inexorably been closing off access to all the pleasures I’ve been delighting in in 2011. There’s a Steve-shaped hole in the world for his passing. But everything around that hole is the dearer for his having loved and enjoyed it to the last drop.
My cup flows over. All I can do is keep my hand steady so as not to spill any of it in the passage to the new year. Happy 2012!