Time Passed

It's 2012 now. I didn't do my usual end-of-year post to mark the transition. I started doing this a few years ago. I didn't intend to make a habit of it, but I make habits very easily, by accidentally doing the same thing over and over again, and so it became a habit. I thought about it this year, after we'd had our nice Christmas with family and I had eaten a lot of turkey and nibbled at the Christmas pudding and taken naps and baths and read so many books in a short space of time that I was getting them mixed up in my head and was feeling ready to get back to making things again. But everything seemed too small to bother writing about, and simultaneously too large to even comprehend, too large certainly to fit in a few paragraphs - "time passed, or maybe it didn't," as Geoff Dyer writes. Last year, while time was passing, or maybe not passing, I worked. I went to Scotland and wore espadrilles in the rain and they didn't dry out for weeks. We re-visited Wales, we re-visited New York. I left my job - "without one to go to!" as they say, biting their fingernails, but of course that was the point, to leave without having a clear sense of what came next. And I'm going have a book published this year, as a result of what happened last year when I had no clear sense of what comes next, and even so I still have no clear sense of what comes next, though that feels right somehow, that feels okay.

Anyway, instead of a chronological list of things we did last year, or things that happened to us, here's a random assortment of things I (think I) learned last year.

- Everything takes longer than I think it should. - Related: I'm nearly always at least ten minutes late. - I like stuff (clothes, clutter, knickknacks, bric-a-brac) a lot less than I thought I did. - Making food! Awesome! - But chopping things quickly? Still a struggle. - Being on the radio is fun! - I get annoyed by the internet. - But I'm also pretty good at shutting stuff off. I like leaving my mobile phone in a drawer upstairs and ignoring it. I do this on an almost daily basis, and often not deliberately. - Decisions: still difficult! - London isn't entirely evil. - Oxford can be a cruel city, too. But I still like living here. - Reading is necessary for a healthy mind and body. - So is swimming. - Walks, wilderness: also good. - Other people's advice doesn't really matter. - Except when it does. - But trying to get somewhere using someone else's route is the surest way to get nowhere at all. - I don't hate Christmas pudding as much as I thought I did.

I probably learned other things too, and I probably didn't really learn all of those things last year (I mean, decisions have always been difficult, and remind me about the third point next time I tell you how much I want a new pair of boots), but there you go: an assortment. That's all, an assortment.

p.s. The photo is from the walk we took on New Year's Eve - through the mist and the slippery hills in Cumbria, with some friends. Later we drank a lot of champagne and made little pigs out of lemons, pennies and matchsticks. It was nice.