One of my favourite quotes of all time if from King Lear, it is delivered by Edgar in Act 5 scene 3, “The weight of this sad time we must obey. Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.”
Since the very first moment I read it, almost 20 years ago, this quote has stayed in my head. There is something wonderfully true and sincere and just downright, well…right. And given the last few years, it seems that there is no time more apt.
The thing is that, when you get to the end of the year, the world of blogging is full of earnest blogs, by good people telling you how much they’ve achieved, how blessed they are and how much they’ve contributed.
I’m in awe, you’re all clearly amazing, you make me proud.
So, let me tell you my story…..this year hasn’t been amazing. But, compared to that of many people, it hasn’t been awful.
Like a lot of you, I’ve spent the year trying not to drown. Now admittedly, my water is shallower than most, but you can drown in an inch of water. Most of the UK, most of the world has been trying just to cope, and I admit to being no different to them. I haven’t changed the world, I haven’t added value, I haven’t had an amazing insight. I’ve survived. And in a way, I’m extremely proud to say so.
This year, I’ve let people down, I’ve not been at my kid’s special occasions, the concerts, the plays, the sports days as much as I would have liked. I’ve not been able to see my friends and I’ve pulled out of things at the last moment. I’ve been more of a traditional male than I would ever have thought, relying on my wife to keep things going when I couldn’t.
I’ve not looked after my health in the way that I should have done. I haven’t checked out those niggling health problems, I’ve drunk too much and I haven’t exercised when I could have done. I feel sleep deprived beyond compare.
At work, I’ve been secretive because I’ve had to be. I’ve not been able to include people in things that I’m doing for understandable reasons. Regardless, this has contradicted with everything that I believe and hold dear and has struck hard into my moral fibre and my personal resolve.
This year, I’ve felt more out of control than I have done for decades, I’ve depended on my survival instincts and my reflexes to keep me going. This hasn’t been a “roller coaster” of a year, it has been a “black ice drive” of a year. I’ve got through, that is all I can tell you.
I’m indebted to the loved ones that surround me, many of whom I have let down. The people who have accepted my indifference, my moods, my unreliable behaviour. I’m indebted to my teams who have been beyond compare in their loyalty and endeavour.
I’m indebted and apologetic to my family, the people I hold most closest and whose love I have abused. The times when I haven’t been present, the moments that I will never get to live again, the kisses that I never offered and the hugs that I didn’t feel I deserved.
I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m not looking for excuses. I’m just saying how it’s been, both for me and for a whole lot of people out there. When we are honest about how things are, then we can start to truly support one another.
Life isn’t a competition to demonstrate who is the happiest, it is a journey best accompanied by a dose of reality. That way, you truly enjoy the special moments when they come….however few and far between.