I have abandoned writing; I would say in favour of living, but really, only in favour of thinking about what I might write, right after I’ve finished binge watching some more junk on Netflix. This year’s longest running series I watched was Grimm, which was great escapism.
I am glad to have waved goodbye to 2017. It started off with the death of my grandmother, which was wholly expected at the age of 101, but still quite a final break with the only physical location I still retained from any part of my childhood. Her house was the only house I could go back to, and wander down the faded corridor thinking of my seven year old self. I could think how far I had come, or how much more there was to come. Now I suppose I’ve established my own life, and the rest of my reflections will increasingly only concern the progress my children make in life. I have made all the progress I ever will. Unless, obviously, I stop writing this blog and write that bestseller instead. That would be nice, being able to write something that connects with people. I always think of it as like having the ability to transfer to the page one of those conversations you have, where for no particularly good reason a connection is formed, and another person understands you as you are, or perhaps you see them as they are, and they realise it. It’s a strange moment, as it actually happens so rarely. A friend of mine who I can’t really read very well once said that he found it disconcerting talking to my sister, because she seemed to know his thoughts, so perhaps she is the one who should be writing the bestseller, instead of translating texts on GDPR for some Seattle based software company.
It was also the year my father died at 77, like so many other people did. George Romero also died later in the year at the same age, which I think he would have liked. There are in fact quite a lot of things he would have liked about his death, I just wish so much that I could sit and talk to him about them, to laugh about it in his usual morbid humour. The fact that I got pregnant on the eve of his funeral, and am due to give birth on Easter Monday, would absolutely crack him up. He’d be sitting there slapping his thigh, and would probably add, “Ach Gott, das muß doch nicht sein”.
He rang me in April, so worried about the operation. I was very worried I would cry, which would have been unhelpful, as I just wanted to reassure him that he was right about his view that dying was the least bad outcome if the operation went wrong. So I somewhat obsessively went and folded washing while cradling the phone on my shoulder. Oh, I do still wish he could have had a peaceful death. I cannot convince myself that bleeding to death alone in the back of an ambulance is peaceful, but who knows, maybe it goes so fast there is no time to think of anything. Maybe I will find out one day; maybe there is some place that people go where we can find some part of them again when we die. I can see why the afterlife is such a seductive idea.
World events also pretty much sucked, like the new year had brought a dark cloud over the world. But loads of great stuff happened too. Like, umm, some movies I liked:
Blade Runner: 2049 – ok I actually didn’t like this a whole lot, but…I looked forward to it!
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 – Also didn’t go wild about it, but my husband did, so we had a good night out
…and, errr, those are the only three movies from 2017 I actually watched, because of course children have pretty much set fire to sloping off to the movies.
But, anyway, great stuff happened. I went to Paris a lot. I got very, very little sleep. I was kind of successful at work. I saw almost nothing of my friends or even my extended family. Spent a lot of time in Berlin, and went on a totally awesome funeral trip to Rügen. Did 170 kmh in an Audi and loved the thrill, and I’m sure my father would have enjoyed it, as long as he didn’t start thinking too hard about the Audi and banging on about bankers and capitalism. If he’d been driving, he’d have just said it was ace.
Plus, went to my 20 year school reunion in Germany, and nothing at all had changed. I felt the same, and the people were all the same, only my interpretation had changed. The fact that they all knew our father (who hadn’t lived there in 18 years) had died a week before reminded me of just how small a town it was.
I went to a friends’ children’s birthday party in a pub that served pizzas in the beer garden, on a really sunny day in London, and a passing American jogger stopped me to ask where my shoes were from. It totally stoked my vanity, and I was really happy. It’s that simple, a bit of socialising, a bit of ego stroking.
Also, we went on a fairly uneventful (read: good if travelling with toddlers) holiday to Zakynthos, and on a very boring kids’ ski holiday to Chamonix. Oh and lots of funeral/admin/death trips to Germany.
So, next year, next year will be great. I will have a baby that will sleep all night, and will be ultra healthy, and will never get recurrent chest infections, and won’t have anything missing. And we will go on fabulous holidays, and go climbing all the time, be super fit, and see our friends, who will always have time for us. Trump will jack it in, and world peace will prevail like it never did in the history of humanity. Also, no one I know and love will die.