What Kind Of Roller-Coaster Was Your 2016?

My Father’s War Interview on SA FM PM Live show
12 Aug 2016
As the clock turns…
30 Dec 2016

photo by Mark Asthoff courtesy of Unsplashed

photo by Mark Asthoff courtesy of Unsplashed

Thanks to social media, it has been brought to my attention that 2016 was not a great year for many people. Never mind the global events to rock our world, but on even very individual levels, many people have shown a united dislike of this year. I find that amusing. Not that people have struggled but that most are placing the blame on a time period that marks a relatively arbitrary point in space on our planet’s orbit around the Sun. The year itself is merely a measure of our trajectory through time. When the clocks strike midnight in their respective time zones in just over a week’s time, nothing else changes except our mindsets.

The passing of one year into the next signifies a reboot for the majority. Energy is cleared and we are all ready to start afresh. Once you accept that it is ultimately a mindset change, you know that this is possible at any point in your life, at any time. At the point you realise that you’re not happy with your situation, you can make the choice to start changing it.

And sometimes all you need to change is your experience of it. You can have a fantastic time playing soccer (even if you lose), or camping in the Midlands (even if it rains) or riding a roller-coaster (no matter how many violent dips and turns). To be fair, it seems like the general consensus is that if the year 2016 was actually a roller-coaster, it was apparently one of the scarier ones ever created.

I personally enjoy roller-coaster rides. I love the weird feeling it gives my tummy. I love the rush of speed and the air whooshing past, tousling my hair and occasionally rattling my teeth. Sometimes the wind dries my eyes out, sometimes it irritates it enough to draw tears. My heart skips beats and my spleen wiggles about on the more hair-raising turns.

The adrenaline pumping through my blood stream doesn’t go amiss either.

I’m not a screamer though. My experience of most roller-coasters is to seemingly calmly watch the environment, often looking for the cameras so I can pull an appropriate face as we pass. The ride is pleasing and often over too soon. I’ve tried screaming in unison with everyone else and, honestly, it didn’t do much for me. In fact, once I even tried to have a conversation with my ride partner. She wasn’t interested for some reason. 😛

Every track has a few sections when the ride calms down momentarily. Then follows the nervous apprehension as we climb a particular high-rise, anticipation of the upcoming fall, tightening of the abs, clenching of the fists, holding of the breath, before gravity owns you and you realise that there’s nothing to do but give in and go with it.

And after the ride, most people, their hearts pumping hard, the faces flustered are thrilled, and, while not necessarily ready for an immediate second ride (which I usually am; those rides end waaaay to soon!), they will be standing in line soon enough again.

My experience of 2016 has been a lot like that, thrilling, exciting, tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, challenging, amazing, scary, lonely and full of life. It has been a very solitudal journey, very reflective, and very introspective. It was like being strapped into that roller-coaster seat, watching the screaming humans around me, unable to engage with them, left to my own devices and lost in my own experience.

Filled with challenges, dips, highs, fast moving months and some slower ones, this particular ride, this year, was a long one for me personally. So much has happened and changed and every month held some sort of adventure and new people flowing into my world.

It has been an intense journey and well worth the ticket price.

Can you say the same? I hope so.

Wishing you an amazing celebration of the old and welcoming of the new as you all move into the next stage of life.

May your next trip on this planet be ever more wonderful 😉