Wednesday, 31 December 2014

An unlamented year

It's been a bad year.

It's been a bad year for a lot of reasons. I needed a job; in January I took a job with a company with an office in Glasgow. The people I worked with there were good people, but the company is an evil one, and I felt profoundly tainted by my association with it.

When I took the job I'd hoped I would only need to work there a few months, but running a flat in Glasgow as well as my home turned out to be even more expensive than I expected and I did little more than break even; so I've been away from home a full year. My home is very important to me. I dislike crowded places, I dislike cities. I like having time to think, time to read and to write. I have spent a year on a cycle of eat, sleep, work, repeat; sleeping in my own bed no more three nights a week. This is not a life I want to lead.

I've also been ill, with a respiratory problem which left me very weak and meant that, through the whole of the summer, I was unable to cycle or get out into the hills.

It's been a year, also, in which I tried to build a relationship, and failed. The reasons we failed are complex, but one of them is that my house is too small to share. I realise that I don't want to work hard enough, long enough, to raise the money to build a bigger house; I realise that even if I did build a bigger house, I'm no longer particularly good at sharing one. So this was almost certainly my last live-in relationship.

These in themselves are reasons for it to have been a bad year. Is it shallow of me that my biggest reason is not something in my personal life, but something in the life of my country?

In 2014, Scotland could have voted to rise, and be a nation again.

We came very close; but we didn't.

I'm left wondering how many excess suicides there have been because we lost the Independence Referendum; on a darker thought, I wonder how many there would have been had we won.

I am, myself, now, mostly through grief and depression into anger. I will almost certainly not now live to Scotland independent. Independence is not in any case an end in itself. It is - it was always - the creation of a just and sustainable society which is the end. It would have been easier - it would have been a hell of a sight easier - with independence. But it isn't impossible and we have to try. For me, the next objective is land reform.

But I have never in my life been closer to suicide.

2015 promises to be better. I have a new job with a new company, which I can (and do) take pride in. A Sottish company, doing real engineering here in Scotland and selling it across the world; a company making renewable energy work more efficiently.

There will be a general election, and while the gross outcome of that election across the UK can only be bad, the detail of it could be positive and the change it could represent in Scottish politics could be extremely positive. Whatever the outcome, it will be extremely interesting.

My health is better, and shows every sign of being back to normal - modulo the increasingly apparent fact of becoming old. My income has increased and my outgoings promise to decrease quite sharply. I hope by the summer to be able to work less, and perhaps to have time and energy to write again.

In short, I face the new year with some hope; but this has been an unlamented year.


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