Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Another year ends

The end of the third calendar year where I can remember what I was doing on every single day draws close. As many people are probably saying, it seems hard to believe 2014 is nearly over. For me, it is not just the approach of the new year that is a shock, but that the year still seems so fresh.

Today, I recalled the events of 29 and 30 December 2013, as I have done once a month. I can shut my eyes and drop through the image pinned to my mental calendar and feel I am there again. The same is true for those dates in 2012 and 2011. The difference of perception is not so much due to the separation in time, but the events that have passed, including engaging in this process. I and my loved ones have changed through ageing and experiences.

I can label these years of remembering with themes, which help me as much as the years to place the memories. There are different themese - or developing stories. Here are some:

2012 was the year we spent most of the time in a flat we loved (after a tricky start) and I began to run more regularly and entered my first 5 km races. The year ended with our niece being diagnosed with cancer.

2013 became the year of our niece's illness and separation from my wife for months at a time as she cared for her, until she passed away towards the end of the year. It was the year I joined a running club, ran 5 km most Saturday's in the park and moved up to 10 km races.

2014 almost seems too new to settle on themes. It is the year of my wife and her sister's family trying to come to terms with the loss of a young life, though that is not yet over, and the fall of my mother-in-law at the end of the year has not helped. My running progress continues. After an injury - a pulled muscle - drove me to a physiotherapist for professional assessment of my posture, together with reading and experimentation, I have reduced my 5 km and 10 km times significantly, as well as run my fist half marathons.

This process has become part of my daily life. I have adapted it so it does not become too much of a distraction. This won't be sustainable if I have to spend a long time lost in the review process.

There are many gains. I not only remember where I was, but use memory tags to capture other information such as names, birthdays, restaurants to visit again, names of birds and trees, and so on. This process also gives me balance and perspective.

All things pass. I know like never before that a challenging day ahead will become a memory. I can choose what I carry with me and may prefer to make my memory tag the sights of a new town rather than focusing on the difficult meeting I had there.

A pleasurable time is something to relish; at the time or in retrospect, I have often said to myself, 'This is one of the best days of my life'. Sitting with my wife looking across a lake as the sunset after visiting a Christmas market at the beginning of December, I said to her too, 'This is a moment to remember'.

My mental calendar for 2015 is currently clear for when I step onto it later this week - except for some dates with events scheduled - such as running my first marathon in April.

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