It is New Year’s Eve and as such I am bound by the international blogging code of ethics to review the year that is about to end. The year in question is 2022, which, not being a leap year, was made up of 365 days. Some of those days were quite interesting. Some were not very interesting. I expect most fell somewhere in between those two states.
2022 was a bit different to its immediate predecessors insofar as it wasn’t mostly dominated by a pandemic. Covid 19 was still a thing, and back in January still seemed like it might even be quite a big thing, but mainly it has carried on in the background of 2022 while the world at large has moved on to being concerned about other things.
Indeed the main impact of Covid 19 on the state of public health in the UK is that, after two years of largely avoiding people, we’ve rediscovered that there are a whole host of other ailments that we can catch off each other that can also make us quite ill. This December the Proclaims family have enjoyed a range of respiratory viruses, none of which were Covid 19, but all of which have contributed to a lot of coughing, sneezing and general self-pity.
But other stuff has happened in 2022. So much stuff, in fact, that it would be superficial to imagine I could cover it all in one facile blog post.
But my posts are nothing if not perfunctory so I shall attempt to sum up 2022 in an overly simplistic manner that offers little to no insight into the actual events I’m describing.
The main thing that 2022 will be remembered for is probably war. Which is not a great thing to be remembered for and makes the pandemic-blighted 2020 and 2021 seem almost heart-warming by comparison. War is always horrific but it is rare that there is such a broad consensus on which side is in the wrong. However, as ill-informed as I generally am about world events, I’m going to get off the fence on this one and state that Russia are definitely the bad guys.
Indeed so in agreement is the world that Ukraine are the innocent party in the conflict that Ukraine won the Eurovision song contest this year. Which really must have stuck it to Putin and his cronies.
Pro-Ukrainian feelings did not stop the Welsh football team from beating Ukraine in the playoffs for the 2022 football World Cup. Being a fan of the Wales football team, I was not at all conflicted about how I felt about this – I was genuinely delighted. And even though Wales would go on to not win a single game at arguably the most controversial World Cup in history, it was quite a big deal for Wales to be there, having not qualified for a World Cup since 1958. Whether the World Cup should have been in Qatar or not (and it obviously shouldn’t have been for all kinds of well-documented and cogent reasons) it would be hard to begrudge Wales fans for being a bit excited about it. And, Welsh failures aside, it was a really good World Cup from a sporting perspective, with arguably the best final ever. And Lionel Messi finally confirmed his status at the greatest of all time (or the GOAT as the cool kids like to say) by being on the winning team. Although Pele did die two days ago, which reminded people that he was also the GOAT. Because you can never have too many GOATs in sport. But Qatar 2022 was terribly controversial. much more so than the preceding World Cup which took place in…erm…Russia. Still it was really good to see that so many vocal commentators were there, in Qatar, to point out the obvious sports washing that was taking place, while simultaneously staying in luxury Qatari accommodation and eulogising the football to the point that the sport effectively washed itself.
Does that last sentence make sense?
Probably not but then not much in 2022 really did.
UK politics, in particular, made less than no sense for most of 2022. It had always been stretching credulity to imagine Boris Johnson could really ever make an adequate prime minister. But somehow he managed to eke out his premiership for just over three years. Not the longest innings, but on a par with a few of his more recent predecessors and far more time than he deserved given the obvious failings of his period in charge. At the time of his demise it was hard to imagine a less competent prime minister. But Liz Truss was keen to step up to the plate and in just fifty days she broke the British economy and achieved the shortest premiership in UK history. Rishi Sunak has as much blood on his hands as any frontbencher from the last few years, but such was the turmoil that Truss left in her wake that even the most ardent critic of the Tories would have to say that Sunak’s relative blandness is almost a breath of fresh air.
The UK economy remains broken though and no amount of insincere soundbites are going to make 2023 anything less than painful for most of us. Particularly those of us that made the dubious decision in 2022 to increase the number of mouths to be fed in our households. But more of that later.
For no retrospective of 2022 could be complete without referencing another family. The British Royal Family to be precise (other Royal Families are available). For while 2022 saw the shortest time in office of any UK prime minister, it was during that premiership that the longest reign of any UK monarch came to an end. Queen Elizabeth II died in the year of her Platinum Jubilee and whatever your feelings are about the concept of a monarchy (and I would largely consider myself to be at the cynical end of that spectrum), most people would acknowledge that she was a figure beloved by the British people and to be so consistently held in such high esteem for her seventy-year reign is testament to the fact that, in all likelihood, she was deserving of that affection. Alas the same can’t quite be said of some of her surviving family. But that’s a topic probably best left to the expertise of Netflix.
On a personal level, 2022 has been a year to remember, mainly through an increase in sleepless nights and dirty nappies. For in April 2022, shortly after celebrating my 43rd birthday (and by ‘celebrating’ I mean ignoring) I was blessed with the arrival of my second child – the adorable Littler Proclaims. Her arrival is the predominant reason I’ve been absent from this blog for much of 2022, but she has been a delightful distraction (the odd poonami aside) for the most part. She’s currently sleeping on me as I write this, which is not exactly an aide to the process (typing one-handed is not a skill I have truly mastered) but is gratifying in almost every other sense. I like her when she is awake too, although she is currently beset by one of the aforementioned respiratory viruses so not at her most cheerful at present. She is in general a pretty happy baby though, full of smiles and babbling nonsense.
She is not as exuberant as her older sibling, which is something of a relief. Regular readers will know that I adore my firstborn but the OG Little Proclaims is nothing short of high maintenance. She dotes on (and occasionally terrorises) her baby sister but the sudden shift from being the entire centre of her parents’ universe to cohabiting that space has been a difficult adjustment for her. Fortunately 2022 has offered her an opportunity to maintain the spotlight as she has formally begun her primary education and has been attending a nearby school full-time since September. I was never particularly school-shaped as a child (which makes my career choice of teaching a little strange) but Little Proclaims is very much enjoying her initial foray into the classroom. She even secured the prestigious role of ‘The Cow’ in her first school nativity recently. We were very proud. And less ironically than we thought we might be. Few children can ever have embraced the role of ‘The Cow’ quite as enthusiastically as Little Proclaims did.
Children aside, 2022 has not been without personal triumphs. I’ve participated in, and completed, no less than five half marathons, which is quite a lot more than I would have been capable of running in 2021 and completely unimaginable in 2020 when I was struggling to get to grips with the couch to 5K training plan. There have been other successes and failures, as there are most years. Mainly 2022 was more positive than negative on that score, which is better than the norm I feel.
In blogging terms though, 2022 was a catastrophic failure.
I might need to do something about that in 2023…