The (Fairly Predictable) James Proclaims New Year’s Eve Review Of The Year That Was And Indeed The Decade That Was

James Proclaims (6)

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As this is very much the last day of 2019 it behoves me to write about the year that has just happened. But because 2019 ends in a ‘9’ it behoves me to write about the last decade too. There is always some debate that the new decade doesn’t start until the beginning of a year that ends in a ‘1’, but, even though the argument for that is underpinned by sound logic and fact, the reality is that we all consider the year ending in ‘0’ as the start of the new decade (or century or indeed millenium as appropriate). So to all intents and purposes, today is the end of the decade that may or may not have been known at the teens.

But since becoming a dad approximately 17 months ago, I can’t even remember what happened yesterday let alone recall anything of significance that happened in the last ten years.

It is, of course, customary for such a ‘review’ to focus on the wider world, but I’m not going to do that for two reasons:

  1. Other people will do a much better job of that than I could ever possibly hope to achieve.
  2.  It all seems to have gone downhill since 2010 and that decline seems to have accelerated since 2016.

So for those reasons, and also because I’m a bit narcissistic, this post will be all about me.

This is definitely the first decade in which I’ve been a proper ‘grown-up’ for its entirety . I was technically an adult for all of the noughties but, whereas I haven’t really been drunk on any New Years Eve throughout this decade, I saw in the year 2000 absolutely hammered and wandering the streets of Cardiff with nowhere to sleep until the first trains started running the following morning. And that was not unusual behaviour for the ensuing decade.

So I have made some personal progress.

Beyond no longer drinking irresponsibly (or at least not as often) there have been some other developments for me in the last ten years.

I started 2010 as an unmarried childless man. I was engaged to be married to the woman I am now married to, and we were living together, but we didn’t get married until August of 2010.

My daughter didn’t arrive for another eight years, but as eight years is less than a decade it is entirely accurate to say that the ‘teens’ (which I’m definitely calling them even if no-one else does) is when I became both a husband and father.

It’s also, just about, the decade that I went from being a directionless waste of space, career-wise, to having a definite career and indeed career-path. Admittedly it’s a career-path I don’t especially want to be on, but, having experienced the ‘wilderness years’ which largely describes the preceding decade, the wrong career-path is possibly better than no career-path at all.

It has allowed me to get a mortgage if nothing else. For indeed the decade to which we’re about to bid adieu is the decade in which I became a homeowner for the first time. Again, it’s not necessarily a home worth owning, but having been mistreated more than once by the rental market, I’m happier owning my ramshackle terraced house with all it’s dysfunctional plumbing than paying double my mortgage in rent for a tiny flat owned by a shady landlord.

As for 2019, it’s not been a vintage year really. I spent most of the first four months trying to complete my MA at the expense of pretty much everything else. Except my daughter who will not be ignored even for academic deadlines.

I succeeded in my academic endeavours, but have spent the remaining eight months trying to get back into shape after making some questionable decisions regarding diet and exercise during that feverish period of study. Since April I have been largely exercising at pretty much the expense of everything else. Except my daughter who will not be ignored even for a brutal and unforgiving fitness regime.

Nothing much else of a personal nature happened in 2019, beyond my daughter’s continued development which I notionally contribute to but to a much lesser extent than Mrs Proclaims and indeed the child herself whose desire to conquer each developmental milestone appears to be voracious. She had pretty much nailed walking by eleven months old and then subsequently attempted to destroy every possession of ours that wasn’t nailed down.

Talking seems to be her project du jour and she’s making excellent progress. She’s always been a chatterbox, but these days some of what she says actually makes sense. I expect she’ll have her own blog soon. And it’ll be much better than this one.

Speaking of this blog, it was halfway through the last decade that ‘James Proclaims’ became a thing. May 10th, 2015 to be precise. And 2019 appears to be the year I almost killed it off by barely posting anything.

But I appear to have rallied at the end of 2019 and December has actually been quite a productive month blog-wise.

It’s not all been good, but it has been something.

Which is often better than nothing.

And in 2020 I expect I’ll write more posts that are of questionable quality and worth.

But I can’t commit to that today.

Because that would be a resolution.

And we all know that resolutions come on the 1st of January.

So tune in tomorrow to see if ‘blogging more often in 2020’ makes the cut for my 2020 resolutions.

 

 

 

 

 

The (Increasingly Traditional) James Proclaims New Year’s Eve Review Of The Year That Was

James Proclaims (6)

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It’s still 2018 as I write this. At least it is in the UK. In some other time zones it might well be 2019 by now. And indeed it will be 2019 here soon enough too. But before that happens, tradition dictates that it’s time, once again, for me to review the year that has just happened.

Although did anything of note happen in 2018? In last year’s version of this post I wrote about Brexit and Trump. And the year before that I wrote about Brexit and Trump. So I’m loathe to do that again this year, but that does leave me with not much else. Because those two horrendous realities still seem to be largely dominating the news.

Unless I’m mistaken, which is entirely possible because for me personally, 2018 was quite a momentous year.

In that I became a dad for the first time.

Which is quite a big thing.

And frankly the only thing I’m remotely capable of thinking about most of the time.

Obviously, it’s a good thing and I love Baby Proclaims more than I’m able to adequately express in words. She has literally brought joy to my life on a multitude of levels every single day since she entered in my life. I’m sure other stuff happened this year, particularly in the seven months of 2018 that preceded her arrival but I’m finding it hard to recall even the notion of an existence before my daughter.

Still, parenting does have its downsides. I wouldn’t object, for example, a night of unbroken sleep.

The chances of me maintaining consciousness until midnight in order to see the New Year in are not looking overly promising at the moment.

Not that I’m especially devoted to that notion in any case.

Mrs Proclaims and I have never been big on celebrating the New Year. A glass of sparkling wine and a nice meal is the best we normally manage, and, if Baby Proclaims allows, we might just manage that again this year, but we’ve never been likely to trouble a party with our presence, so our ‘bundle of joy’ is hardly cramping our style.

In my younger days I was more likely to be found heavily inebriated in a pub or a club, but honestly, I’m not sure starting the New Year with a massive hangover is an especially good way to go about things, but I was less enlightened in my youth. Probably because I was drunk.

I’ve just had a quick look at the blog resolutions I made on the 1st January and I seem to have achieved most of them. They were, of course, eminently achievable (apparently my ‘clever joke’ last year was to make them especially unambitious) but there was still a chance I would fail miserably. Actually, I’m not sure I did achieve the one about watching a film of Mrs Proclaim’s choice. To be fair she doesn’t really like watching films so I’m really not the worst husband ever and I am nice to her in all kinds of ways that she actually appreciates.

I did achieve the one about running a mile. Indeed, I almost made it to two miles before giving up. Don’t judge me too harshly, I did, as I’ve previously noted on this blog, run more than one marathon in my younger days, but I had more time on my hands back then. I haven’t been completely inactive during 2018, but it hasn’t been a vintage year for fitness and might be something I need to address in 2019. I don’t want to harp on about being a new parent, but I think it mitigates my relative inactivity slightly.

Anyway, the point of all this is that 2018 has now mostly happened and I can’t really remember any of it.

But it was definitely a year.

Of that there is no doubt.

The (Now Traditional) James Proclaims New Year’s Eve Review Of The Year That Was

James Proclaims (6)

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Well here we are again.

The end of another year.

A time, if ever there was one, for reflection.

Which is something I like to do here on James Proclaims. Now, I’m aware I won’t be the only person doing this today but, lest we forget, I also did it at the end of 2015 and 2016, so I’m quite the trailblazer in many ways.

So how does one review a year like 2017? A cold hard analysis of the facts and figures? A zeitgeisty nod to some of the trends that have taken the world by storm? Perhaps nostalgic reminiscences of some of the more iconic moments?

Or should I just make a load of stuff up?

After all, if 2017 was anything, it was the year of fake news and alternative facts.

And frankly, I can’t really remember that much about what actually happened. Maybe it’s the champagne I’ve been drinking since 7am this morning…

Only joking – that’s the first alternative fact for you.

Obviously, I haven’t been drinking champagne since 7am this morning.

Champagne is way too expensive.

I’ve been drinking a reasonably-priced prosecco.

But back to the matter at hand.

Which is 2017. And more specifically what happened in it.

There was the Oscar fiasco of course. You remember, back in February. It’s pretty hard to forget a mistake of that magnitude. I refer, of course, to the moment when my mate Oscar accidently put unleaded petrol in his new diesel car. Ok, chances are that you don’t recall that particular incident. Because you’ve never met my friend Oscar. Because I just made him up. Fake News! Ha!

Of course, there has been some real news. British politics is in the worst state it’s been in since…er…2016?

On the one hand we’re got a prime minister who basically took her ‘strong and stable’ majority, a political mandate that just might have been enough to steady the ship to guide us through the choppy waters of Brexit, and decided to gamble it on the basis that no-one would ever vote for Jezza Corbyn. And she was sort of right. But not right enough to prevent her from losing her majority and having to form a government with some scary people at the cost of a billion pounds. Well played Theresa.

On the other hand, the only viable alternative to Mrs May celebrated losing like he’d just won the lottery. And went on Gogglebox. And headlined(?) Glastonbury. Which is obviously what we want and need from a prime minister.

Still things could be worse.

We could have an egotistical megalomaniac in charge. And to be fair there’s no point in trying to make humorous observations about all the stuff The Donald has been up to. That’s a man who satirizes himself whenever he opens his mouth. Or uses Social Media.

And it would be funny if it wasn’t all so terrifying.

But it does take a very special effort to make Kim Jong-Un seem like the sane one.

There’s obviously been some good news this year. Harry got engaged to Megan. I mean I hear it’s good news. I’m relatively indifferent to it, seeing as I won’t be getting an invite to the wedding. But it would take a particularly churlish person to describe the forthcoming nuptials as bad news.

Although Suits won’t be the same.

On a personal note, 2017 was very much a year for me. It began for me on the 1st January, and it’ll end today.  I was definitely awake on most, if not all, of the 365 days it took to get to this point.

I’m not sure if it’s been a particularly good year or a particularly bad one really.

All in all, it’s mostly been a bit covfefe…