2016 has been a bad year, or so people would have you believe. Yes, lots of well-known people have passed away and Britain got brexited, while America was Trumped. But, as many have already observed compared with the horrors of World War 1 or ‘The Year Without Summer’ it doesn’t really compare that badly with 1916 or 1816. And, I doubt 1716, 1616 or 16AD were much of a blast, either.
Personally, I won’t look back at this year and regard it too badly. My business continues to grow, despite the mid-year blip caused by Brexit. After spending a long time trying to work out what kind of company we were, realised that every business can be no more than the company it keeps. By that, I mean the people who work for us and the people we work for. I have been on business courses and read management books that tell you no business will succeed unless it is built from a solid foundation; a clear strategy and vision. Time and experience have taught me that this is horse-shit. Don’t get me wrong, knowing where you want to be in five or ten years time is critical. It keeps you going on the dark days. But, starting a business with an inflexible strategy is a folly. This year we experimented, worked out what our skills were and which clients we worked best with and have grown from there.
At home, life has been good too. My wife, my daughters and, even, my dog bring me joy. I’ve learnt to be happy with family. That’s not to say they haven’t brought me happiness before, they have and oodles of it. But this has been the first year where I can shut out the world on a Friday evening and not let it back in again until Monday morning without feeling like I was missing something. May be it’s because my girls are growing up. Certainly, being a parent is a lot easier with children who you can have a conversation with. I like the way we watch movies together now. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy ‘Finding Nemo’ or ‘Shrek’; I enjoyed them far more than I should. But being able to watch a film like ‘The Book Thief’ with your family and then to hear what they took from it, has made me appreciate my children as individuals with ideas and feelings. That is massive.
There have been lots of plus points to 2016; a wonderful weekend in Lisbon, starting running again, learning to sail, taking my daughters kayaking, filming a stunning sunrise in North Wales, attending a friend’s wedding, hearing my eldest daughter sing in front of the whole school, teaching my youngest how to play poker (and then being fleeced by a 9 year old) and seeing my wife go from strength to strength at work.
I think it’s easy to sum up a year as good or bad. But in truth, every year like every day is a little bit of everything. I choose to see 2016 in a good light, even if it was a bit of mixed bag.