At the start of 2002, I copied this from somewhere (Sinister?), because it just seemed really wise:
'Things have been better this year than ever, but I shan't bore people with all my "and then in May I did this ace thing, oh, and June was pretty good too....". Just that for a while I was in the wilderness and I finally feel like I've got an atlas to my life now. Or maybe just a wee map scrawled on the back of a beer mat, but that's enough for now.'
I'm not sure I can claim to have an atlas of my life now (or perhaps I do have one, but it's several years old, and still shows Yugoslavia and the USSR as whole countries), but I do know that in many respects, last year I stumbled through a sort of wilderness from which I've only recently emerged. And everything I had to do to get out of those woods--learning to find my way without clear trails, forcing myself to accept and deal with setbacks, coming to understand what's worth carrying and what isn't when my load gets too heavy--has proved useful.
There are any number of cliches I could add here--words about how much I've grown over the past 12 months, about the epiphanies I've had, about how the memories of the year have been etched so deeply in my mind's core I can't imagine them eroding--but none of them quite seem to do the trick. For now, then, just this: all told, 2002 was the most spectacular (and the most difficult) year I've had in recent memory. And I think he of the terrible dreadlocks and unacceptable facial hair was right: there is indeed reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last.