This year has been eventful. To be more precise, 2006 has been a complete and utter write-off. I know this may seem premature as I write this in mid-November, but regardless how December turns out, it hardly seems like it will make a difference. I say a write-off, but in some respects, it could also be the very making of me.

A Promising Start

This year, started off with so much promise, with the prospect of three months to be spent in California with my brand-spanking-new employer – Ning, Inc. between February and May. Before that I spent the first weeks of January finishing of my final weeks at Orange Vision. Whilst at that time I was fully aware that those last ten or so days, would be the last ‘normal’ days of my then life (the same walk home, the same jokes at work and in the pub, the same Wednesday night swimming session), little did I know what challenges and trials lay ahead.

Whilst I had some concerns before I left, those first three months I spent in Palo Alto, where the three easiest and most enjoyable of this year. I was made to feel totally at home, removed from all forms of stress and worry, enjoying a new (Mac-centric) work environment, and making new friends in the process.

I find it interesting to look back at my blog posts written during that time, especially when compared to those from the last couple of months.

This blog is starting to get wet around the edges.

A Long, Hard Summer

My return to the UK in May, put an abrupt end to that stress free existence, and I think this post (The Last Six Months…) goes some way to putting into words how hard this summer turned out to be. The prospect of a permanent move to the States, leaving my friends and family behind became more of an issue for me (as did other frustrations), to the point that it was touch and go as to whether I would actually make the move or not. What I had hoped would be an enjoyable summer, was somewhat of a non-event.

In the end, I knew the only way to know if a move was the right thing to do, was to actually move out to the US and give it a go. The last six weeks have been harder than I ever expected them to be, and I have been through every kind of emotion (both in and outside of work).

Luckily, the company has been really supportive and right behind me which is great. The fact that they place so much faith in me and my talents, and that I feel such believes could be misplaced is something I need to address.

This could be the very minute
I’m aware I’m alive
All these places feel like home

Whilst this year is still not over, I feel like this is the first year that I have actually lived. I’m am being taken through the mill, and it’s somewhat of a daily struggle at times. At the same time, I know this is just what I need, and I’d like to think I’ll come out the other side a stronger person.

What have I done it’s too late for that
What have I become truth is nothing yet

For far too long, I have been drifting through life, letting decisions be made for me. When I do make decisions, they tend to be left far too late for them to matter. I’m quickly learning that I am in control of a large part (yet not all) of my life, and that whilst past mistakes may trouble me, I have no control of them, but I do have some control of the future. I am also finding that with age, comes experience, and I am able to predict how I would react in certain situations. Hopefully this leads to me not making the same mistakes again (although this is sometimes easier said than done).

Looking Forward

I’m not sure where this post is heading, just to say this. Whilst 2006 has been a total train wreck as far as I’m concerned, I like to think it’s setting the scene for a more prosperous New Year. There are a lot of things to look forward to: friends coming out to visit, conferences, great new Ning stuff and industry developments. I now know that it is within my power to make these things happen. At the same time there are also a lot of other big challenges to come, and I’m in no doubt that they may dwarf any current concerns. I need to be ready to face them.

True also that 2006 has seen me accomplish a lot of great things too, see new places meet new people etc. Furthermore, and perhaps this is the greatest discovery of this year, is that I have a number of great fiends, that are at hand even when I’m across a vast ocean. I have even found a few of such high calibre much closer to home too. I recognise I need to be more thankful of these things, and not dwell so much on the negatives. Now if only there was a day in which I could celebrate all that I was thankful for…

(Lyrics taken from Snow Patrol’s Chocolate. Title inspired by a conversation with Jon.)