Nicky Marr: How was 2021 for you? Bring on 2022!
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“How was your day?” is a thing Daughter #1 brought back to us after a year abroad between school and university. It’s a simple concept – over our evening meal we go round the table, each sharing the worst part of our day with each other. Then we go round again, sharing the best bits.
To be honest, I’m not always a fan. Sharing the worst aspects of my day with assorted family and (occasional random) friends, feels unnecessarily negative – why dwell on the tough stuff? But it’s worth it. Usually…
Sharing the tough stuff gives insight into how each of our days has been. And sharing the best bits – cake for breakfast, week four of Couch to 5K in the bag (again), handing in your notice at work, an afternoon of wine and Lego – reminds us that there are always good bits if we make an effort to look for them.
There are some rules to this game; you can pass on the worst bit if it hurts too much, and there can be ‘honourable mentions’ for bits that were really good (usually food), just maybe not the actual highlight. Cruelly, you’re not allowed the same best bit as someone else. Which is tough when you’re joined at the hip.
Sometimes the game is the best bit of the day. It helps us connect. It’s certainly better than eating in front of the telly. Especially in front of the news.
Applying best and worst to a day works well. So, as we say goodbye (good riddance?) to 2021, it’s tempting to apply it to a year. Today, as we cancel Hogmanay plans and wait for the results of PCR tests, it’s the worst bits that naturally surface.
In search of best bits, I turn to my phone, and to the photos folder. There are over 15,000 images in there, stretching back over a decade. Over a cup of tea in bed this morning I scrolled back through the thousands for 2021 and found best bits galore. Most of them outdoors, almost all close to home. Luckily, we don’t have to travel far to find joy.
There were bike rides and swims, van trips, and nights spent freezing with friends round the firepit in the garden. Summer months brought friends to stay. Seeing the Highlands through their eyes, from pints at MacGregor’s to swims in Loch Achilty and walks at the Fairy Glen, helped us realise – again – how lucky we are to live here. And getting our entire family together to celebrate mum’s big birthday in November was awesome.
As humans we are predisposed towards negativity. It’s rubbish, but it’s true. But that tendency to negativity can be overturned. Daughter #1’s ‘worst and best’ game reminds us of that day to day. But this morning’s meander through my photos gives me the bigger picture.
There’s so much about life to love and be grateful for. 2022, bring it on. We’ve got this.
More from Nicky Marr:
Our Christmas was vegetarian
Unexpectedly, we ate vegetarian this Christmas.
Instead of the usual smoked fish and stuffed bird bonanza, we went all-out veg and nuts.
It made sense, Daughter #1 has been veggie for 15 years, her partner is too, and Daughter #2 is tending that way. So, we went the whole veggie (ahem) hog.
And I didn’t miss meat one teeny tiny bit.
But I would struggle to be vegan.
A life without cheese is unthinkable. They are delicious, all of them.
Smoked, pungent, sharp, salty, creamy, blue, and crunchy, we have them all. Add some festive figs, gently poached in PX sherry, and walnuts and grapes on the side.
Proper oatcakes too.
Word of the season is ‘recheese’. As in, ‘Have you recheesed today?’ Not yet, but it’s only just gone breakfast time.
Give me five minutes, though…
Predictions for year ahead
Predictions for 2022? In no particular order, here are my three.
Sherry sales will soar.
I’ve been a lonely campaigner for this wonderful drink for decades. 2022 will be the year I don’t have to finish the bottle myself.
Foreign travel will return, and this year we’ll all go to Iceland.
Hot springs, fairy houses, great jumpers, and beautiful horses. Count me in.
Summer will see the start of the end for Covid-19.
Next week, I’ll pack my Christmas masks into the loft with the decorations. Next Christmas they’ll be something we used to need. Fingers crossed!