I’m writing this under a tree in a field somewhere between Caledon and Swellendam in the Western Cape of South Africa. It has been some time since I wrote on my blog and I’ve been promising a few articles over the holiday season. I thought I’d start the blogging frenzy off by looking back at 2010 and working out how I feel about the past year of my life.
I was unmarried for the whole of 2010, having finalised my divorce in December 2009. This fact made it a very different and interesting year for me. It has certainly been the least confrontational and most peaceful year I’ve had in over thirteen. It has been a year of consolidation and even recovery in a way. For an entire year I’ve come home to smiles and calm, and looked forward to the sanctity of my castle on the hill… which it almost is, having the best view of Johannesburg possible! I have spent many nights this year looking over the world below and contemplating the mysteries of life with a good scotch and a cigar or pipe, feeling a little like Gandalf or Bilbo Baggins.
The reason for the peace at home is a most wonderful specimen of woman called Heather, who has lived with me in my castle all year. I have never met a more understanding, unflusterable, kind-hearted human in all my life. We talk together, walk together, cook together, read together, dance together, camp together and share pretty much everything without stress or defence or score keeping or the need to control. This alone could make life almost perfect, but there’s more. We’ve actively reawakened our youth together. We’ve visited interesting venues, clubs and restaurants. We’ve read important books. We’ve mixed fantastic cocktails and shooters. We’ve investigated and invested in our sexuality. We’ve made home together. We’ve explored rustic camp sites. We’ve created new gourmet recipes. We’ve nurtured our kids together. We’ve walked away from religion and established a wonderful group of friends together.
This year was also the launch of my blog (the one you’re reading); Rumble in the Pub (a philosophical discussion group that meets in a pub); and Primordial Soup (a podcast of interest to Atheists and Secular Freethinkers). Many of these activities have overflowed onto Facebook or vice versa resulting in a year of passionate debates and discussions on very stimulating topics and holy cows. I’ve been branded a Satanist and a cult leader on several occasions, despite the fact that I’m sure Satan does not exist and I have no ‘followers’ and preach no mysterious ‘doctrine’. I have offended hundreds of people by asking uncomfortable questions about religion and highlighting the scientific improbability of Gods and Pink Unicorns. I have read Dawkins, Harris, Sagan and Hitchens this year and dived wholeheartedly into scientific enquiry and philosophical thought experiment.
This has also been a year for physical recovery. I started the year hardly able to walk. My sciatic nerve was pinched, and combined with poor fitness and the shortest hamstrings in the galaxy, I could only tolerate standing for five minutes at a time. In desperation I visited a Biokineticist for three months, once a week, who stretched my legs and back until at times I felt I would snap in half, until finally I had mobility again. I also started wall climbing which instantly became my favourite sport ever. The combination of stretching and building physical strength has restored me to be able to run and hike and stand and walk for hours and hours again. If there was a God I’d probably thank him… but as it is I’m just extremely pleased J.
On the down side (there’s always a down side), my ex wife moved to Natal with my children. Finances and distance has resulted in me not seeing them nearly as much as I want to. The times I’ve had with them have been special and precious, but I’ve missed out on a bunch of the good stuff, the daily gems of life. There are times when this overwhelms me with sadness and I have to stop myself crying out loud in random public places. I also know that they have a good life, both in Natal with their mom and here with me, and they’re growing into fantastic, and I deeply hope, rational human beings. I’m hoping to remedy the time issue this year, but it will be a challenge.
This has been an enormously busy year with many personal and public events taking place. I helped organise a 20 year matric reunion which was a roaring success in November. South Africa hosted the Fifa world cup football event in July (I attended the France/Mexico game in Polokwane with my boys). I hosted a rocking fancy dress birthday party in November. Heather and I moved into our home on the hill in May. We both started new Jobs early in the year. We went camping in February in Amanzimtoti, and October in Nottingham Road. We hosted a Rumble in the Midlands in December at the same Nottingham Road camp site. And the list goes on and on.
All in all I’d have to call 2010 a watershed year. A year of rebirth and success. A year of writing and reading. A year of friendships and discovery. A year of sex and wonder. A year of food and drink. A year of health and prosperity. If 2011 is even half as good as 2010 I say, “Bring it on!!”