cheesydanI was in Bath welcoming the new millennium at St Peter’s Lodge, an old church that passed as student accommodation, but should have probably been condemned, at a party with all my old school and cadet friends, seamlessly blended with my new uni friends. We were invincible. Pook got a parking ticket from a jobsworth traffic cop who seemed intent on spoiling someone’s new year. Gareth got horrendously drunk but still managed to wander his way back to my place. I laughed, drank, cried and hugged my way into the brilliant new millennium. We were free. Life was fun, spontaneous and crazy.

It was the year that everything started. I knew everyone, I was playing badminton every day, running training sessions several times a week, volunteering for Nightline, writing for the student paper. 4 months later I went through the most incredible experience of my life, campaigning hard and eventually finding myself elected President. I had an emotional and spiritual growth spurt.

The rest of the decade has been a whirlwind. I met an incredible woman and shared wonderful times together. I learnt to dive, to snowboard, to climb, to use a camera, to tango, to raft, to love, to grieve. I discovered politics, encountered the UN and went inter-railing through Eastern Europe, returning to start work for the MOD.  I unexpectedly fell in love and landed my dream job. I bought a house and had succeeded in life, before asking myself too many questions. I quit my dream job and sold my house to chase rainbows in New Zealand, not knowing that NZ would lead to Colorado and coming home to a place I’d never been before.

I had the worst year of my life to date. Trapped in a job I hated, crashed out of love, experienced two friends dieing unexpectedly and before their time, I was homeless and directionless. I let the darkness overtake me and slipped into depression, before clawing my way out and getting my head back above water. I let someone into my life bringing light with them and with whom I properly shared my whole life for the first time.

I chased rainbows through Thailand, Coventry, Cornwall, South Africa, Nepal, Malaysia and Singapore and ended up in retreat in Japan, trying to prove something to myself, but learning far more than I’d planned to. I chose to come back and fell into the most intense experience of my life, chasing a global dream that ended in Copenhagen discord.

Road aheadAnd now? I think I survived my Saturn Return, but I’m coming up to a fork in the road again, with a inkling that this is the first domino of the rest of my life. I’m a little wiser, a little more cautious, a little more cynical, a little more hopeful and a little less invincible.

This New Year’s Eve was spent at a last-minute gathering in my flat in Brixton with a smaller group of newer friends, drinking champagne, eating homemade bread and watching fireworks from my bedroom window. We tried to make paper lanterns with tealights and newspaper and ended up playing Cranium until 5am. Mark nearly set fire to himself. Kate fell down the steps. We were free. Life was fun, spontaneous and crazy.