2018 is Done; Hello 2019

Is it a good habit to review your past? Maybe looking back like this can help the observer see actions that might help in moving forward. Regardless, I love the New Year because, arbitrary as it is, it marks a point of renewal, a chance to start again. So, here are some facts about 2018 as it relates to me, and some musings on what 2019 might bring. Enjoy, comment, laugh, weep, and hope.

Some random figures for 2018:

My Twitter followers reached 22,777 – number of tweets so far posted: 83,884; I think that activity may be reduced during 2019.

On May 9th I reached my 3 score years and 10.

People who follow this blog number 24,612, and I’ve published 750 blog posts so far.

On 4th December my daughter arrived home from Australia after three years away, with her boyfriend. Whilst they were visiting his relatives in Holland, he proposed to her. Wedding date and location to be determined after they return to Darwin on 7th January.

I currently have 2,052 friends on Facebook, and my author page there has 958 ‘Likes’.

On LinkedIn my network reached 5,067.

In September we travelled to Italy to celebrate 30 years of marriage, spending 13 nights exploring parts of that historic land. I’ve posted each day of the illustrated saga, starting here.

Via Goodreads, where I have 3,925 friends, I’ve read and reviewed 40 books by other writers. Some of these were offered as gifts in exchange for an honest review, though I suspect a few of those writers hoped for uncritical praise. Fortunately, most of the books were good. But if you decide to offer me a book for review, here, please do yourself a favour and commit to some homework by reading at least some of my views posted under the ‘Reviews’ tab here (you’ll also find the Italian posts there, as I reviewed some places we visited).

On May 10th I attended a local hospital for prostate surgery I’d expected to have three years previously. The good result, and excellent news that I’m clear of any cancer, helped me re-evaluate my life and change some priorities for living it to the full.

So, 2018 was a year of events, celebrations, threats to civilisation, and change. The idiot in charge across the pond continued to prove his utter incompetence and unsuitability for office and was joined in that status by our own Prime Minister in the UK. Not alone in their foolishness, power-seeking, and lack of compassion, these two ‘leaders’ were joined by others of equal ineptitude, egomania, obsession and self-absorption, determined to ruin the lives of those they were appointed to represent. Such is the state of world politics as the year ends.

Human responsibility for the changing climate has finally been accepted as a fact by most states, a little late in the day: I joined Greenpeace way back in the early 1980s when it became clear the world environment was under severe threat. But politicians have ever been the last to accept what their voting public have known for decades. This lack of concern and knowledge about the probable future is what drives me to write science fiction. Most who write dystopian futures do so in the hope that someone in power might recognise the possibilities we predict and actually begin to do something to prevent the potential catastrophes.

So, 2019 begins and new opportunities await. Despite all the bad news, political foolishness, corporate greed, financial corruption and inequality, social injustice, and religiously-driven extremism, I remain an optimist. I truly believe the human race is capable of great things. Look at some of the art, in all media, we’ve created. Look at the advances we’ve made in prolonging life; sometimes, it must be said, at terrible cost to the person ‘saved’. Perhaps a little more concentration on the quality of life and a little less on its quantity might better serve the population.

Talking of population: as I write this, at 14:40 on New Year’s Eve, the current world population is listed as 7,673,918,535. You can check its current state by clicking here. Looked at objectively, it’s clear there are too many of us on the planet. Yet the world’s major religions, most corporations, and many governments continue to encourage births as if the planet were an enormous ball with unlimited resources. It isn’t. It’s a tiny blue globe in a colossal universe, and has severely limited resources, especially in some crucial areas. But dogma, greed, poor education, and many other factors will continue to inspire people to breed. Inevitably, if we, as a species, fail to curtail our burgeoning numbers, nature will step in. Be it plague, natural disasters, or some other catastrophe, we can be absolutely certain that the world of nature will take some form of action to protect the rest of life here; we, after all, constitute only one of many millions of species, and are of little importance or value to the natural world.

On that happy note, and I continue an optimist, I’ll close this piece with my intentions for the year. I only ever make one New Year Resolution; ‘Not to make any resolutions’. But that doesn’t mean I fail to have intentions. These are:

  • To spend more time on poetry
  • To create more pictures using my camera and my small craft skills
  • To produce more short fiction
  • To share a positive image of the world through my creations
  • To avoid, where my passions permit, involvement on futile online discussions relating to those aspects of life I find intolerable, stupid and/or unjust

So, a Happy New Year to all who’ve come this far with me. Let’s all hope it will prove a far brighter twelve months than those we’ve just endured. There’s even the possibility some form of common sense, compassion and justice may afflict our world and bring about positive change!

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