For the past couple of years, when the current year has come to end, I have taken a few moments to reflect on those 12 months and write down those things that I am thankful for. It’s very easy, I think, to take the ‘good riddance’ stance on an testing old year and place all your focus on a new year and your resolutions for it. But instead, I strive to show gratitude for both the good times, and the things I have learnt from the bad before moving on and looking forward to what I will be grateful for in the next 365 days.
This year has not been without it’s trials. The whole 12 months have had a dark, legal-action-tinged cloud hovering above them, bringing shadows and difficulties to many areas. It’s not yet quite resolved, but I am grateful for the things it has taught me, not only about myself; my persistence, my sometimes-need for patience, and my dogged resolute to fight for what I know is right, but also for showing me the kindness of my friends and family, the un-ending love and support I have from my parents, and the lessons I have learnt about who and how to trust people. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all, and apologise once again to anyone who was negatively affected by this situation – I would honestly never wish it upon anyone, and hope you are soon able to put it behind you and look forward to a bright future.
Another 12-month saga that has seen amazing examples of friendship and caring from my wonderful friends, when even I got sick of listening to my words, has brought many things to be grateful for. In February, it brought about the most perfect birthday celebration I could ever have wished for and I will always be thankful for that. In October, it made a visit home more special than any other, and for countless moments it made me the happiest I have been in this year, and possibly ever. Yes, it has brought me sadness and frustrations, and even heartbreak, but I feel grateful to have experienced it all, as it shows how lucky I am to have found a person who can make me feel all those things, however fleeting they wish their stay in my life to be.
PBS6 gave me my first touring experience in April, and a reason to revive this, somewhat floundering, blog. I am grateful not only for the opportunity to do something I love, but to spend time and work with such wonderful and talented musicians. Friends, in fact. Thank you.
Music-wise, I’ve had a good year too. I had my best-ever gig (so far) in Hexham in April, with a band of musicians who are more than I could ever have hoped for in a musical meeting of minds (and whom I love) which confirmed to me that I’m on the right path, no matter the obstacles. I played in London in June, and I found lovely hosts and listeners in all the venues I have played in around Yorkshire. I started a new project in August with Gavin McGrath, and have been slowly getting to grips with video-editing on my new computer. (Thank you again). Solaris have received a great reception, with the support of Tony Kofi, Cleethorpes Jazz Festival, and Jazz Yorkshire that I look forward to building on in 2011.
I have seen some incredible musicians – not only local performers and talented friends (of which I have many), but world-class performers including Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, Tony Bennett, Jon Hendricks, Anita Wardell, Lianne Caroll, Tony Kofi.. I am extremely grateful of these opportunities and to witness such great music.
I have met some fab people through Voices of The Day, Buns and Roses, and twitter (I love Twitter! Thank you Twitter!!) taken on new pupils, and have a new teaching job starting (in 4 days!), which I am very grateful for.
I was lucky enough to go and visit Thailand (and my brother), and come back to a few busy weeks of gigging in August/September, as well as starting a new residency at Lounge which has been just wonderful.
And I made my house a home. A home that I am happy to be in, and that I love being in. With help from my mum and MC, and a little kitten called Hendricks, I am happier in this place, and in Leeds than I have been in 3 years. Which is no mean feat if you know anything about my past few years.
And to December. I had a lovely Christmas with my family. We are all in good health and I am grateful for that.
I had a wonderful new year gig, surrounded by balloons, where everyone enjoyed their evening and I got to do what I love and I am grateful for that.
I saw people who I love in a place that I love, and got my house first-footed the way it always should be on the 1st of January, and I am looking forward to the delights 2011 will brings me, that I am already grateful for.
I have a lot to be thankful for. And I am.
Happy new year, and thank you for reading.