In the Spring of 1992 Labour lost an election, Rovers looked like blowing their promotion push and I was single and skint. I sat in the pub around the corner from work before heading out on a US trip to cover a trade show, which I was mildly dreading, and one of our grumpy subs told me to pull myself together and that these things didn't matter, life goes on. To a 25-year old in London it really felt like the worst of times. The following week, while in Las Vegas, where things went better than I feared, I heard the devastating news that my dear friend Julie had been murdered in New Orleans.
Nothing could ever make right what happened to Julie, nothing ever has, but as regarding the other things - they really didn't matter. Life did go on, but if I learnt anything that summer it was that there are some things you can control, take responsibility for and change and some things you can't. You also can't do it on your own. I realised how much I loved my friends and family. I went on to make many more catastrophic mistakes and rode with the highs and lows of life with all its relative triumphs and disasters.
So, to 2016. I look back as everyone does and think of Trump and Brexit and Corbyn and Venky's. I read back through this blog and it occurs to me that because it focuses on Rovers and Labour then it must seem like I live my life in a perpetual state of existential disappointment. I really don't. There is so much more to life than what we choose to display on the surface.
Well, this time last year I was sizing up a new start and a new job at Manchester Metropolitan University. I've enjoyed it more than I dared to dream. It's made me realise how much I appreciate smart people, new challenges and a strong sense of mission. Same with the two businesses I'm on the board of - Liberty won SIPP provider of the year and New Charter Housing crowned a year of resilience with an honour for our chief executive Ian Munro.
Beyond that this has been a momentous year for our peer group from back in 1992 - we've hit 50, John and Rachel Dixon had a tremendous party in July, Chris's stag hike and wedding were joyous occasions. As was my own special day with my Rachel watching New Order and then having a day with my parents, sister and family.
So, do have a happy new year. Things can get better. Some things matter and others are more in the background than we probably appreciate.