The advent of a new year, once seasonal festivities are over, always makes us ponder the future. It creates an urge in us to look at the world around and wonder about the direction of our journey ahead. We reflect, we predict, we plan - and these days, it seems, we fear. There hasn’t been a lot to celebrate in recent times but, conversely, much to worry about: the rise of right-wing populism, the dreadful war in Yemen, the abuse of the environment, the plight of refugees across the world, and increasing impoverishment in sections of otherwise wealthy societies……..and Brexit. They are all grounds for shame and concern.
So this year, my usual, hopeful curiosity about the future is low on the dial and I don’t really want to look ahead into 2019. I just know it’s going to be grim. Another year of bluster and bombast, lies and licence, suffering and silence, pain and poverty: the matched pairs are endless. With good cause, I find I am eschewing attempts at good-humoured, festive bonhomie. When friends tell me I look miserable, I simply smile wanly and say “Yes, I am”. For once, I really don’t think I’m going to be able to say “Happy New Year”.