How we rise to challenges is what really matters

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk

A new year is upon us. They seem to disappear with alarming and increasing speed.

And who could have predicted what a year 2016 would be?

Brexit, Trump, the heartbreak of Aleppo and the spate of celebrity deaths all made for shocking headlines.

The world has been sent reeling on its axis with many a breaking news bulletin this year, and perhaps the majority of folk are hoping for a steadier 2017.

I hope that your year has been fulfilling, but few of us make it an entire 12 months without being rocked by the unexpected.

The known is far less frightening than the unknown and thinking forwards can be a daunting affair.

Last January, I wrote a piece reflecting on 2015. I’d experienced bereavement during that year and several readers contacted me to say how much the columns I had written resonated with them.

Anything major that happens in life – both happy and sad – can lead us to making changes, and the events of 2015 led me to making many changes of my own.

I had thought carefully before doing so, and with the hope that they would be positive in the long-term and, in retrospect, they were.

Maybe it comes with age, but many of my friends have begun to care less about leaving behind situations, or events, or people, that make them unhappy.

When you’re younger you don’t always have the confidence to make such changes, or you continue with things that make you unhappy just to be polite.

Every year presents us with challenges, but perhaps it’s how we rise to those that really matters?

If we can keep our heads above water and not be buckled by bitterness or recriminations, and if we can try to remain positive ourselves and accept the help that friends and family have to offer us, then sometimes the bad times pass more quickly, and go a little gentler on us.

John Lennon once sang that he hoped our new years would be good ones, without any fear.

Wise words that still ring true today, and, most likely, always will.

WE’RE VERY LUCKY TO HAVE THE KINGS RIGHT ON OUR DOORSTEP

If you’ve never been to the panto at the Kings Theatre in Southsea, then I fully recommend it.

Excluding Anne Hegerty (whose arms are apparently fixed in one position, that being lolling by her sides like a rag doll, and not making for a hugely entertaining stage presence), the cast were excellent this year.

We’ve been taking our little girls for a few years now, having not been to the panto ourselves since early childhood.

The joy on the faces of the children makes having a fibre-optic wand thrust in your face every five seconds absolutely worth it.

The Kings is such a beautiful building, at the heart of our city.

I just think we are very lucky to have it right on our doorstep.

IF YOU KEEP TALKING, THEN NONE OF US WILL EVER KNOW THE PLOT

My family and I have been snuggled up over the festive period watching myriad movies on TV.

Standard Christmas hibernation for most of us but, I suspect, we are not the only parents in the city to spend 90 per cent of that time alternately telling our kids to:

‘Just watch it.’

‘Well watch it and you’ll see.’

‘Why don’t you listen and then you’ll find out?’

Because it’s not deemed appropriate to leap from the sofa, pulling your hair out, and simply scream that ‘IF YOU STOP ASKING ME THEN YOU’LL FIND OUT ANYWAY WON’T YOU, BUT IF YOU KEEP BLOOMIN’ TALKING THROUGH IT ALL THEN NONE OF US WILL EVER FIND OUT THE PLOT, WILL WE?’ And breathe.

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