Last year, on December 31st, I posted a State of the Shay, 2012 post, which was a pretty simple overview of the good things and the bad things that marked the 2013th year of the common era (think about it.) As planned, this is the equivalent post for this year.
How did 2013 go? Unlike last year, I believe the answer is broadly simpler and more positive. Real progress in my interpersonal relationships was made, and I grew, both intellectually and emotionally, at a rate significantly higher than before.
This time last year, I commented on the Delhi rapes and the Sandy Hook massacre. Indian attitudes towards the role of women in society have not yet caught up with Western attitudes, but the outcry over the rapes showed rapidly changing public opinion. On Sandy Hook, this year has only served to exacerbate my negativity. No significant new gun control laws have come into force.
All sorts of major events, both positive and negative, occurred this year. January marked French intervention in Mali, which successfully controlled the Islamist insurgency. We grew ears on mice, worried about North Korea and worried about our own government spying on us.
The events which tarnished 2013 were not out of the ordinary. Terrorism and insurgencies are a continuing problem that we’re going to have to learn to deal with. I do not yet know if we will succeed. The positive events, on the other hand, were rather unusual in their greater long-term benefits as opposed to short-term ones.
Growing ears on mice and the creation of embryonic stem cells through cloning will not immediately solve the problems caused by immune rejection of transplanted organs, nor will they end the need for transplants. Over time, however, these are major scientific breakthroughs which will shape medicine this century. I predict that in forty years, Biology students will remember this year.
On a personal level, the year has see even greater change. I began the year lonely, and I end it quite the opposite. I began the year confident of my self and my abilities, and I end it quite unsure. I began the year bored with the repetition of daily life, and I end it enjoying the benefits of student choice.
In January, I continued my streak of being quite good at passing exams. I consolidated my love of TV’s Community, and became part of a Tumblr fandom for the first time. I continued to play Minecraft, with Ultra Hardcore becoming a somewhat irregular feature of my Friday nights.
On February 7th, the fourth season of Community aired on NBC. Perhaps I am far too attached to my television, but the show’s return really was the only good thing which occurred in February. February is usually my darkest month, and the world of Greendale gave me some joy where the world provided none.
March, as usual, provided some relief. Winter was, after all, ending. I made a new friend in my German exchange student, Christian. I rediscovered SimCity, which was an experience in itself. SimCity taught me that some things deserve to be left in the past, lest their modern adaptations prove damaging to peoples’ memories of old brilliance.
In April, the greatest peacetime Prime Minister died. Lady Thatcher was a true inspiration to me, both politically and personally. The simple daughter of a merchant, she believed in opportunity and in progress. It is thanks to the policies of her government that we managed such growth in the early noughties.
My birthday is in May, so I have a sweet spot for that month. I remember exams dominating my life once again. School ended and I experience the joys of study leave. Exams weren’t really a problem, and I do not remember being particularly stressed in all areas except Food Technology. There, I felt as if I would fail. The new Daft Punk album came out, which was nice (even if it wasn’t as good as Discovery.) With school ending, I saw some people for the last time. On the whole, they weren’t people I particularly cared for.
I went to a party in June, and there began the next stage of my life. It became clear to me the friends in my life were true friends; the doubt of their loyalty and propensity to care faded. I then went on holiday to the United States, where I met cousins I had never met before. I was refreshed and ready to take the world on again.
July was a month of personal transformation. For the first time in my life, I was host to a German-speaking teenage boy much like myself (but equally completely different.) I also went to my year 11 prom, where I saw all my classmates looking fabulous. The good times kept going, especially when I went to Germany right at the end.
Before August, I had never spent more than a week in a foreign country without my parents. I spent three weeks in Germany eating, drinking and learning the German language. I also received my results from the exams in May and June, and found out I’d received 11 A*s and 1 B grade at GCSE. This was incredibly pleasing.
School began again in September, but a different kind of school. Sixth Form was not an especially huge shock to my system, but it was so refreshing to see so many new faces around school. I made tonnes of new friends, and began to only study the things I like. I also met a certain special someone.
October was a month of slow advancement. The changes of September continued. The person I met in September became an ever more important part of my life. School went on. Life went on. I computerised my school notes, waving goodbye to the inefficiencies of pen and paper for all my courses except Maths.
Honestly, there was one, incredibly sad event which cast a long shadow over November. Some people aren’t necessarily your best friends, but their presence and their company, however rare, has a positive influence on your life to an extent disproportional to their relationship with you. The loss of such people is difficult to imagine for a reasonably privileged person such as myself.
This December was uneventful, except for the Sixth Form Social which occurred near its climax. At the Social, I made a decision about the special person in my life which I hope will have a huge effect on our continued relationship into 2014. I should think it is a good decision, and I hope she shall agree.
The year was generally unremarkable. Life did change in a way I did not expect, and I am yet again a different person in December than I was in January. I have hopes and desires for this year, but it is equally possible that by December, my best friends will have changed and the special person in my life will have disappeared. The Akshay of December 31 2013 does not, however, wish this so.
My resolutions for the coming year are simple:
- Perform well in all exams I will be sitting.
- Form an exquisite and long-lasting relationship with the special person.
- Get into shape.
- Learn to reduce the peaks and troughs in self-esteem.