I used to fight with the Universe. Seriously. It was Me Vs It, every single year. The Universe would try and take things from me, hold me back, thwart whatever ambition or desire I had. It would claim lives, uncles, aunts, grandparents. It would claim hope. I would try and wrestle whatever I could from its ever expanding grip and further the cause of Me in every way I could. It’s a hard bastard, the Universe, but I was pretty sure I was equal of it. Every New Year’s Eve would see us taking stock of losses and gains. One of us would come out on top, the other would retreat to lick their wounds in that hovering moment of timelessness between this year and the next. Then it begins again. Sometimes I’d sleep through the change, so confident in my ability to come out victorious that I believed I could rest for 8 or so hours while the world was celebrating still being there. I was wrong, of course. If the Universe catches you sleeping on the job that’s as good as exposing your flank to an armoured cavalry division with laser guns and Me-Seeking Torpedoes. Never again.
However, after nearly 26 years of fighting my worthy adversary, it occurs to me that it’s time for a new approach. Peace in our time. I can’t nuke the Universe, like some one-man USA exacting atomic revenge on my aggressor. Pretty sure the Doctor would stop me. I can’t give in, either. It’s a pride thing. But maybe we can talk, the Universe and I. Maybe we can reach an agreement. Mistakes have been made on both sides. I, perhaps, have been too greedy in my yearly ambitions. The Universe, for its part, has been an unutterable capital-B Bastard. But for the cessation of hostilities, I’m willing to put it behind us. Start anew. The truth is, I love you, Universe. You’re big and shiny and full of mad stuff. You put a face on Mars just to mess with conspiracy nuts and you’ve laced metaphors all over yourself for me to contemplate long into my super extended phase of adolescent introspection. You’ve given me the moon, for which to shoot, and stars to always look at. Without you I wouldn’t have apples, from which apple pie is made of. And I love apple pie. Coffee beans, too. You saucy minx. I could list things all day, or until I got bored of it. Instead, I’ll write for you an ode to 2011. 20 things I learned, and 11 things I’m looking forward to. Here you are, you big, sexy expanding cosmic space of mentalness. It’s been a good fight, but it’s time to kiss and make up.
20 things I learned in 2011
1 – Drinking on New Year’s Eve when you have work the next day and a flu coming on is just the worst idea ever.
2 – People don’t notice if you fall asleep upright at your desk on New Year’s Day. Or if they do they don’t tell you.
3 – The comics industry still has some courage and daring. It’s not going anywhere.
4 – Always remember solicitor’s fees when you’re buying a house.
5 – Houses are expensive.
6 – Though not as expensive as babies, in the long run.
7 – Babies are worth every penny. Especially mine.
8 – Even a year on, a random, mental year at that, my girlfriend can still surprise me. I won’t say she’s the best girlfriend ever, but only because I learned that in November 2010.
9 – People are generous. Between house and baby, the help I received was enormous. Thank you, all.
10 – I think I like mussels and paella. And here I thought seafood was the one gastronomic area that was safe from me.
11 – I STILL love steak. It’s just amazing.
12 – You’re never too old to make new friends.
13 – And you’re never too far from the ones you’ve always had.
14 – Never – NEVER – trust the pictures on a holiday rental website. They don’t show you the suspiciously-like-a-brothel place outside.
15 – I’m actually really unfit.
16 – How long it takes to paint walls and a roof. Hint: Ages.
17 – Babies are FUNNY.
18 – I still get nervous before dates. (We have one tonight – Sherlock Holmes 2 or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?)
19 – The Conservative Party aren’t as bad as I thought. They’re so, so much worse.
20 – I’m much stronger than I think.
11 things I’m looking forward to in 2012
1 – My first day off. The festive period is EXHAUSTING.
2 – My first birthday with my son.
3 – Our second Valentine’s Day. I’m a sap, it’s documented, I’m OK with it.
4 – The Avengers, The Hobbit, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. AKAGeek Movie Heaven.
5 – Creating my first comic with a new friend. It begins.
6 – My son’s first birthday.
7 – Bruce Springsteen in Dublin, courtesy of a very tolerant girlfriend. Born to run, baby.
8 – Never saying “baby” in a sentence again.
9 – Watchmen prequels. Yeah, I’m that guy. Oh stop your complaining, you know you’ll buy it.
10 – Our second anniversary. See second sentence of #3.
11 – New Year’s Eve 2012. Just to prove the Mayans wrong.