A New Year brings with it the opportunity to start afresh, nothing more, nothing less. For many it’s a time to reflect on the year that has just passed & look forward to the New Year with renewed hope & faith.
Never has this been truer than in this city. What a Year!! A year that will be remembered as the one that our city came tumbling down, it has truly left it’s mark on both the city & on many, many of lives of those living in it.
If we Cantabrians thought that in saying goodbye to 2010 it would be the end of a tough year, nothing prepared us for what 2011 was about to bring. It simply paled into insignificance.
On a city level many have spent the year mourning the loss of loved ones & friends, the loss of homes, jobs, incomes, schools & security. Many have left because they’ve had to & many because they felt they couldn’t go on living here.
The face of the city has changed almost beyond recognition. Once known for some of the best heritage buildings in the country - the majority have now gone, as have so many of the amenities we often took for granted. Everywhere you look people seem to be running out of the resilience we Cantabrians are said to have.
On a personal level the changes have been pretty profound as well. Job loss, health issues, upheaval & the loss of more family members & family friends in the last 10 months than in the preceding 5 years. One almost has to wonder if the stress hastened them.
All of that said, it has also brought out the best in people. From the volunteers & groups that continue to help out through to the thousands of complete strangers showing each other a kindness, helping neighbours to clean up the silt resulting from liquefaction (yet again!) to a friendly pat on the arm, an “are you ok? “ or a hug. New connections have been made and a deeper understanding of what it is like for others going through this has been formed.
Even though we are all completely & utterly “over it” ( a nice 5.1 mag rolled through a few minutes ago as I was typing this & I’ve now lost my train of thought…again!) we’re still here, stronger, wiser, more compassionate people because of it & right now I wouldn’t change that for anything.
If nothing else the last year has made me realise that no matter what is happening in your life, no matter how bad it may seem – you are not the only one going through it.
The New Year may not make a difference in the physical sense – but with the right attitude, & a whole heap of positive outlook it is a time to look forward & plan toward new hopes, new joys & new beginnings. A clean slate, a blank canvas full of wonderful unlimited potential….
This sunflower has reached it’s full potential simply because no one told it that it was meant to be a dwarf sunflower ;)