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Photograph by Gordon Esler. A couple caught in the snow in the 17th-century Greenwich Naval College, London. To the right, shrouded in mist, is the River Thames.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

– Robert Frost

Greetings bloggers, and readers! Hope you all had a good Christmas and a delightful New Year day. If you didn’t, then I’m sorry about that, and hopefully it will get better this year. It’s been a while and I have been experiencing a Shakespearean winter of discontent. In some ways it was the end of discontentment and in some ways, just plain ice cold discontentment. 2013 was an important year and in its final months I struggled to make sense of a lot of things that occurred in the year. But there is nothing like seeing everything in lucid reflection and being able to understand things more clearly and concisely.

I managed to learn something new everyday, or rather life taught me something everyday, almost everyday. When you add it all up at the end of a year, you realise that living and learning is the best education you will ever receive. Last year I learned a lot about loyalty in friendship – that apart from brand loyalty, not many people really know what the word ‘loyalty’ really means. It has become a strange and an unknown word, but after all it is a strange world where everyone is more or less is unknown to us. This same realisation, made me want to treasure my true loyal friends even more.

I reconnected with such an old friend who I lost touch with for several years thanks to my desire to be a recluse. And in doing so, I was reminded again of the best advice I received in life – ‘it is what it is’. Although ‘it is what it is’ is very much a straightforward statement, there are times when we refuse to believe or understand things as they really are. We sometimes look for an alternative explanation in order to make the truth taste a little less bitter. I guess we all want to believe in something that is greater and better than the stone cold truths. In the past I have paid too much attention to the nuance of human condition, I was looking for the best in every human being, hoping to find a ray of light even in the darkest places of their hearts, and suddenly hearing this phrase again, made me want to be less obsessive about trying to look for things that probably do not exist.

2013 was also a year when I revisited my childhood past and some of the happiest times of my life. This revisit helped me rekindle not only friendships but also the excitement for the things I was passionate about. They were like dying embers and I think I saved them from turning into ashes and traces of a more sensible me.

However, 2013 was not the year I hoped to have closure with my emotional engagements. It wasn’t the year where I resolved my emotional issues, and according to professionals of the tradition, they are still unresolved. I doubt they ever will be otherwise, but I’m hoping that I will want to do less with those issues and occupy myself in the things that made me happy prior to losing myself in the tempest and turmoil.

The past taught me a lot about human nature and how rapidly and unexpectedly people change, how they go from being a friend to being an enemy in a heartbeat. However, last year, I got the opportunity to see that not every human is alike and there is still hope for those of us who champion humane qualities among humans.

In summing up the good and the bad, the pleasant and unpleasant experiences, I wanted to sound wiser, however, I gave that job to the rightly deserving Robert Frost. His words at the beginning reminded me of a post I wrote last year called “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.” In conclusion, the lessons I learned this year about human nature, friendship, love and self are far too important to merely leave aside as typicality of life, and the greatest mistake I can commit is to allow them to be forgotten.