Joy & love & gratitude & kindness

Happy new year, gentle reader. Welcome to 2023. Welcome to today. How will you approach this new year? How will you approach this new day?

Today is the start of a new year. Today is also a day just like any other. Today offers you just as many choices, chances and opportunities as yesterday did, and as tomorrow will.

Today is the day on which your life could change, for better or for worse. 

How will you approach this new year? How will you approach this new day in your life?

I enter this new year clear-eyed and optimistic. I have no idea what the next 12 months will bring.

My life has changed beyond all recognition over the past 12 months.

Last year was difficult for me. A testing and transformative year. I am thankful that I survived. I am thankful for the lessons I learnt along the way. 

A year ago today (on Saturday 1 January 2022), I could never have guessed what 2022 would hold in store for me. Over the course of last year, I found myself on an unexpected and ongoing mental health journey. I bid a fond farewell to my place of work after 21 years. I underwent a major and enforced dietary change due to a health issue (losing a fair bit of weight that I probably didn’t need to lose in the process).

A month ago today (on Thursday 1 December 2022), the extent of this transformation in my life started to fall into some kind of perspective. It took the company of an old friend for it all to become clear.

Seated at a window table at the BFI Southbank’s Riverfront restaurant, catching up with my lovely friend Tash*, it struck me just how many aspects of my life had been subject to profound change in 2022. So much of the life that I knew has fallen away, to make way for whatever is next.

Autumn leaves

4X5 original

At one point, while Tash was away from the table, I looked out of the window to take in the world as it moved past my eyes in that moment. A bitterly cold day on the banks of the Thames, but one bathed in beautiful winter sunshine. The occasional autumn leaf drifting down to the riverside in the harsh December gust, fleetingly framed by a beautiful wreath of pink flowers atop a vessel moored on the river’s far side.

Tears filled my eyes as I took in the constantly-changing beauty of life in that moment.

How do you feel when you see autumn leaves** falling?

The autumn leaves have finished their run. They fall from the tree, making way for what is next.

All this is not an ending. Rather, it is setting the stage for a new beginning. 

Do it with joy and love and gratitude and kindness


Today is the start of a new year. Today is the day on which your life could change, for better or for worse. 

How will you approach this new year? How will you approach this new day in your life?

Towards the end of last year, I chanced upon some wonderful words that any of us might do well to keep in mind, for this new year or for any day in life. They were spoken by musician, DJ and all-round lovely gent David Holmes, in his recent Disco Pogo interview. Holmes says:

“I’m all about leaving your ego at the door. And just remembering we’re all just fucking… we’ve all got one go at this. Let’s just live our lives and help each other get through this thing. Whatever it is, to quote Kurt Vonnegut. I just want to do it with joy and love and gratitude and kindness and not be a dick.'”

If you are able, do all that you do with joy and love and gratitude and kindness.

May you be nothing but kind today, to others and to yourself.

May today be nothing but kind to you and yours.



  • Mental health (NHS) Information and support for your mental health from the NHS.
  • Information and support (Mind) Resources from Mind, the UK mental health charity.
  • NAMI Homefront (NAMI) Online resources from US charity NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
  • SANE Australia Visit the site of this “national mental health charity making a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues”.


* I wrote more about this day in London in Re-entry.

** Those two words “autumn leaves” always bring to mind a favourite piece of music, which I first heard 30 years ago, in early 1993. Every time I listen to Autumn Leaves by Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley, time seems almost to come to a standstill. It is quite possibly the most beautiful and most soothing piece of music that there has ever been (in my opinion. I am always happy to be in a minority of one when it comes to opinions). What music brings out such feelings in your good self?


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