2011 has been significant for me. I've found my voice. I know where I stand. I'm on solid ground. For the most part this has come from distilling many of my thoughts and ideas, and then throwing them out there by way of this blog.
I started in April. A bit tentative, a bit uneasy, and over the past few months I've hit my stride and become increasingly able to be as candid as I wanted to.
This has sometimes caused offence. Sometimes provided a laugh or two. Above all, if the feedback I get counts for anything its got one or two of you thinking about things in new ways. And even if I haven't swayed anybody into changing opinion I've at least got folks engaging with a few alternative ideas.
I've penned almost 240 of these now. I've covered a whole range of subjects ranging from religion, sex, obesity , riots, and even Kate Middleton's choice of hosiery. In every sense this blog is a thing of chaos, a reflection of the things I think about. I never went into this with a game plan or any particular agenda; I just wanted to think out loud and invite others to have a peep inside my world. You've probably noticed that's its disorderly and eccentric, and I expect the perception many have of me has changed. You'll know by now that I distrust religion whilst holding many religious friends in high esteem; or that I adore exploring sexuality and discussing taboo issues such as bondage, role play, and masturbation. You'll know I'm contemptuous of rioters without down playing the social morass that creates the conditions for them, and that I consider excess alcoholism and obesity to be real problems largely caused by individual life choices. My position on free speech is that it's the one sacred thing we truly have, and I stand squarely against every last person who wishes to remove rights that have been hard earned, often in the blood and tears of incredible people. Perhaps above all you'll understand that for me evidence trumps faith every day, and science is the truest and most concise tool we have for understanding the world and our place in it.
As for next year, well who knows? I'm going to be starting a new job, and that's going to stretch me in new and challenging directions. The rest is all up for grabs. I don't know where the road is going to lead. Plans are all well and good but life can untangle them rudely, so whatever I do I'll never take a thing for granted.
Finally, I want to thank those of you who have taken time to read this. This blog has now received several thousand page views, and numbers appear to be gradually rising. Thank you for taking time out of your day to engage with this thing; I hope I've made you laugh and think and perhaps even shake your fists from time to time. The hunt for universal popularity is one of the most wasteful aspirations a human being can have, and I've long since decided that I'd take being interesting over being popular any day of the week.
I'll leave it to you to decide whether this year constitutes the proverbial mission accomplished.
Happy Christmas fellow denizens of planet Earth. And a happy new year.