It’s almost a year since I thought of starting this blog, a year since the confluence of unexpected changes in my life made me take stock of its direction. Or its lack of direction.
I lost my job. I moved country. I traded the city for a rural village. I became a part-time, quasi-parent to my girlfriend’s two kids. And I decided to change career. All events that, in the months or years that preceded them, I could never have imagined. All new beginnings, fresh starts with blind hopes and fears.
I figured I would use the blog as something as a record of those changes. The diary of an Irishman adjusting to life in England. Or maybe a city boy transposed to country life. Or perhaps the travails of redundant career-changer in an increasingly intractable recession. But I never made a choice, and I never did get started.
A year on, things are still in a state of flux and uncertainty, and I’m rebeginning. Again. Just qualified, I’m starting out to try to be a journalist, in this hostile, post-Leveson era, and feeling the daunting uncertainty just as much as ever. So the idea of the blog is still relevant.
But it is not just about me. Everywhere, old certainties are faltering. Unexpected, unimagined events are redrawing the maps and rewriting the rules we took for granted. The global financial system collapsed through the myopic greed of bankers, lenders and politicians. The pervasive power of the Murdoch media monster suddenly succumbed to its own hubris. The desparation of a market vendor triggered a revolution that brought down governments. Without warning and with breathtaking speed, everything changed, changed utterly, and continues to change. Yet in each case, there is the potential for a new start, a different approach, a rebeginning.
On a personal level, and as a citizen of this interconnected world, these are fascinating, enthralling and terrifying times to be living and writing in. Through all my own changes and uncertainties and rebeginnings, there’s been one thing I have known for certain, and that is that want to write. I need to.
Immediately after I lost my job, I took some time out to walk the Camino de Santiago – 1,000 kilometres from the mountains to the sea. I’m not religious, but I like the idea of being a pilgrim, of travelling at the speed of my own two feet and living with nothing more than I could carry. But in reality, that’s not who I am. A pilgrim has a direction and a destination. I’m more of a drifter and an aimless wanderer, starting out again and again, not knowing where I’m going and getting nowhere.
This blog might be that attempt to impose some direction, to take notice of all the rusted signs I’ve ignored throughout my life. I won’t worry about the destination, because if all these rebeginnings of the last year have taught me nothing else, you can never be sure where you will end up. Not that that’s any excuse for not making the journey.
So here goes…