It's the close of 2015, and I'm conscious of endings right now.
I'm now 50, and could if I wished see my life in two halves, each lasting a quarter century.
The first of those ended with the death of my brother Nigel.
That was about as ugly an exit from life as you can imagine, and typical of many young men - he was in his early 20s, a couple of years younger than me - that a car was involved in what happened.
The effects of Nigel's death were many and varied, for me and for our parents. And one realisation for me was that I had no intention of spending my working life in the world of advertising, which is what I was doing at an ad agency in London at that point. About three months after he was killed, the agency I worked for made a third of its staff redundant. I was the only one to leave with a smile on my face.
That smile is there still, though it's been by no means a fixed feature in the second half of my story to date. That should maybe be stories, since one impact of my brother's death was that I decided to have a good go at writing things that I was passionate about, and not whatever an agency account handler needed doing that week.
Fortunately, it's all working out pretty well. I can't go into the details at this point, but I have every reason to believe that my commitment to writing has taken off in a very interesting way. Next year, I'll find out for sure, both about that big unnamed project, and another one that excites me and also represents a step forward for me as a scriptwriter.
Two people I know and like a great deal are experiencing health problems at the moment. They're both exceptional women who have a knack for being themselves in situations where the majority of people settle for 'me too' and choose not to stand out.
There's every chance they'll both recover and be back on their feet in no time. (Behind me, from the stereo, the lyrics that accompanied my last sentence - 'Just close your eyes, I'll tell you when everything's fine'. Thank you Mastodon.)
This is it.
We only get one shot at whatever it is we want to do.
And we're already however many years into that process, on a rock that's spinning through space, the inhabitants of which spend much of their time swapping pictures of kittens to make ourselves forget about just whatever is happening in Syria, and it's OK you can always watch the new Star Wars if kittens just aren't doing the job...
This. Is. It.
So, what are you going to do with the time you have? About the dreams that you talk about as the second bottle of wine is opened? About the opportunities you wish you'd pursued but have told yourself are long gone now? About the future you talk about with someone you love, aware even as you chat that the conversation is a placebo, and hoping you can get by with that...
2016 can be the latest in a series if you wish. There'll be some good bits, and some lousy ones, and much of it will wash past, one day indistinguishable from another.
It doesn't have to be like that.
On Saturday January 16, I'll be leading a workshop that's all about making 2016 the best it can be for you. It'll be a stretch for us all, myself included, but stretches are how you go beyond where you're comfortable and get into uncharted territory. We'll be looking at making things happen and creating new habits and what it means to act from that best part of yourself on an ongoing basis. We'll be in central Nottingham, and you can find the details by checking out this link.