THE BLOG

2013: The Year of the Survivor

30/12/2013 12:44 GMT | Updated 28/02/2014 10:59 GMT

There are some years that just need to be forgotten.

Years in which so many things go wrong, don't work out or generally fall apart around us that even that famous phrase Annus Horribilis doesn't come close to describing 12 months of utter crap.

We all have them, but with any luck they are few and far between and most of us take each bump in the road as it comes.

But then sometimes, the universe empties its bowels from a spectacularly great height and delivers a year like 2013. Not just for one person, but for everyone.

Come 23:59 on December 31st, I will be kicking 2013 out of my life with vigour - and so will most people I know.

Never in my entire life I have I seen so many people I love, so many people I'm even just acquainted with, suffer as much as they have since January 1st of this year.

Economically of course the entire country is having a rough time, but the agony of this year appears to go far beyond the headlines we see in the news everyday.

People have been fighting for life, fighting to save loved ones and fighting to keep their heads.

Fighting to buy homes, fighting to rent homes, fighting to save businesses and fighting to save jobs.

I've seen friends struggle to keep careers and businesses going. I've seen people I love battling for their physical and mental health - and so far everyone has won.

That's why I hearby declare 2013 the year of the survivor.

Because we're all, despite the odds, still here.

Of course there is no question that some have not been able to keep fighting whatever fight they have had to face, and for those people my heart breaks.

But in order to not look back at 2013 as a year of tragedy, loss and bad news, I'm trying my hardest to focus on the fighting spirit it has caused so many of us to employ.

On the international platform, that iron will has been there for us all to see. Amanda Berry, Gina de Jesus and Michelle Knight who were miraculously rescued in Ohio after being kidnapped for a decade are perfect examples of survivors. As were those who managed to cling onto life after the typhoon in the Philippines, and those who got out alive after the terror attack at a Nairobi shopping centre. As is every single person who was told they may not see Christmas and were bloody well there on December 25th.

The image I have decided will sum up 2013 for me, is that of my friend Kate successfully trekking to the South Pole as part of the Walking with the Wounded expedition. Kate lost part of her leg when she was serving in Afghanistan in 2008. She was chosen to take part in the adventure of a life time, and 5 years after her life changed dramatically, she achieved something most of us can only dream of. She's a survivor, and made 2013 her own.

So if you are counting down the hours until 2014 because you've had a year you need to forget, then good luck and I wish you all the very best for the coming year.

And bloody well done. You got through 2013.