2013 seems to have been a year of transitions. Here in the UK, it has seen us moving from economic misery to something that may be economic happiness (at least until next time). Less seriously (or more seriously, depending on how you look at life) Dr Who regenerated. The Pope regenerated too and we're all looking forward to seeing how the new pontiff leads his church forward. Hopefully he will only have to face a deeply conservative Vatican establishment, rather than the Daleks - though he might well find the Daleks less scary.
Thanks to Edward Snowden I now know that this blog has even more readers than I thought (*waves to nice man in the NSA*) and we can expect the after-shocks of those revelations to rumble on for a while.
In Afghanistan, UK and US troops continued to pack up, ready for a withdrawal that should see fewer UK soldiers come home in coffins in 2014. I wish I could say that this transition will finally come to an end in 2014, but it won't. UK and US military involvement (aka "training" and "support" of local forces) will continue, but hopefully on a scale that will keep the number of our deaths down. I'd love to say that 2013 was a transition year to something better for Afghans too, but it wasn't. It was a transition to something far worse. I'm writing this here in the hope that you can all laugh at me and say how wrong I was at the end of the year, but I really, really doubt that.
Nelson Mandela's death was also a transition moment. Its impact may have been purely symbolic, but it marked the passing of an era. We do not know what the future holds for South Africa but it will be different from its past and Mandela's legacy is that we can all hope its future will be brighter than anyone could have imagined before his presidency.
This started as a quick 'Hello and Happy New Year' because the laws of the blogosphere seem to suggest that I have to write that. Then it somehow got much more serious than it was meant to. But that's the good thing about new years: they make you look back and think about the twelve months that led up to them. And I still think that 2013 was not, in itself, a great year, but it's one that offers some hope that 2014 could be special.
Part of the reason for my optimistic mood is some good news that I got at the very end of 2013. It's news that I'll share with everyone as soon it's all confirmed. Keep reading the blog and I'll let you know as soon as I can. I'm thinking that, for one author, 2014 could be a very good year indeed.
Happy New Year, everyone.