I used to do the oddest thing when I was a teenager. On the cusp of a new year, I would record my resolutions and the top one was always ‘to be happy’. I laboured under the misapprehension that being happy was a feeling conjured out of thin air without any causality to the feelings of self-worth, emotions, or other factors that affect one’s life.

Being a curious child, I soon worked out that being happy was not a permanent state of being no matter how hard one tried. Only fleeting happiness came from going out with friends, eating a good curry or getting a good report card at school but the grind of life soon set in again.

Self-development has become a particular habit of mine in midlife. The Americans would probably term it as ‘finding yourself’. It is, actually, quite a fun pursuit even if on some days finding myself is as exciting as finding a needle in a haystack. But I persevere. Without a large dollop of self-awareness, what hope does one have of finding out what makes one tick on a sustainable basis? The alternative? Bleak misery seems about as attractive as having to attend a Tory party during a lockdown.

These days, in my 50s, I try and end a year on a high by noting down my achievements for the year. Granted that 2021 wasn’t the best of ones for me. My daughter left home. I became very depressed. Flunked 3 job interviews. Found the mediocre summer quite insufferable. Ate too much and exercised too little. To cap it all, I have put on weight in the last two weeks. Wretched Christmas eating and all that.

Forgive my rant but I want to remember 2021 for much more than what I have described. My daughter is enjoying life. I underwent coaching and was offered a catch of a job. The summer soon passed and I didn’t miss all that rain we had. I can always eat better and lose weight. Most of all, I still have breath in my body and every reason to hope for the best.

Do chart your achievements for 2021 and be laudatory of yourself. You have done far more than you think.