And I have experienced pretty much every emotion a human being is capable of. Grief, joy, excitement, loneliness, anxiety, hope, fear, pride... they've all washed through me at different periods and left me stronger for being there.
But now it's the end of the year and, quite frankly, I'm exhausted. And I've noticed something interesting. I don't seem to be capable of intense emotions right now. I feel quite disconcertingly calm, a sensation I am not really used to. (It's nice, by the way. I recommend it.)
Artist's Impression Of My Brain This Year
This is what I've learned. I think we all have an emotion quotient, an intensity and range of feelings that can be experienced in any given period. And once we use them up, we just naturally shut down a little - go into emotional hibernation, as it were - until we recharge.
And no doubt our emotion quotient runs in cycles. It is probably normal to wind down around Christmas time, when the pressures of the year have ended, and we can focus on our own wellbeing.
Of course, for many people Christmas is extremely emotionally loaded. For those people, the emotion quotient might not be drained until the new year. But for people like me, for whom Christmas is just another day, it has well and truly started.
So here's to recharging my emotional batteries, and you recharging yours. And getting ready for another exciting and challenging year ahead.
But perhaps not quite as exciting and challenging as this one has been. I may need another decade or two for that.