As I get older, I notice a couple of things.
The change of seasons feels more important to me than it used to. The world turns, the leaves fall, and I notice it in a way that I never did when I was younger.
And another thing: you get older and you understand more of the bigger picture, but oddly the smaller and more personal things give you greater pleasure.
I’ve noticed both these things in recent weeks, as winter finally gave up its grip on Britain.
There have been plenty of reasons to be miserable.
Of course, winter’s always cold, but this has been beyond a joke.
And I was wrong in my post early in January – it did get wetter.
British “Summer Time” arrived as long ago as March. Feeling even more of a cruel joke than usual.
The country, and much of Europe and the world, has continued to be stuck in an economic downturn that still shows little sign of easing. Tough decisions have – surprise – turned a tough screw on poor and vulnerable people.
At work, some people I’ve known for years are leaving by choice. Others face losing their jobs unwillingly.
Over the winter, people I know and love have been ill and unhappy. Some have died. Too young, too soon.
After months of worry, the woman I love most went under the surgeon’s knife in February and for a few hours I wandered muddy fields in Kent, waiting for her to recover consciousness.
My beloved Reading Football Club have been relegated from the Premier League.
And yet we have a fantastic capacity for optimism. The sun has reappeared in recent days and leaves are back on the trees. Parks are carpeted with flowers.
And just that small thing made me feel absurdly cheerful, despite everything.
So, spring is here, and looking forward feels worth doing again.