This is a personal exercise. Indulge me. Or perhaps you want to join in? Feel free to treat this as a meme, and do your own review of the decade (2000-2009) in the comments or on your own blog.
2000. I returned to my native Canada for the first time since my family emigrated, in 1983. I spent 10 weeks with my aunt in the tiny, but beautiful BC town of Princeton.
2001. I graduated from Regents Theological College with a 2:1 in Biblical-Theological Studies. In May I returned to Princeton and became Associate Pastor of a small Pentecostal church.
2002. I had moved on from Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity, and was beginning to balk at evangelicalism, too. My relationship with the Senior Pastor was difficult. I made some wonderful friends in Princeton, but it was time to move on. I left in September to take up an internship at a small evangelical church on Bowen Island, off the West Vancouver coast. My ancestors (the Davies family) were among the first settlers there, my mom grew up there and I still had cousins and aunts there. I loved the place and the people, but I couldn't live off the modest stipend, and found it hard finding other work.
2003. I was stressed and broke. I had no choice but return to England in February. In May I was confirmed an Anglican. I joined my local parish church and began singing in the choir. In September I enrolled for a PGCE at Edge Hill College in Lancashire, and began teaching Religious Education and Citizenship.
2004. My PGCE was going formidably. After a shaky start, I was receiving consistently good reviews from my mentors and tutors. As the school year came to an end, however, I let myself down. I wrote great applications, but my nerves were my downfall in interviews and observations. I attended several day-long interviews for teaching posts, but unlike most of my peers, who found jobs within the first two or three attempts, I was left floundering, progressively stressed and depressed. My dear aunt visited us that summer for three months. Her health was deteriorating and it would be the last time I ever saw her. In September I began work as a substitute teacher, and by the end of the month I secured a one-year post teaching RE at a Catholic school. There, for various reasons, things went from bad to worse.
2005. By February I was at my lowest point. Teaching was going badly. I was so stressed, I would frequently stop on my way to the station to vomit or to cry. Then one chilly winter's morning I couldn't take it any longer. It was 6am and I was sat at my desk at home, the sweat pouring off me. I phoned in sick that day. And the next. And the next. Eventually I was signed off indefinitely by my doctor, and my resignation followed. I did not want to return to the classroom. But the best possible thing had happened: I had told my doctor about my depression and anxiety. I got help and for the first time in years I had self-confidence. There was literally a spring in my step. I began to write - about faith, fundamentalism, film. I got a job as a writer-researcher for 63336, then known as AQA. I joined my old schoolfriend Robert Howard in pioneering the Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts. In the spring of that year, at the age of 27, I took a step I never dreamed I would have the courage to take: I came out gay. I dated a lovely guy for a while, but it fizzled out.
2006. I had my first serious relationship since 1997. By the time it got serious, Tim had moved to Edinburgh, and it was to be a long-distance relationship, with us taking it in turns to travel between Edinburgh and Liverpool every other week to spend the weekend. It was demanding, but it helped that I loved the city. The Prescot Festival continued to grow under Robert as Artistic Director and myself as Assistant Director. I had a few writing successes, with a feature article published in Third Way magazine and a commission to contribute to a book called Leaving Fundamentalism.
2007. My aunt from Princeton died in January, aged 77. I was devastated. It was the closest death had ever touched me. In August I was Best Man at Robert's wedding. The Festival was still growing, and ran to 10 days for the first time. The star guest was actress Honor Blackman, performing her one-woman show. Nevertheless, I planned to leave Prescot for Edinburgh, to be with Tim. It would most likely be in summer 2008 - but eventually it was not to be. We broke up in October. I was gutted, but hopeful for the future.
2008. The Prescot Festival was big this year, as Liverpool was the official European Capital of Culture. I was resigned to being single, and actually quite content with it, eager to invest my time and commitment in my writing and the Festival. But I met someone online and it soon became clear it would be a lasting relationship. Hours of conversations turned into plans for me to return to Canada.
2009. The year began with a bang. My mother had a severe nervous breakdown and spent almost four months in hospital. Robert was also having a tough time, but we somehow got through yet another successful Festival. It was to be my last, however. In September I moved to St Catharines, Ontario, to be with Chris. With freedom from other commitments and a new sense of independence, my writing career has finally taken off. In October I was published by The Guardian (online), and again in November. I have other writing projects lined up. I've supplemented my income with copywriting. The year began badly, but it's ended successfully.