Around this time, people across the country will be reflecting on what they achieved in 2008. It's a yearly ritual I'm often a bit reluctant to carry out, for fear that I haven't really moved on much in the last twelve months. But not this year.
Skipping back, almost to the beginning of January, I found myself on a desolate, wind swept, ex-RAF base on the eastern tip of Essex. I'd gone there, in place of my day job at Ford, to write an article on the Piper GTR track day car. The wind was icy cold, but I couldn't care less. I was about to step into a mid-engined sports racer for the first time, write one of my first 'proper' articles and experiment with my new digital SLR. Life was good.
The following month was dominated by the arrival of the TVR. It was the first time I'd really gone out and searched the country for a pristine example of anything. The long, loud, top-down drive back from Humberside set the tone for disrupting the peace of the countryside and, the best part of a year later, I remain utterly chuffed with the purchase.
There was a brief return to normality before things went into overdrive in the spring. In May I attended my first work placement at MSN Cars in London. The following month I had the great pleasure of revisiting them for the Lotus Elise versus Honda S2000 twin test, not to mention attending Autocar's drift school at Silverstone and acquiring my own garage (to secrete yet more cars in) with the new house. The pace didn't slacken for July and August either, which saw me attend further work placements at Evo and Autocar, carry out my first proper road test with the mighty AMS Murtaya and apply for my first fulltime job in journalism.
And so, in September, between road tripping around South Wales and making my first pilgrimage to the Nurburgring, I made the switch from automotive engineering to writing. It's since led me to Modenna, Maranello, Cologne and Florida to name a few. As predicted, it has entailed at least twice as many working hours and rather less than half as much pay, but you know what? I'm hooked.
If this sounds self-indulgent (even more than usual...) then that's because it is. I've marked too many New Year's Eves with the dull realisation that I haven't moved on in any meaningful way, but this time I feel justifiably proud of what I've achieved: Nought to journalist in sixty weeks... here's to maintaining that momentum.