The Clean Air Act

I was driving home, listening to the news on the radio and only semi-engaged. I heard that the Chancellor was about to make a statement about the Autumn budget.  I wondered how that, at times, 'the news' delivers us content that is apparently of tremendous importance - but how much of it really is what we might call properly Historic?

That lead me to recall a book I own, a high level chronology of British History, by year and month in snippets of facts and headlines.  Some years have more to engage with than others, each snippet is expressed in a single one sentence line. The only occurrence of any consequence at all in 1202, for example, was 'the death Queen Eleanor widow of Henry II'. More recently, 1968 is headed simply 'The Clean Air Act'. January 1st sees 'C. Day Lewis appointed poet laureate', on January 15th 'twenty are killed in Scottish hurricane'.

I wondered whether what I was hearing on the radio, would make the page in that book. Then I wondered why I might want to record something, aside from assisting in the very act of remembering, what purpose is served and what are my selection criteria for an entry in the history book?

The end of the year is a traditional time for review, some questions to help us identify our own headlines for the year might be:
  • What single thing were you most pleased with?
  • What was the one thing you might have done better?
  • What was the greatest challenge you faced?
  • What did you change last year?
  • What was the greatest risk you took?
  • What was your greatest success?
  • What would you have done differently?
Select only a few questions, perhaps one or two of the answers might start to form your headlines or story for the year, tie it off a little, in an act of cleaning the air
  • How do you feel about the year overall?
  • What is the most valuable thing you have you learnt this year?
Looking ahead we can take this opportunity to imagine what we want next year's headlines and entries in the history book to be.  Perhaps we can identify some headlines that inspire us in some way, or reflect our hopes and dreams, again using some questions to inspire the headlines you want:
  • What one great thing am I going to try?
  • What one thing will I change?
  • What one thing will I do just for me next year?
  • What one thing will I achieve?
Spend some time with a cup of tea or go somewhere quiet and comfortable, ask yourself more and more questions and seeing what headlines emerge for you,  keep that headline in mind, refining it and improving it in purposeful reflection.


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