The one where everything changes…

What an amazing year it’s been.

Unless 2017 somehow trumps 2016 (yes, that’s sort of a pun – with him as the ‘leader of the free world’ who knows what will happen), I think we’ll all remember 2016 for a long-time.

We’ve lost some of our biggest cultural heroes. I’ve lost at least two absolute heroes – Bowie and Prince.

What else… anything important… oh, I’m set to become a father for the first time at 45.

Yes. I know.

It’s amazing!

Amazing, exciting, terrifying, and just about every other emotion possible.

I’d given up on the possibility a long-time ago after a number of very painful failed pregnancies with my first wife.

It just became something I accepted. Some people have children, I wouldn’t. There are other things to do in life.

But then I met Bea who is a few year younger than me (she would want me to say ‘quite a lot’ of years younger but she’s not that much younger!)

And, after getting engaged, booking our wedding in the UK, booking the flights for all the Spanish part of the family (Bea’s side), we then find out Bea is pregnant and she wouldn’t be able to travel at that time…

So, eventually, we managed to change the date of the wedding, re-arrange the registrar, tell people the date had changed… except we didn’t check the flights.

And it turns out the flights people were set to take back to Spain on the Sunday evening after the afternoon wedding don’t fly in March…

Anyone got a private jet available on March 19th? 😉

We’ll have to see what we can do. Worst case we’ll have to change the date again, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous.

Work wise, it’s been pretty fantastic too. We’ve seen huge growth, as we have every year since starting in 2006, and despite new entrants to the market, we’ve had our best year ever. We know from customer feedback – rather than just wishful thinking – that this is largely because we are trusted to do a good job, our customer service is a point of pride to us, and customers know we’ve been in the market a long time and for the right reasons. We didn’t just to jump on a bandwagon hoping to get rich quick.

From my point of view, my diagnosis of sleep apnea at the start of the year has made a massive difference. It’s bizarre to think that this time last year I was stopping breathing on average 30 times an hour when I ‘slept’. It meant I wasn’t getting any real sleep and explains why I had so little energy and was falling asleep during the day.

But now I sleep with a CPAP mask and machine (which luckily I love using, unike some users) and my work life has changed dramatically. And as a bonus – I no longer snore, although to be honest they never bothered me that much… 😉

We’ve launched a new version of The Alcohol-Free Shop web site so it is finally mobile-friendly (yes, we’ve joined the 21st Century at last!) and that’s just the start of major improvements to our systems that will improve the working environment for our staff and our customers’ experience.

We’re also working on some amazing developments that will transform our business. More on that when I can talk about it. But I can say they are very exciting and 2017 could be one of those years when things really change dramatically.

So, all-in-all, 2016 has been a bit of a mixed bag globally but pretty amazing personally. I’m really looking forward to 2017!

I hope you and yours had a great year, or at least not the worst, and that 2017 is great for you too!

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