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Blog // Thoughts
September 23, 2014

Make A Small Mark

We’ve all been there, the feeling that things seem to go from bad to worse, like we just can’t catch a break, get a win, or find even the smallest kind of success in what we do. We feel tempted to cry out; surely this is the bottom, surely it can’t go anymore downhill from […]

We’ve all been there, the feeling that things seem to go from bad to worse, like we just can’t catch a break, get a win, or find even the smallest kind of success in what we do. We feel tempted to cry out; surely this is the bottom, surely it can’t go anymore downhill from here?

The Queen used the latin phrase Annus Horribilis to describe her experience of 1992, which was a year full of tragedy and scandal for the royal family. While most of us don’t resort to Latin as a way to express our feelings, it is not uncommon, as we approach New Year’s Eve, to hear folks decry how terrible the year has been for them and express the coming year will be better.

2012 was a horrible year for me. Actually, to be precise, the period from the middle of October 2011, to the middle of May, 2012, was terrible. Looking back over previous difficult years, 2004, 1995, the pattern is the same. The “horrible year” was actually more like a really bad four to six months, rather than a whole 12 months.

In April of 2012, near the end of the bad season, I did a silly little thing and posed a question to myself, via my digital calendar (iCal). I made an entry for the same day, one year in the future and asked myself “are things better now?”

The answer was empathetically yes. In that year I had built a studio, redesigned my photographic workflow, grown a film review site, written and recorded an album and just learnt I would soon be moving to Tokyo! Sure, the intervening year had it’s fair share of frustrations and some of the issues which made the first part of 2012 painful didn’t just go away. But, life had changed.

If you are feeling down, then it’s a simple thing to set up an electronic question for yourself, three months, six months, or a year down the road. Resist the temptation to fill the question with goals and dreams (which might just turn out to be another source of disappointment). Instead, just leave the question open, allowing yourself room and freedom to reflect on whatever good, positive, or encouraging stuff has come into your life. Then make some time, in your own way, to be thankful for that and celebrate it.

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