Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Gratitude

Life is full of ups and down. We learn through experience that we must take  the good with the bad. No one is immune to the ebb and flow of life's tide. How these highs and lows balance out often determines for us how we classify a particular year - was it a 'good' year or a 'bad' year.

It would be quite easy for me to classify 2011 as a personal 'annus horribilis'. Several years of extreme stress (though I didn't recognise it as such) finally took their toll. I could write many paragraphs about that. I could also write much about how that is now turning around for me - how I am ending the year in a much better place than when I started it. Perhaps those stories are best left till another time.

For now, at Christmas, the important thing for me is to recognise and thank all those who have helped me this year. First and foremost - my family. Knowing there are people behind you who understand you, love you and support you unconditionally is a wonderful thing. At a very practical level, through encouragement from my wonderful wife, I discovered the joys of photography last summer. We now share a hobby that gets us both out and about, spending more time together and enjoying our marvellous countryside. Often, it's just the simple things that help the most.

Widening the circle, I re-discovered (or perhaps really discovered for the first time) the meaning and value of true friends - those people in your life who will go the extra mile with you and for you. They are rare treasures indeed.

Widening further, while some are sceptical about social media such as Twitter, I have to say I am privileged in the past year to have come to know so many great people in my little corner of the Twitterverse. It has been a joy to witness, through initiatives such as #twitterxmassingle and #depressionhurts, how the medium of Twitter is being used as a power for good in our community. These, along with the ordinary, everyday, friendly exchanges in 'twitter village' have been very uplifting for me throughout the year. I'm not quite sure how I came to follow so many good-hearted people - perhaps it's serendity!

For all the help and support I have received this year, in so many ways from so many people - thank you!

So, as I end 2011, would I still classify it as an 'annus horribilis'? Yes I would, overall. To do otherwise would be failing to recognise the place I was in. However, I sense a phoenix arising from the ashes and as 2012 beckons I am very optimistic that it has great potential to be an 'annus mirabilis'

Wishing you, one and all, a Very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2012.

PS - I promise the next blog post will include a photograph!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Hello and welcome to my blog.

Wow - my first blog sentence. I never thought I'd get this far! The thought of starting a blog is one that I've entertained on and off for several years. I am, however, a procrastinator by nature and therefore it never happened. Then gradually, through the past year, I discovered some of the people I follow on Twitter had their own blogs. This encouraged me to revisit the idea of starting one of my own. So, naturally, I decided to delve into their blogs to see what I could learn.

The main thing I discovered is that their blogs are each unique, entertaining, informative and all brilliant in their own way. Oh dear - how could I ever live up to that standard? Procrastination set in again. Then the first penny dropped. I don't have to live up to any 'standard'. All I have to do is be myself. I think I can just about manage that!

I have to say, when I floated the idea of starting a blog among some of my Twitter friends I received nothing but encouragement. So take a bow, Tweeps - this blog is largely due to the fact that you didn't say "stop - don't do it"!!! 

So today, I pen my first blog post. As I started it, I was already trying to think how I might follow it up. What would I write about? How would I make it interesting enough for people to visit and read on an ongoing basis? Then the second penny dropped (I never could hold on to money!). I've recently decided to undertake a year-long project in 2012 and I am sure it will provide ample scope for future blog posts.

That's it for now. Just a short introductory post. I hope you will re-visit and please do leave comments. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Oh - I forgot to expand on my idea for future posts. Ah, not enough time for that now. All will be revealed in a future post. See - you'll just have to come back to find out what I have in mind!!