Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In The Moment

The lead-in to summer 2011 was not a good time for me. Several years of stress and strain were about to take their toll and my mind was saying “enough”. Things improved over the summer, thanks largely to support of family and friends.

Fast forward to Christmas and year end - a time of year when it is natural to look backward on what has been and to look forward to what one hopes the future may hold. This is where the wheels came off a bit. Looking backward just raised questions to which I may never get the answers. Probably best not to dwell on it then. What of the future? Well, I was struck by an interview on Jan 2nd with Prof. Richard Tol of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). It turns out he has decided to up sticks from Ireland and head to the UK. He believes that austerity in Ireland will not last 4 years – more like 10-15 years. Probably best not to think too much about the future either, although my heart goes out to all, especially our young people, who are forced by economic circumstances to move overseas and also to their families who watch them go.    

So I’ve decided for the New Year to try to live just in the moment. It won’t be easy. There will be reminders of the stresses I’ve had over the past few years. At least now I know these are potential ‘trigger points’ for me so hopefully I will be able to deal with that. It will be impossible to avoid hearing about the future, especially from the ‘doom and gloom’ merchants. Ok – maybe they are right and we are in for a period of prolonged austerity. Our ancestors survived worse, and so will we. As individuals, our span of control in these matters is quite limited. What we can control is how we deal with it. I’m going to deal with it by not worrying about it – which is going to be a challenge for a natural worrier!

So, what’s going to keep me grounded ‘in the moment’? I believe my new-found interest in the form of photography is going to help me a lot with that. When I’m out with the camera I spend so much time thinking about my surroundings and the potential shots I can take that I don’t have time to worry or analyse anything else! And what else is photography other than capturing the moment – not the past, not the future but the absolute here and now. Fail to get the shot and it’s gone forever. That exact moment will never happen again.

To ensure I spend adequate time engaged in my pursuit, I’ve signed up for a ‘52’ project. That means submitting one photo a week on a specific theme for the duration of 2012. I can’t wait to submit my first photo at the end of this week. I’ll post a link to my ‘52’ here on my blog once I have posted the first picture. I’m hoping that some of the shots will inspire future blog posts – note - hoping, but not worrying!

Unfortunately, New Year’s Day doesn’t count in the particular ‘52’ project I signed up for, as Week 1 began at 00:00 on Jan 2nd. However, the particular photo I wanted to accompany this blog post is one I took on January 1st. It was at the Bray Charities Sea Swim. This annual event, organised by Bray Lions Club, has been going for 28 years and has the dual purpose of having some festive fun while raising funds for local charities. Over the years, the event has realised more than €250,000 for a long list of worthy local causes. Around 200 swimmers took part this year and proceeds are going to Bray St. Vincent de Paul.

Why did I choose this particular photo? Firstly, I like the expression on Frank’s face (and the colour of his towel, which originally attracted me to the shot). What I didn’t realise at the time is the great back-drop of the crowd. It shows what a community event the sea swim is – people straining to see or to catch a shot of a family member, neighbour or friend brave enough to take to the water. I’ll bet all those swimmers were ‘in the moment’ as they plunged in to the cold waters of the Irish Sea!

A very Happy New Year to you all  :)


  1. Hey, good to see you here in Blogland! I've often wondered about that Bray swim, great to see how well it's supported.

    Yes, scary times ahead. I saw the tweet on that report but chose to ignore it. That's how I'm gonna cope!

    I hope your singing and photography help you stay strong in 2012. It is always good to have interests.... and to share ou feelings ;-)

    xx Jazzy

  2. Great post John, I've decided that I'm gonna try live more in the moment this year too.

  3. Well written & positive post John. And full of common sense. Sometime in 2010 I think that Paul & I realised the only way we were going to survive this recession was to do just as u are. Live in the moment. So right now/today we are fine. We have enough. We are fine. No looking back. No fretting about the future. And perhaps this is exactly the lesson of this period. To learn to live in the now. Echart tolle has a great book on this topic. The Power Of Now of I remember correctly.

  4. I have learned after a long battle with illness this year to live for the moment to. My life was very nearly cut short this year. This i will appreciate the joy of the moment more. Welcome to blogging John.

  5. Great post John and lovely to meet you today. I totally agree about forgetting the doom and gloom and just focus on what's important to each individual. As you've said, previous generations have lived through so much worse. So why not spend our time pondering on the things we love; photography, writing etc and let that take up our valuable time instead of the things we have absolutely no control over. I switch off the doom and gloom merchants and rudely (normally not like me, I hope!) cut off the doom and gloom conversations - I DON'T WANT TO KNOW! Look forward to your future blogs and photo's, John. :o)