Well hello 2020! Hello everyone! Are you still feeling fresh? Is your mind a salubrious haven for wholesome thoughts and inspirations that will change you and the world around you for the better? Or do you already feel like a drifter’s sock? Damaged and full of holes. Stale and starting to stink a little and already sure it is time for change.

Apparently, today is National Sickie Day. A full month of mind crushing self-improvement to usher in a better year and you, is cast aside as Christmas depleted funds hit our account and we pillage the pub. Let’s Thelma and Louise it, put the pedal to the metal, flip ‘Blue Monday’ the bird and drive into February with a belting hangover. Not for me.

Last year was, for me relatively, a rough year. This year I didn’t make any resolutions. I have to say I feel better for it. Unrealistic goals inevitably being unrealised and becoming a new blunt instrument with which to self-flagellate. The environment has certainly benefited from the reduction of shredded ‘new leaves’. I’ve stopped hunting for the silver bullet that will fix everything.

However, and you probably did not notice this, I stopped writing about personal things and my situation. Despite the incredibly warm response I received and the more than expected number of people who said they had experienced similar feelings, I felt stupid and exposed. Just another self-indulgent voice in a cacophony of complainers. However, I look at where I was before I started Capture Happiness and where I am now and so much has changed for the better. Clearly, I come across as more cheerful as my Mother has started up again with her helpful life tips/digs. “Lose weight, grow your hair and grow up while you’re doing it. Make more money and for God’s sake find a wife.” So how have things changed?

  • I leave the house more. I may even be getting a shared workspace where I will have to converse with people daily. I do hope they like me and don’t steal my lunch box. Transformers. It’s the shit. Matching flask. They can keep the fruit.
  • My photography still remains very amateur but that is not the point and I am still getting a huge amount of joy out of it.
  • Searching for beautiful photos, stories of good news both on social media, the internet and in traditional new outlets has completely changed my relationship with media for the better.
  • I have reduced significantly (and am trying to stop entirely) trolling Cro-Magnon dimwits on social media. I have realised that eviscerating the stupid and bigoted is both easy and pointless. It also just winds you up. I now pick on nerds instead 🙂
  • I look up more and try not to bury my head in my phone. I even tried to smile at strangers as I encountered them on my travels. Unfortunately, I cannot smile on demand and deliver instead a slightly sinister grimace that perturbed commuters, so I have had to stick a pin in that.
  • I gave a talk. It was rambling and non-sensical but as I was talking about depression it didn’t really matter – people have to be nice. We have hopefully been invited to deliver a session and the mental health charity ‘Mind’ which is a huge validation of what we are trying to do.
  • I have met loads of new people which is a real elixir and fixer when you are feeling stuck in a rut. Some are hugely inspiring. Some are people who are suffering which is hard to see but confirmation that you are not alone.
  • I feel like I have a new lease of energy and I have had a seismic shift in perspective. The world now seems filled with stuff I want to do and not a whole load of things I can’t.

This is not a self a congratulatory ode to me. It is more effusive excitement that a simple project has changed the way I look at life. I am not under the illusion that I have a hoard of devoted readers – social media analytics are cruelly truthful in that way. I know I am far from fixed. However, it doesn’t matter. It’s a first step. 

To quote the poet Matt Goss Rome wasn’t built in a day and I definitely don’t have the time Rome did. For now, I will settle with building a small shed in which to store tools and materials so I can build something more meaningful in the future. So here is to a better 2020 and a final word from a statesman that I think we all miss now more than ever.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” 
― Barack Obama