Sometimes, being grateful is just enough…

In a year when a whole mess of things appear to have taken an unsavoury turn — some highly-regarded famous faces have passed on leaving marvellous legacies; the political landscapes locally and internationally have both gone what can only be described as ‘barmy’ — and there are a million and one blog articles teaching me how to hack my life into something better, I wanted to stop the world and take a step back. I want to reflect; I want to focus on everything that is going right, right now.

For a lot of things in 2016, I am grateful. Some of these things were of my own making, some were fortuitous circumstance. The common factor amongst all of them, though, is that I would not be where I am today without them. This post isn’t a brag, or at least isn’t meant to be; I just want to share things that have really made my 2016 into a milestone year.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for” — Epicurus

I am grateful for my work.

I have seen a lot of change in my working life in the last 12 months. I started the year in a mid-level-moving-to-lead design position working with a manager of whom I was very fond, a reality which quickly changed into an experience that was wholly unfulfilling and required change. I moved into another mid-level position which proved to be the wrong choice but confirmed something in me; I was capable and it was time to do what was good for me. I began working for myself but, after some deep consideration, found a new design family with whom I can face a whole new world of challenges. By not constantly looking for ‘the next best thing’ or by settling for whatever I had on my plate at the time, I found open doors in places that I never dreamed would be a reality.

I am grateful for every single conversation I have had this year.

The conversations have sometimes been exciting, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, and sometimes really very uncomfortable. Each one has given me insight, experience, and clarity to help get me to where I am today. I’ve met a number of interesting individuals this year, many of whom I am delighted to say I can call upon for a coffee and a chat in the future. Make the most of every conversation you have and remember the people you speak to.

I am grateful for my friends.

This year I have made a few connections with people who have given me pause from my daily routine, some who have helped me along my journey, and some who I can say without hesitation are now part of my life forever. Never take those people who come into your life for granted.

I am grateful for my family.

This year has been huge for my clan: we welcomed a daughter in February; my son — who has his own challenges with disabilities — has made some real leaps forward in the last 12 months; my wife, without whom I categorically could not have achieved what I have achieved, has found levels of tolerance and patience with me that I would not have expected from anyone. Having these people in my life is my reason to push myself; my reason to drive to reach just a little bit further. Every challenge, every stress-point, every new discovery is one more thing that makes me a better person.

Without sounding too saccharine or twee, I feel that we — as people; as professionals; as individuals — sometimes forget to stop and take stock. Yes, the wide landscape of things is full of faults, but that shouldn’t stop us from remember all the good things — big and small — that make us who we are.

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