Perhaps a more poignant reflection for the end of 2018. It has been a difficult year in many ways, but by no means the worst I’ve ever experienced. I would say “bittersweet” with the start of 2019 looking like beginning with a bright future right now. January started as any other did – I had plenty of work and no reason to believe that would change for a very long time.
My partner got ill at the beginning of the year, an illness that would have her signed off sick until the late summer. For my part, I was juggling running a business and playing house-husband and carer for a bit. I also had the sudden loss of a big client to deal with in the spring after losing big client number one about a year before. That led to a lot of worry about what would happen next. I admit it was difficult. There was a lot of stress and anxiety but I had the safety net of my last remaining big client and a pool of smaller clients.
And then I got ill. Three times with a bladder infection. Each time it meant I had to rest for a bit. The first lasted a few days but the subsequent two lasted several weeks and I had to slow down in a big way, cancel work and push some back. I ended up having to take two weeks off of work throughout the year due to illness. As a freelancer, if you don’t work, you don’t get get paid. You most certainly don’t get Statutory Sick Pay.
But we both bounced back. The client who cancelled our working arrangement recommenced in the summer but nowhere near as much content. At about the same time, my partner went back to work and is now happier than ever in the job. I managed to attract a few new clients while hearing back from some I’d had no contact with in quite a while. In the middle of all this, I bought my first DSLR camera with an idea to expand into photographic art and stock photos. I already have a stock portfolio at Alamy and selling photographic printed products through Red Bubble (now closed) but 2019 will be the year that I take it to the next level.
Towards the end of the year, two things reminded me of my own mortality as I head further into my 40s. An internet friend passed away after battling lung cancer for two years. She was just two years older than I am. The second was not so drastic. Last week, I had my first eye test in about 20 years. My short-range eyesight had been deteriorating for months. I was increasingly having to turn the brightness up and work with blurry vision that extra light could not alleviate. The lengthy eye test result came out that I need nothing more than simple reading glasses but with the added note that I may need vari-focals in two years time. I picked them up yesterday. Here they are…
I’m not gutted about having to wear glasses, but the thought was “That’s it, I will never again have perfect vision”. At my previous eye test, I was complemented for having such good vision having been able to read all of the smallest line of writing – the only person in my office who had. In their defence, I was only 25 at time in an office full of women in the 40s and 50s. It’s the small things like this that serve as reminders of how we lose the things we take for granted when we have them.
As another year passes, I wonder what 2019 has in store for us. At the time of writing, the UK is due to crash out of the European Union at the end of March, something that I did not want and is proving to be every bit the disaster it was predicted to be. But I’m looking forward to several new clients and to what my expansion into photography will bring. In early January, I start a photography course.
Merry Christmas all, and a Happy New Year!