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695: Why 2011 was nice.

I don’t know what happens to people when they say that they had a bad year. Really? Your WHOLE YEAR was bad, literally nothing good happened, at all? I’m talking about people I know and not people who are in disadvantaged situations, but maybe these people do generally have shitty years and I’m just fortunate.
2011 has been quite good really, there have been boring bits and frustrating bits and scary bits, but I’ve achieved a lot and I’m really quite happy about that.

Obviously, come Sunday everything will be new and fresh and there will be a whole year that’s ready for tackling. But, I’ll talk about that another time and I’ll share with you, in no particular order, eleven things that were nice for me in 2011.

1. Getting to go on a few holidays and get away from home, and England in some cases.
I practically started the year in Disneyland with my sister, which made for a magical wintery getaway as well as a test to my organisational skills.
I also took my second trip to Glastonbury and now know, that even with mud, it’s still the best place to be in the last weekend of June and that we need to get the postcode for the other carpark when we go in 2013.
I’ve basically been to the other side of the world, with my first trip to Hong Kong in 4 years, it was hot and busy but there’s so much to do and despite the tormenting guilt of the inability to speak Chinese despite my heritage, it was one of the best holidays I’ve been on in my life.
I’ve been to Cornwall more times this year than I have in my whole life, which is twice by the way, which incidentally (just to round off this paragraph nicely) is the same amount of times I’ve been to France with my second trip being to Brittany at the end of the Summer. Here’s hoping that my eyes are opened further and that I can not only see a bit more of the world in 2012, but also some more of what’s in the garden of England.

2. Learning to drive.
I’m not there yet but I’ve finally made the first steps to another one of those things that you just have to do before you’re really a grown up. I’m so excited that by this time next year I could even have my own car, weird.

3. Graduating.
This is probably high on every 2011 graduate’s list this year. I’m so pleased, I did it, I got a decent grade and, best of all, I didn’t fall over in front of the world and Sheila Hancock.

4. Getting really pretentious and fangirly over films.
Discovering new films and new-to-me films this year has been one of my favourites. I’ve found a new favourite film magazine and would love to think that I knew my stuff.

I also watched ‘The Notebook’ for the first time this year, annoyed that I understood what all the fuss was about, was hoping that it would be bad and that I wouldn’t cry for the last half an hour.

5. Making the most of social networking.
This is the year I found my feet and started using social networking ‘as a tool’ rather than just to dip in and out of stalking people I know through other people. I’ve actually networked, I’ve managed to somehow gain some kind of readership to this blog and I think it’s all helped me find a style, both in terms of my writing and how I take photographs now. I sort of cringe at the difference between now and when I started this blog, who even was that person?

6. Unemployment.
Sometimes I feel as though all I go on about is how shitty it is and how demotivated I feel, and that all still stands for most of the time, but without being unemployed I wouldn’t have had the time to do some of the great things that I’ve achieved this year. I’m lucky and I definitely still want a job, obviously, but I’ve gained a lot of practical knowledge of how to behave virtually and in person and I hope that at some point I can put everything I’ve learnt into practice and someone will take a chance on me; because you know, I’m great.

7. Using my camera more.
Nowadays it feels as though my camera never leaves me, or at least I always have some kind of camera to take a photo of something. Before, when I was studying Photography this was the furthest thing I wanted to have, taking photographs was for work and nights out, I never felt like I did anything in between. Now I’m realising that I can make things interesting and talk about things like I never did before and it makes me quite happy. I know my way around my camera now, and what settings to use and which lenses, something I probably should have spent more time doing while studying…

8. Stopping biting my nails.
I never wanted to be one of those middle-aged women who still bit their nails and couldn’t wear red nail varnish. Now, thanks to sheer willpower, I hopefully won’t be. Not only did I stop biting, I’ve also become pretty nifty in the nail art department, creating awkward yet flattering talking points with passers by.

9. Five years with Andrew Moon.
That’s got to be some kind of big deal, right?

10. Work experience.
2011 was the year of Ruth Johnston’s work experience, with a great opportunity with the NUJ at their delegate meeting, at which I met some smashing-great people who have made it onto my Facebook friends list. I also continued working with The Village Voice and Malden Fortnight as well as completing a two day work experience period with the organisers of the London Street Photography Festival and winding up the working year with a sweet internship on the picture desk of travel/in-flight magazine publishers, Ink Global, so that was pretty awesome. In between that I also shot my first wedding and a set of headshots, as a real photographer. I would hope that when all of this is taken into account, along with my bucket-load of interviewee experience, I’ll be able to be employed at some point in 2012.

11. Managing to not have to make the same New Year’s Resolutions for next year as this year.
And that’s a pretty great feeling.

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