Ah, the end of year blog post.
Well, I don’t have a list of favourites images to show you and I’m not making new year resolutions. So let me try something smaller, just one or two memories. In this inbetween time, I’ll look left and right, back and forward.
Looking back at 2012, I’ll always remember watching the Paralympians in the the athletics stadium at the Olympic Park. It was an endurance sport just to get tickets, so I know how lucky I was to take dear old Dad up to London and be a tiny part of it all. We sat high up, opposite the flame, joining in the mexican wave, congratulating the Russian chap next to us when we finally worked out what he was saying, that his best friend had just won Gold in one of the shot put classes. You’ve never seen a man so proud, wave a flag so enthusiastically. It didn’t matter where he was from, what language he spoke, which national anthem he sang. It mattered that the world turned up, took part and every cynic took a couple of months off from the day job.
Sat in the sunshine, astounded by what was being achieved, watching Dad enjoy being there so much, that really was a highlight of my year. Swiftly, as ever, followed by a silly low point. You see, I didn’t get to wander around the park and take pictures of the people as I’d planned. Instead, I got to do a little collapse in the medical tent because I didn’t manage my diabetes properly. Yes, those bottles of full fat coke were not a treat. No, there is nobody to blame but myself. Yes, I did laugh, even then, sat in a wheelchair, being wheeled through the park during the Paralympics. And that constantly cheerful Gamesmaker, who didn’t show the slightest strain as he marched me up the incline, he deserves a medal.
Before the blood sugar went haywire, when I could just about feel things going wrong, I managed to capture an image of Dad, looking out into the stadium, a stand-in for every British person with a tear in his eye and pride in his heart.
Look what we can do together.
And looking forward to 2013. No resolutions, because making that list almost guarantees that it will not come to pass.
Except maybe one then: To be more hopeful, to keep my many chins up, to maybe reduce the number of chins.
Perhaps I should just carry some hopes around with me instead. So in my heart and my head, these are the hopes I’ll be thinking about:
I’d love it to be a year of great things, of travel, of writing that book, of finishing that PhD, of photographing wonderful families wherever they are. I hope that it is full of adventure and laughter and friends. I know that it will be hard work, full of huffing and puffing if I’m doing things right. Because nothing ever happens without effort and determination.
I hope that it is the year where I recognise that the great things do not have to make the earth shift on it’s axis. Great things can be found in the smallest places, like making a friend laugh, reading a brilliant book, writing a good one, crying when my friend’s baby arrives, learning to leave the plate when full, not finished, seeing the ordinary, everyday of my life in a new way. With brighter, clearer eyes.
And one day this year to come, I hope to meet you, wherever you are, to photograph the people you love and tell your family story.
Not a daunting list of resolutions. Just a handful of hopes.