So, once again, it's that time: the closing of one year, the eve of the beginning of another.
And, to be honest, it couldn't come soon enough. For me, 2015 was most certainly 'the year of living uncertainly'.
Though there were options for me to continue my day job where I was at the end of 2014, I felt it was time for the next adventure, and really needed some time out to not only work out exactly what that would be, but to breathe, as the last year of that job really took its toll on me.
In the end, despite not really being able to afford it, I took about two months out from employment, during which time I tried to give myself space to just be for a bit, as well as looking at jobs, and working on photos.
After probably the longest interview process I'd ever undergone, and ultimately three and a half months of being unemployed, I landed a permanent job. I think only my third ever. So things were looking up...
Then 2015 turned into a bit of a shit storm:
- Myriad stresses over Kyle's visa application to stay with me in the UK as my unmarried partner when his youth mobility visa ran out;
- Kyle and I subsequently ending up breaking up after all of that stress (not just because of the visa stress);
- 'Teething problems' at work;
- Not knowing if I'd have to find a new place to live on top of all that;
- A medical condition that's been quite quiet the past five years or more came back with a vengeance in the last month, a timely reminder that I need to look after myself better; and simultaneously
- The stress of applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, after being here for the past five years.
In the midst of all that, Kyle was having his own year of uncertainty, trying to decide whether to try to stay in the UK or go back to Australia. Then once the decision was made, going through his own 'dance' with his employer and the immigration authorities, resulting in him taking a much-needed break in Australia for Christmas and New Year's Eve in order to obtain a visa to return to the UK with sponsorship from his employer.
There were some good things in 2015, I know there were, but it's kind of hard to think of them through all of the other stuff this year. These good things kept me going: good friends, new friends, and my photography (though I didn't take or edit anywhere near enough photos this year for my liking).
And I made it to the end of the year to finish on a high note, being granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK on 29 December. So I can feel, once again, that I'm home.
Hopefully 2016 will prove to be less tumultuous than 2015, and even 2014 (when we moved home twice), though a potential move is still on the horizon for the new year.
Despite all of the above, I'm feeling positive for the new year, just a little exhausted. I promise my next update will be more upbeat and focussed on my photography, not feeling sorry for myself. It will be a new year, after all.
I'm also pleased to finally (officially) unveil the new version of my website. It does look awfully like the old version, but you should find it much easier to navigate, and you'll find my work at lusciously large sizes when you click on images to view them in 'lightbox' mode.
I'm still bringing across older blog posts, as unfortunately I'm unable to do that automagically from my old host (and will also, unfortunately, not be able to bring across your lovely comments), but otherwise the site is ready.
I haven't set up my store yet, so if there's anything particular you'd like to see available, please do let me know.
So, rather than an obligatory self-portrait, I close 2015 with an image of my beloved Hornsey gas holders, the one constant for me in 2015, and something of an obsession (if you follow me on Instagram you'll know what I mean). They have also experienced a year of uncertainty, as they were scheduled to be dismantled in summer, but as with all development plans, things have (thankfully) been running behind, allowing me more time to savour them and photograph them. Unfortunately their time is fast running out though, as 'demolition in progress' signs went up early in December, the land around is being cleared, and I fear it will be less than a month before they disappear from my local skyline.
So long, 2015. Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out...