#DailyLife | Blog 057 | 'A Life' in Review
Last year had its ups and downs, what with dealing with family illness, close friends losing their fights to cancer, or just losing touch with other friends through no fault of our own, just the endless onslaught of life. I have, however, managed to grow personally. I started writing this post on Christmas Eve, 2018, and I'm only just getting around to finishing it and I'm taking the time to think of the people that have been an inspiration and brought joy to my life.
Firstly, I have to talk about Mrs Kathy Mark. I have such a loving wife, who, while I do my best to prevent it from happening, I still sometimes take her for granted. She is my inspiration, my drive, and although she's had her own demons to battle last year, has always stood by me and my madcap ideas for world domination in one area or other. As previously mentioned, she was the one that came up with the idea for my 'Memorial Video' solution, and to pursue the Music Video 'thing' (more on that later), which meant we could get out of an evening, doing something different whilst helping local bands and singers with free videos to show off to others. Kathy also roped me into helping her with massage therapies within her own business, which incidentally seen me have Kathy's clients request me directly, me, a massage therapist of all things, who would have thought it? The training wasn't much different from what I learned years ago, and I actually enjoy doing it, never thought I would. Harper Green, GranddaughterThe latest edition to the family My children have also brought joy (and frustration) this year, with my eldest, Yasmin, becoming a mother and making me a grandfather with the birth of Harper to her long-term partner Timothy (hopefully there'll be a proposal in the offering soon, hint hint). The next daughter down in the list is Demi (formally known as Jade, who is now using Demi (her middle name) as she thinks it's better (which is what I told her mother when she was born)), she finally managed to snag a new job, which is great news, whilst juggling her further education in game design, we so happy for her. Moving swiftly on to my son, Leon, who, despite all our advice quit midway through his A-Levels to pursue a career as a ship's captain having successfully been selected for the 4-year course, which will mean he'll have to move to Glasgow next year. Hopefully, his 5th attempt at passing his driving test will see him driving there instead of getting the bus. In the interim, he also managed to get a job at a local call centre to tide him over until his start date, and he's doing really really well at it too, by all accounts. I'm hoping for great things for my children, as any parent would!
Back to me.
When I married Kathy a little over 3 years ago, we became what's commonly known as a 'blended family' which basically means, I have taken on her children too and she has helped influence mine (as they're much older). It's not been without its issues, truth be told.
As a seasoned wedding photographer, I've seen this a lot in other couples who have gone down the same road as me, where its not their first marriage, and I'm always keen to get their advice on how they've worked it out. The common response is that it takes time and a lot of effort, and patience. Kathy's children and I have rutted heads a few times over the years, and this past year it sort of levelled out to a calm sea, with the odd choppy breeze. I recently had my first "You're not my real Dad" hurled at me when Kathy's eldest didn't get her own way. She's just turned 14, which I'm sure you all understand what we were like at that age?
Philosophy, surprisingly has helped in this and learning that taking a different perspective creates moments of reflection. It's not easy, for any of us, especially when that breeze turns in to a squawll. Though, with my wife's calming hand on the tiler (all these boat metaphors and analogies must be rubbing off from my son), we've managed to keep it together. My own children have also seen a great change in me personally, with (not always) my new ability to slow down my reactionary decision process, to ponder, consider all points, and then respond, where I would have normally just blurted out what my knee jerk response would have been.
Throughout my life, I've been a problem solver. A challenger of issues, the guy you come to if you have a problem cause 'I simply know' what you should do, because it's what I would do if I was in the same position. This year has seen a change in that behaviour. Sure, I still think I know what would do, but now I don't say it, I'll simply offer you a way to see different options on what you 'could' do, instead of what 'I would do'. What I would do is not necessarily the right decision for you. What I do now is simply shine a light on the other areas of opportunity that maybe you hadn't factored in, but ultimately, it's down to that person to make the right choice (rightly or wrongly) for them.
Typically, when someone comes to you for advice, they're only painting the picture of the scenario that they're in, they've created the construct, they're the ones still holding the paintbrush, and the picture of the problem is only as large as the canvas they're prepared to show you, from their point of view. When you give someone advice based on only the colours they have on their palette, you could in fact be reinforcing the problem as they see it, and this might not be the best course of action.
We've all seen those 'inspirational quotes' on Facebook. They are, for the most part, all horse shit to some degree. With the rise in mental health awareness it's important for us who are doing okay to be a little calmer when talking to those who might not be so well at the moment. A little more patient, and a lot more understanding when we hear about our friend's stories or woes. To them, they maybe major but to us, very minor, however, the mind has a way of distorting a reality to a person trapped in depression or with anxiety. We're all going through something, sometimes, and that knee jerk response to someone who has just opened up can sometimes lead to them closing the lid again and doing the worst thing imaginable with that problem, I don't need to say what.
What I do want to say to you is, I'm here, to listen, to put the kettle on and have a cup of tea with. I'm here most days now, having recently quit my day job to be a Massage Therapist within my wife's business, and also to allow me the time to again grow my photography and videography business here within DMfotoNI, I can always make time for you, to talk, to have someone who will just listen, cause when you hear your thoughts translated into words, they can sometimes reveal something more about what's going on.
We should all share that mind set, because we're supposed to be kind, we were simply born that way.
Oh, and a shout out to the lovely reader of my blogs who suggested that I add a speech reader to these blogs! Thank you, it's been a pain in the bum updating them all, but if it helps just one person (you), then that's good enough reason for me to do it, again, thank you x
Keywords: blog, darron, darron mark, family, ireland, londonderry, love, mark, mental health, northern, photographer, photography, sharing, talking, understanding
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