2016: a year of loss

There is a lot of discussion about how 2016 has seen more celebrities dying than in previous years. A few weeks ago I was listening to More or Less on Radio 4 who proved that statistically there was no difference. Even with the events of the past few days it would not be a notable increase.

Why then does this year feel like we have suffered greater losses? I think part of it is that there have been a number of celebrities who had widespread appeal who have died during the year. More of us have been affected by the loss of major icons who had been working for years at a high level.

The deaths have also reminded us of our own mortality which is something we try to avoid. It brings death into our living room as we read about it and hear about the tragic events. For me there has been the loss of part of my childhood as Princess Leia was the first strong woman I saw in films at the age of 6. I grew up with George Michael being the soundtrack even though I didn’t like it you couldn’t escape it. The music has now been silenced.

We have to accept that death is part of life. It can arrive when we least expect it and rich or poor it makes no difference. What we have to take from 2016 is that we need to make the most of each day and enjoy what we have. Life is very fragile and fleeting so grab it while you can.

Posted in #ayearinblogs | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The day after 

When I was growing up Boxing Day was always the time to really get to grips with my presents. I could try things out and play with each in turn. There was a great feeling of satisfaction in doing that but it was always accompanied by another task. 

The task was one of the most important and had to be done with meticulous precision. It was to write thank you letters to all the family members who had sent presents. As all the relatives are down South and it was well before the arrival of social media this was the only way to show your appreciation. I felt it was important to show my gratitude even at a young age.

I had a plan. I would keep the tag with the item to ensure I didn’t miss any thank yous that needed to be sent. It was very carefully organised and I would get very frustrated if any tags went awry.

Now I am a lot older there is still the feeling that Boxing Day should be to enjoy the lovely gifts and to let people know that I appreciate the thoughtful presents. Young people really should see both elements together – enjoy what you have but also be grateful.

It is a useful way of looking at life. We should take time to enjoy what we have but also show gratitude for it. It can help us to have a more positive outlook even when the chips are down. 

Posted in #ayearinblogs, Christmas, kindness, social media, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A positive Christmas message

This isn’t the way I expected to be spending my Christmas. I have been lying on the sofa for the best part of four days now feeling rough, coughing and varying between hot and cold. I either have a bad cold or flu but whatever it is the bug has arrived at the most unhelpful time of the year. In not sharing it with others I have ended up with an enforced isolation. Thankfully, unlike many who are on their own at Christmas I can at least spend time with my animals, and my other half who seems to be immune to the germs I have.

I have been viewing some of the Christmas messages from both political and religious leaders and one theme seems to emerge in most and that is about fear. 2016 has been a year where fear and concerns have been at the forefront on many occasions. There have been many significant events that have increased the uncertainty we feel and heading into 2017 we can take things two ways. We can succumb to fear or we can redouble our efforts to fight fear. So how do we do that?

There is one way to fight fear and that is through love. Christmas should be a time when love is on our minds. It is not about the presents or the commercial elements. It is not about the food or the booze. It is not about the gorging and then lazing around. At the heart of Christmas should be giving thanks for what we have and helping others. You don’t have to be religious to get the sentiment of the season as we can find ways to help each other.

Today isn’t a day to reflect too much on the year we have had. I will leave that until next week and New Year. For today, I will focus on how love for each other and helping those around us should be at the heart of 2017. Remember that love can conquer fear. Merry Christmas everyone.

Posted in #ayearinblogs, Christmas, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Christmas Eve thank you

It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, well except me and the gerbils. My other half is still trying to work out the Star Wars Lego in the advent calendar. We are lucky to be resting at home even if it isn’t perfect as I mentioned in the last blog.

There are many people who continue to work throughout the festive season. The world continues to carry on with people needing help and others being there to provide support. 

I want to thank all those working in the emergency services, NHS and even the on call veterinarians who will be among many people who will not have a Christmas Day tomorrow. They will have to wait for time off work to relax.

There are many people who work and aren’t recognised for it. One of my team will be on call tomorrow and few will realise that communicators can miss Christmas. I have been there myself and it is often a lonely place where the contribution is not recognised.

I wish everyone working tonight and tomorrow a very Merry Christmas and I thank them for what they do.

Posted in #ayearinblogs, Christmas, emergency services | 2 Comments

Not perfect just nice

We are just a few days away from Christmas and have you got everything to make it extra special? All the adverts are telling us what we need to make it a perfect day. We put so much into creating just one amazing day that we risk a massive disappointment.

The unexpected is always around the corner to knock things and it is how we deal with it that matters. I didn’t expect to be ill and neither did my nephew. One year I remember we were all supposed to be going to my parents but my mum was ill. I was more worried about her than my Christmas being altered.

Many people will be spending Christmas on their own or they will be in hospital or some may not even have a home to go to. The ‘perfect’ Christmas is a world away from what they are experiencing and yet we forget about others. This can be a very selfish time of the year when as long as we are happy then everything is ok.

I feel pretty rough at the moment so I am not sure what my Christmas will bring.  But I know it won’t be perfect I just hope it is going to be a nice day.

Posted in #ayearinblogs, Christmas | 1 Comment

More than meets the eye

I sometimes like surprises. It is a wonderful moment when the unexpected happens and it makes you catch your breath. Yesterday I met a Special Constable who was very pleasant and looked just like other Specials.

But when he opened his mouth Jake proved he was no ordinary Special Constable. He is training to be an opera singer and his range is as a tenor. It was amazing to hear this stunning voice come from beneath the uniform. If you want to check him out look at this link https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ctWBD9-fFl4

We all too often judge people by the first impressions. We meet new people and make instant judgements about what they are like, what they do and whether they are someone you want to know. I am sure we often put barriers in the way which prevent us from meeting some amazing people.

When we meet people in uniform it is easy to assume a lot about them. If you watch Jake you can see a normal person who has family, friends and interests and isn’t just a police officer.

At this time of peace and goodwill we should be aware of what we are doing and to try and have an open mind when we meet new people. That would be the real spirit of Christmas.

Posted in #ayearinblogs, emergency services, police | Leave a comment

What do you think?

I can see the finishing line in sight. After well over 300 blogs that I have written every day during 2016 I have only a handful left. Once I reach the 31 December I will have successfully completed my year in blogs challenge. It has meant sharing a lot of thoughts and discussing lots of issues. Sometimes I have received direct feedback either on the blog site or through social media.

It has been a hugely significant thing to do and I have learnt a lot through doing it. This may get complicated but I have blogged a guest blog about my year of blogging. If you are interested I was honoured to have been asked to write it for Stephen Waddington and you can find it here http://wadds.co.uk/2016/12/21/find-amanda-coleman-learned-blogging-every-day-year/?platform=hootsuite 

But while I have gained a lot from undertaking the writing challenge I would be really interested in hearing what other people have made of the undertaking. Were the subjects of interest or should I have kept it focused on one area of my life? Did the ramblings make you think about the issues raised? Has it made you think about blogging?

When I started to blog it was for me and if anyone read it then that was an added bonus. I have never written for anyone other than myself. In the blog for Stephen I said “I started my working life as a journalist and more than 20 years on words are still really important to me. But as a professional communicator I don’t get the chance to write in the way I used to, so the challenge was to blog every day this year.”

This has been a huge personal challenge that has played out in public. It has brought me some clarity about my thoughts and my priorities as I head into 2017. I hope you have found it interesting in some small way but tell me what you think.

Posted in #ayearinblogs, blog, blogging, blogs, challenge, communication | Tagged , , | Leave a comment