Back on Track

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post on mental health. I’ll do anything to avoid starting my tax return. Procrastinating over that has led me to my blog; something else I need to stop procrastinating over. I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t posted on here since January, and we’re only 12 days away from tossing out this year’s calendar and embarking on 2019. It’s time to start one of my New Year’s Resolutions a wee bit early and hit ‘publish’ on here for the first time in 11 months.

Redundancy and terminal cancer

A young woman crouching next to a man in a wheelchair with a tartan blanket on a path in front of grass, trees and daffodils

2017 was something of a nightmare with my redundancy taking effect on the same day that we received the devastating diagnosis of my dad’s brain tumour. 2018 hasn’t been any less challenging. After a long, brave battle with cancer, my dad finally slipped away peacefully on 28th June, aged 65, with me, my mum and my brother at his bedside. We’re approaching the six month anniversary already but I know that I’m only at the start of a very long journey as I try to come to terms with my loss and my grief.

Becoming self-employed

On a more positive note, my business has gone from strength to strength this year. Since my last post, I’ve captured around 30 weddings, led several landscape photography workshops, given a number of talks, and undertaken numerous commercial photography assignments. I still feel that I’m in a period of transition but I’m settling into life as a professional photographer and am daring myself to start enjoying it. Please feel free to check out my photography services website.

A bride and groom standing side by side in a stone archway holding flowers with water and hills in the background
Wedding photography in the Scottish Highlands
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A light at the end of the tunnel

This summer I found myself in the impossible situation of juggling time with my family with the peak of the wedding photography season, and all the desk-based post-production work that entails. There’s no compassionate leave in this job and, as a sole trader, I’ve no-one to delegate to. After months of working six or seven days a week, wading through treacle, I feel like I’ve reached the light at the end of the tunnel but I haven’t come through it unscathed.

Life’s too short

Landscape photography, long walks along the coast, peaceful bike rides in the countryside, not to mention my blog, have all been casualties of my world having been turned upside down. For me, life shouldn’t be about ‘getting through it’, as has been the case these last couple of years. I’m determined to make a fundamental change and achieve the work/life balance I had in mind when I became self-employed. I’ve learned the harsh reality behind the saying, ‘life’s too short’.

A traditional blue woman's bike leaning against a passing place sign in front of green fields with hills beyond
Cycling on the Black Isle back in 2014

Writing for WalkHighlands

I haven’t stopped writing altogether; far from it. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I’ve written my best work this year. Since the beginning of 2018, I’ve been blogging for Walkhighlands, writing alongside well-known names such as Cameron McNeish, reaching an audience in the tens of thousands and even being tweeted by one of my favourite authors, Ian Rankin. You can check out my Walkhighlands articles here.

A screenshot of a website showing a pink sunset over a beach with sand and rocks, with a map of Scotland shown below
Featured on the WalkHighlands website

Back to blogging

My quest to write great content for Walkhighlands has resulted in me writing literally nothing on here. ‘Blog’ has featured on my weekly to-do list for months and has never been ticked off! While I’ve been away, I’ve been considering what direction I want to take my blog in. I’m still coming up with ideas for content. Crucially, I’m going to make the effort to post much more regularly, not only to keep the Google boffins happy but also to build up my audience again and enjoy connecting with some old friends on WordPress.

As the saying goes, you wait ages for a bus and two come along at once. Go and boil the kettle and come back later, as I’ll be hitting the ‘publish’ button again very soon! Last but not least, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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15 thoughts

  1. Welcome back Karen. I, and quite a few others no doubt, have missed you! I’ll certainly be looking up that Walkhighlands website. A very happy Christmas and a wonderfully prosperous (but not overworked) new year to you and yours too.

    1. Thank you Mike! Great to hear from you. I hope you’re well. I’m looking forward to catching up on your blog to see what you’ve been up to. Thanks; I hope you enjoy the articles on Walkhighlands. The website is a mine of information if you’re planning a holiday in Scotland. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Thanks for the update, yes we are ready for your stories and photographs. I lost my dad 4 and half years ago.. but till date I can feel his presence, they will be around us till the day we say goodbyes. And congratulations on your assignments and wish you have more of them. See you soon!

    1. Hi Josh! It’s great to hear from you! I hope you’re well. I’m looking forward to popping over to your blog and catching up on all your news. Aw, I’m sorry to hear that your dad passed away too. I’m glad you can still feel his presence after four and a half years and I trust it’ll be the same for me. Thanks very much – I’ll post some photos from my recent assignments soon!

  3. Welcome back Karen.
    Iā€™m in the process of setting myself up as a sole trader too so will probably experience a roller coaster year similar to yours.
    Have a happy & relaxed festive season.

  4. Welcome back Karen.
    Iā€™m in the process of setting up as a sole trader also & may soon experience some of the roller coaster you have been on.
    Hope you have a peaceful & relaxed festive season.

  5. I’m sad for your loss, Karen, but your journey this past year – with so many highs and lows – is a potent reminder of what life has in store for us; and for you, wow.. together with the downs, you’ve had some amazing achievements. So I hope you’ll celebrate the holidays among family and friends.. and may 2019 bring you more successes and joys!

    1. Hi Amit. Lovely to hear from you. I hope you’re keeping well and I’m looking forward to catching up on your blog. Very true; as you know only too well, there’s no way of knowing what life’s is going to throw at us next. I’m reminded of one of my favourite quotations: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” (Charles R. Swindoll). Thank you! I’ll be sure to make the most of the holidays and celebrate all the good times to come. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

  6. I am so sorry for yout loss Karen, losing my parents is one of my greatest fears even though I know it will happen eventually. Lots of hugs to you. I am excited to hear about the progress of your business though – look forward to see more inspiring photographs for an amateur such as myself! Happy New Year from Sweden.

    1. Aw, thank you. It’s been such a devastating loss and it’s changed me in so many ways. It sounds like you have a lovely relationship with your parents too. Thanks – I’ll be sure to post a lot more often this year, with a bit more variety too. I hope you enjoy the photos! I’m looking forward to catching up on your blog too. Happy New Year from Scotland and lots of hugs to you too. xx

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