At last, this year is coming to an end. I really wanted to end this year with a rant post, because for me 2017 was downright just awful. Don’t worry, that rant is coming. It will join similar posts like this one and this one. I’m just waiting for the right timing. This post has a more personal tone to it compared to my usual texts, and I apologize for anyone following my through my RSS feed – if you are expecting insects or wildlife photos in this one, skip it.
To say that I haven’t felt productive this year would be an understatement. I am still recovering from last year’s depression, and while things have improved a lot, having no one close to talk to and nothing to keep me occupied (and yeah, poverty too) only perpetuated my dreadful condition. I did not feel inspired or motivated enough to produce new photographs, even though we had a beautiful summer this year. You know those days you have to force yourself out of the house to feel more alive? I could barely bring myself to do that. One thing I did try was to keep this blog active, which is why you saw some kind of a posting spree going on here. Among my personal highlights were launching a series of posts that combine a few of my interests, my first detailed lens review as well as my first gear-bashing, and two opinion pieces (here and here) that became very popular with readers. Statistically speaking, during 2017 I posted more articles on the blog than ever before, and you know what? I still have many planned posts waiting their turn. I guess this is a good thing.
I wonder if one day I will be brave enough to share an honest account of everything I have gone through in the last year and a half. I am actually amazed that I managed to keep a calm tone in my posts this year. Especially because in today’s blogosphere (or whatever is left of it) it is all about excitement and surprises. Here’s a fun exercise for you: open a random blog and count how many exclamation marks appear on the most recent post. I know, right? Why is everyone talking loudly all of a sudden? Calm down and breathe, you guys.
This year, along with some presentations and public events, I also managed to publish two natural history notes. I need to do this more often. Not only because I enjoy it, but also because natural history data rarely gets published at all, “It is not interesting enough to justify a publication”. These are not my own words, but a response I got from a journal editor, believe it or not. What a shame, and a waste for anyone thirsting for knowledge. Working scientists need access to natural history information too. The funny thing is that every time I publish a scientific paper I get indirect comments from people asking, ‘What’s up with this guy? He’s no longer in academia, why is he still wasting his time and energy publishing research papers? He’s getting nothing from it!’
This might be true to some extent, but here is the way I see it: different people have different goals in life. Some want to become rich or famous. Others want a career working for a big company. For me, it was never about those things.
I might have failed in some aspects of my life. However, the most important thing for me is to leave something of myself behind, a legacy of some sort. This is why I try to infect others with my enthusiasm for insects, arachnids, and other small animals. This is why I still publish whatever knowledge I think can be useful to someone else at some point in the future. For me, leaving something valuable behind is the very essence of success. Too bad the habit of doing so at self-expense will drag me to the grave.
As I am sitting here waiting for my impending homelessness (oh, and it’s coming alright), I am also struck with an urge to share more knowledge and initiate more projects. Not sure how long I can do this at my current state, but hey, whatever I put out there will stay long after I’m gone.
Sayonara, 2017. Adios. Au revoir. Ciao.
Here’s to a more productive 2018.