With the crappy weather this country is experiencing (again) right now, I’ve spent a few hours this afternoon looking at photos from my journeys of the last few years. Mostly, I felt sad at the lost happy times with the wife. Photos of us locked in embrace with a fantastic view of a Greek island behind us, panoramic shots of London or other places in this country while we stood proudly together enjoying another cultural day out.
When I got closer to the present, particularly of the holiday wife and I took last summer and the days out we had while we tried to rescue our marriage a thought occurred to me that I looked different and it took a while to figure out why.
Do I look older? Undoubtedly from the much earlier photos but people tell me I look younger than I am. Most people are surprised that I am not under 30 – even more surprised when I state that I’m closer to 40 than 30. I certainly don’t look much older now than I did last summer.
Is it because I have lost weight? Not really, I’ve lost weight I put on in the middle of my depressive state last summer but that is not it – we are talking the difference of about a single stone at the very most. Though admittedly due to cycling and walking more, I look fitter and stronger but not like a body builder. Do I look greyer? Less hair? No, I might be in my mid-thirties but my hairline has not receded for ten years and I have no more grey hairs today than I did ten years ago.
So what was it?
The look in my eyes. They say that the eyes are a window to the soul but in those photographs they were most certainly a window into my mental state.
In photos from last year I look broken, defeated, lost, hopeless. I look like how Andy Murray might look tomorrow afternoon if by chance he failed to win a single point against Roger Federer and also acquired a career-ending injury in the final game. (Good luck Andy by the way!) Even in shots where I looked relatively relaxed and happy, there were forced smiles, a look of preoccupation and in some cases, discomfort.
From the photos of this year I look more relaxed, focused and proud. I look like somebody fully aware of his surroundings and being lost in the moment. My recent travel across the Atlantic is the most telling. In some photos I look more relaxed than I have felt in a long time.
This is how I know I have truly turned the corner… the worst of it is over. But I realise I have a long way to go yet.