If you know me, you will know that I am an obsessive planner. I love detail, and I love knowing where I am going, how I’m getting there, and what it’s going to take to get to my destination.
So, as I write this, I think about how the beginning of 2021 has left me all out of sorts – without any real tangible goals and plans for what I want to achieve.
I mean, sure, I have a few goals that would probably make any old generic vision board – paying off debt, studying further etc, but when it comes to the things that I love doing and indulging my creative self, I sit here clueless as to what’s next.
In hindsight, it’s easy to understand why I – and many others out there – might be feeling this way. Having spent most of 2020 in survival mode, it only makes sense that we enter 2021 with a similar mindset, thinking less about lofty aspirational goals and more about what it’s going to take to get through the days, weeks and months that lie ahead. In no way was my 2020 at all difficult in comparison to what others have gone through, but apart from living in a state of suspended apprehension, there have been a few other developments that have kept me occupied and taken my focus away from creating content.
For starters, I began my PGCE with the University of London in earnest, with the initial start date of March 2020 shifted to September 2020 due to COVID. While the course itself has been manageable and I haven’t missed any assignments, it has demanded a fair bit of time – time that I would have otherwise spent shooting, editing, writing etc. It will probably continue in this vein until September 2021, after which I will be free from the shackles of postgraduate study (and inevitably search for a Masters course).
As much as studying can be tedious, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were aspects of this professional development that I didn’t enjoy. I’ve seen far too many teachers (especially ESL teachers) simply content to sit back and atrophy in terms of their PD. Considering future career pathways, this course will be a pretty important step in what I do after ESL. More importantly, I’ve been able to apply theory to real-world situations – something which I’ve found to be rare in previous studies.
The second thing that’s signalled a bit of a shift for me in 2020 was coming to terms that South Korea would be home for the foreseeable future. This was never my plan when I first arrived in 2018. But the reality is that I simply don’t see myself returning to South Africa in the next five years, at least. This has been precipitated by a few things, COVID being the main driver. In terms of general headspace, what with 2019 being such a prolific travel year on a personal level, 2020 forced me to slow down and get comfortable with exploring a country which has slowly grown on me.
Korea has been good to me. And I think part of shifting into ‘survival’ mode was immersing myself into everything Korean on an unprecedented level. Whether it was language, culture, relationships – I now feel far more comfortable and able to thrive than I did in 2019. For someone who draws so much energy from the thrill of exploring, the constant predictability of Korea has been a huge change. Not a bad change, per se, but just one that’s forced me to accept my circumstances. COVID shifted things along, that’s for sure.
So, yeah. All of those factors definitely left a little bit of a dent in any content creation plans I had (freelance and personal), and in terms of social media growth I focused mainly on Facebook and Instagram, the former turning out to be a surprisingly rewarding medium and great place to connect with other creators. Film-making (read: YouTube) time was also scant this year (also perhaps brought on by a case of imposter syndrome) but one of the pleasant surprises was just hitting 2,000 subs despite not uploading anything for the better part of 2020.
When it comes to thinking about my creative goals and all the factors that have played into my planning (or lack thereof), I’ve decided that I’m going to start small and put passions first, despite the change in circumstances. Those passions haven’t changed, and in some cases I’ve re-discovered old creative passions (a case in point being picking up film photography again).
The planning will come, but for now my main goal is to rekindle those passions and just share. Share stories, experiences, history, culture, snippets of life. Whether that be through my drone photography, street photography, film photography, film-making, on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube – and get back into a community that I know can drive me to be a better creator. I’ve seen first-hand how putting passion first is the stepping stone to everything else and often spawns some great goals. Here's to doing more of that in 2021.
What passions are you looking to re-discover in 2021?