The HR Juggler

Day 24: A Year In The Life

Posted on: December 24, 2013


Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you’re feeling festive and ready for the forthcoming celebrations, however you will spend the day. This is the last of the advent blogs proper – I’ve gone old skool and reverted to a traditional 24 door calendar this year. There may be one or two ‘reprise’ posts to follow after the festivities have finished…just in case you miss your daily dose of stories and stakes 🙂

Today’s post is different for many reasons…it is a haiku and is mainly pictures rather than words. It tells the story of the year that Jon Bartlett has experienced…from writing that anonymous blog in January, to everything that followed from there. For me, it’s a powerful story of courage, tenacity, struggle, possibility and hope. You can find Jon on Twitter (@Projectlibero) and over on his excellent blog.

Artwork for today (and every day!) is by the brilliant Simon Heath who has done a fabulous job of illustrating all of these advent blogs….thank you!


So here we are, year 3 of the advent blogs yet I’m on my 4th submission. Last year I took up two spaces, the first of these was anonymous. The second was attributed, done deliberately to make sure that no-one could guess I was the writer of the first blog. Last January was a scary time. I felt like there was a lot at stake, commercial risk and social approval being top of the list.

The second blog sank without trace but that anonymous one just kept on getting shared, so in the end I came clean. I took the risk of the exposure but then a funny thing happened. People started sharing their own stories, started talking about mental health. We all started to make that a normal, (and at times, even comfortable) conversation.

Of late however, due to the pressures of therapy words have been hard to come by, I’m reminded of the quote by Ansel Adams the great American photographer.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

So whilst my images do not bear comparison with Adams they speak to me. The images here remind me of my past and present and also inspire my future

Thank you all for your kindness and support. I honestly could not have achieved all I did this year without you. I wish you a Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year.

P.S. If the pictures aren’t enough for you, then here is the thinking behind each image – and yes I did take them all, even the one with me in it.

January – Anonymity – I was safe but adrift somewhere in my mind.

February – Exposure – I took the decision at the #HR4MH event to disclose my identity.

March – Dialogue – So many good conversations this month.

April – Hectic – The respite of work.

May – Surgery – Knee surgery and getting new medication for my mind.

June – Momentum – Finally getting back on the bike (albeit very slowly)

July – Therapy – After 16 months of waiting I finally started therapy.

August – Struggle – Therapy becomes harder and harder.

September – Preservation – The urge to run from therapy, from the analysis, is immense.

October – Advocacy – Honoured to be asked to represent the charity Mind at Parliament for World Mental Health Day.

November – Adjustment – The doctors agree to me coming off medication to allow the therapy to work more effectively.

December – Reflection – An emotional year draws to a close. I struggle to express it all.

2014 – Possibility – There are several exciting announcements coming, watch out in the first few days of the New Year.


And especially for Jon, his favourite Christmassy piece of music

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all the very best for 2014!

9 Responses to "Day 24: A Year In The Life"

What stunning photographs – a beautiful depiction of your year and a perfect end to the Advent series. As the photographer Dorothea Lange once said “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”. Thank you for helping so many of us to see the world in a different light from January 2013 onwards. You are courageous, insightful and talented. I am privileged and delighted to call you my friend. Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2014.

Many thanks to Alison for hosting an exceptional Advent Blog series, each contribution has brightened and enhanced the early days of December and Simon’s illustrations have cleverly captured the essence of each piece. Thank you! I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a great start to the New Year.

Thank you Kate

I love that quote and so very true. I really appreciate all your help this year too. I wish you a great 2014, see you out there in the possibility.


Pictures are more telling than words. The Adevent series has surely ended on a high.

I enjoyed every bit of it and I must confess that it has given me a different perspective to life.

To everyone who has made the Adevent Series possible, a big THANK YOU.

Compliments of the season and a Happy New Year in advance.

Jon, thank you for sharing your year with us, although we have shared a few tweets, I haven’t had the privilege to meet you and yet I feel that we already have that friendship bond.

You have such a lot to look forward to in 2014. Isn’t there a saying, something about it being the darkest hour before dawn…well, your darkest year is coming to a close!

Thanks once again for your courage and openness! God Bless. X

Thank you also to Alison and Simon for the best ever season of #adventblogs, we’re grateful for your generosity in making December a celebration of life and bringing people together. Happy Christams. Xx

Thanks Bina

It has been a pretty dark year but here is to the sunrise.


Reblogged this on Project Libero and commented:
My guest post for Alison Chisnell, the HR Juggler and such a true and kind friend over a difficult year for me.

Hi Jon – this is an excellent piece of work and a wonderful way of expressing your year for us. Thank you, and best wishes. Doug.

Thank you Doug, wanted to do something a little different. Tired of talking 🙂

Happy New Year

[…] series ended on Christmas Eve with something of a departure stylistically as Jon Bartlett used a photo montage to reflect on the […]

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