From the Olympic Games to my own career, I look back at the highs and lows of London life in 2012
2012 has truly been a year to remember for London. Whether it was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in the spring or the Olympic Games over the summer, there have been many reasons to celebrate this year.
After the London riots that took place in 2011, the city was undoubtedly in need of a good year to follow. Many feared that the scenes of destruction would put tourists off visiting for the Olympic Games, however this definitely didn’t turn out to be the case.
2012 has been my second full year living in England’s capital, and it’s definitely been my best to date. It’s been the first year since moving here back in the summer of 2010 that I’ve really started to understand how the whole place works. I guess it’s finally starting to feel like a home.
Perhaps the general mood of the city this year has played a big part in this adjustment. Although I would hardly consider myself a royalist, the atmosphere in London during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in spring was certainly uplifting.
That community feeling I had yet to experience in London occurred yet again when the much-anticipated Olympic Games finally arrived. I am in no way a fan of sport or competiveness, but always of unity and togetherness. Thankfully this feeling is exactly what London 2012 managed to achieve.
Finally, it was announced at the beginning of this month that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is pregnant with her first child. The news, which came just over a year and a half after her wedding, excited people all across the world.
Of course, with the highs there must always come the lows; and London has definitely had its fair share this year. The coalition government has continued to receive mass scrutiny for its decisions, while the country’s economy seems to have gone from bad to worse.
Meanwhile, Australian activist, journalist and founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy since June, with UK police waiting outside to arrest him.
He was granted political asylum by the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño. Patiño stated his concern that Assange might be extradited to the US, which could lead to his execution following the leaking of many confidential diplomatic cables.
I find it sad that someone who has fought so hard to expose corruption and lies has basically been imprisoned for fear of his own life. I also find it sad that it is here in London that he is trapped; a city that is meant to stand for diversity and freedom.
Even the year’s final piece of good news has sadly been laced with negativity, following Kate Middleton being rushed into hospital with morning sickness. The nurse who answered the phone to two Australian DJs playing a prank call was found hanged three days later, leaving her husband and two children behind.
2012 has also been a year filled with ups and downs on a personal scale. For the first half of the year I continued to work at the fashion company that had given me my first editorial break. I had such high hopes for my development within this company, as well as the direction it was moving in.
Early in the year our CEO, a woman highly established within the fashion industry who I respect immensely, presented us with her three-year vision for the company during an “away morning” at the top of the skyscraper we worked in.
Once we had heard the speech, we all went back down to our desks feeling incredibly motivated and inspired. I remember thinking how rare it must be to have such a clear goal laid ahead, and how enjoyable it would be trying to reach it.
However on that very same day, the huge high was followed by a hard-hitting low. By the afternoon, everyone was called into a room where a corporate-looking man stood in a formal grey suit clasping a single sheet of paper. He had a stern look on his face and his words were cold.
The man read out a message from the company’s owner, stating that our current CEO would no longer be working at the company from that moment forward. He gave no explanation, but said that from tomorrow it would be “business as usual.”
Everybody walked back to their desks in complete shock. Not even the team leaders, like my editor or the art director, had been made aware that this would be happening. We had gone from a morning feeling on top of the world, to being in the gutter by the afternoon.
After this, my time at this particular company was never the same again. Rumours began circling, and one by one several other team leaders in the business either jumped or were pushed.
Thankfully by September I landed myself a similar role in an ecommerce team for an established fashion brand, which I am thoroughly enjoying. I feel like I have finally received recognition for all the hard work I have put in.
Strangely enough my previous CEO, who had been so insolently discarded from the company, is also now working at this brand. It’s funny how things turn out in the world of business.
Meanwhile I released my debut book of poetry Verses on Kindle, relaunched this website which has now reached over 40,000 views and am coming to the end of my next exciting project that I am planning to release next year.
As we bid farewell to another year and get ready to welcome the next, as always it’s essential that we learn from our experiences both on a personal and wider social scale.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and hopeful 2013.