A wise friend of mine uses the word recalibrate.

That is the key, she believes, to managing in this ‘year of wonders’.

She posits that we need to recalibrate the way we see things in the light of what has played out. We need to recalibrate what we call successful:  what is success at work, what is success personally. We need to recalibrate what we expect of others and of ourselves.

Were we to apply our current measures of achievement we would be very likely to fall short. ‘Circumstances out of our control’ have rendered the terms normal and usual foreign for a time. Heights we would normally reach, tasks we would usually complete, are no longer appropriate yardsticks for this year. We need a new view which takes into consideration the disruption and change that has, and is, occurring.

I was in line to achieve my goal for 2020 of a solo exhibition in a capital city. My recalibrated aim is not to allow any disappointment to diminish enthusiasm for later shows. I was planning to establish gallery contacts with regard to future representation. My recalibrated timeline is to tackle that in 2021 when such bodies are back on the level. I was pushing myself to develop a vibrant and growing studio during this year. My recalibrated goal is to maintain a regular art practice despite the lack of outlets for the work. Different times. Different measures.

It is not the year to be criticising ourselves for functioning differently. We can’t expect the same pace in our lives without the same drivers and rewards. We have been thrown back on our own resources which are rich but, perhaps, inconsistent and we need to take that into consideration when tallying up the year’s numbers, either at the end or during the current disorder.

2020 is a remarkable year. We have not encountered anything like it before. This pandemic is exposing rough and uncharted territory. It is, as the world likes to say, ‘unprecedented’. Looking back, we will perhaps forget the frustration of thwarted attempts and under- or different achievement. At the moment, though, we need to recognise that they are inevitable and embrace them, if not warmly, at least politely.

Until later,


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