Rule number one – By @JemBauer

By Jem Bauermeister


Rule number one


“End the year with no regrets” – an ambitious and impossible Christmas assignment.

I tried to ignore the suggested ways of doing this and think about what I actually regret and how I can fix it or confront it before the year is done. Most things that spring to mind are trivial and would take longer than a few days to fix. The colour of my hair, the tightness of my jeans, things like that.

But one of the biggest regrets of 2017 is somewhere along the line losing the positive mentality I used to have. I never used to get angry or frustrated about anything, I used to react to every problem I faced with a stoic “fix it” mentality.

When I used to work in event management I created a document called an “un-budgeted training report”. We filled it out every time an event made a loss or less money than forecast. Down by £400? We’d get out the UBT report and we’d have a meeting where we wouldn’t stop until we’d come up with £400 worth of learning from the experience.

We’d revisit them regularly and when planning future events we would always go check our event proposals against them to make sure none of the mistakes were repeated. We reinvented the debrief in the most optimistic way possible.

But that was the kind of mindset I had back then, and for some reason it’s completely gone.

One of the ways that Marc suggested we could end the year with no regrets was by catching up with an old friend. I felt a pang of guilt when he said this. My best friend Mike and I are both notoriously terrible at meeting or seeing each other. I’ve only seen him once this year for a couple of hours. And the gap before that was about 18 months.

As I was debating the ethics of making our long overdue catch up a Christmas assignment, he called me.

Eighty three minutes of tears and laughter with the person who knows me better than I know myself was so very needed. We talked about books, travel, work, everything. And he made me realise what it was that had killed my optimistic outlook. I’ve spent far too much time avoiding doing the things I love. I’ve felt guilty about “wasting time” reading fiction, I’ve avoided films and TV, I’ve even replaced most of my meals with a vegan vanilla powder drink. Every decision I’ve made has prioritised time and money because they’re both extremely limited while at SCA. Even when I’ve been out doing things unrelated to

advertising it’s been to “collect dots”.

But, it’s made me less myself. It took a phone call with my best friend to remember what it is that get’s me laughing and excited and it’s ok for that to be something other than advertising. If I don’t find a way of stopping the negative thinking that I’ve adopted, it’s going to start spilling over in to my work. If I want to produce work that represents me then I need to be representing me as well.

So in 2018 I’m not going to set myself a bunch of rigid dos and don’ts for my New Year’s Resolutions. I’m just going to vow to have more fun. I’m going to read fiction, get into fitness again and make more time for friends and cooking and slacklining and family and weekend trips.

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