A little late, unfortunately, due to an IT migration (a First World problem, when we see the huge migrations of humanity underway at the moment).

Yes, 27th October marked the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of Kepstorn – just as a run started on the Northern Rock (remember them?) and a few months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

What an enormous amount has happened (in the last fifteen days, I hear you say!) during that time: credit crunch; recession; recovery; Brexit; pandemic; lock-downs; furlough; recovery (of sorts); war in Europe; energy crisis; another recession.

Each year, I have marked the passing of another twelve months in the life of the business with a look back and an attempt to look forward. Never, in all those 15 years, have I been able to dwell upon such a “wealth” of topics from the previous twelve months. Never, in all those 15 years, has the experience of the previous twelve months provided so little indication of what is to come.

One constant, of course, has been the triumph of the human spirit over any and all adversity. Each of the issues that I listed above (and many more) have, at the time, seemed insurmountable, bordering upon the apocalyptic in certain cases. I hope that it isn’t too naive of me to drop my cynical, thirty-five-years-of-experience-as-a-solicitor demeanour to say that “things” are never as bad as they may seem.

Hindsight isn’t, of course, perspective. It is very difficult to view a problem that you are facing as if with the benefit of six months experience. What everyone should remember, however, is that difficulties of much lesser importance arise all the time and are dealt with. It is often the scale of the difficulty, therefore, that makes it appear insurmountable. What we must just remember is that we can and have dealt with lesser problems and that big problems are just problems to be addressed.

A second constant is the innate generosity of people and the desire to help. Obviously, there are exceptions (some of them egregious) but, as the aphorism goes: “the exception proves the rule”. When faced with the adversity of others (often caused by third parties who are thoughtless, “bad” or even just plain “evil”), the majority of humanity reacts with support, in whatever manner they can or deem the most appropriate. Just because the reaction of some is not the reaction we would naturally have does not mean that they are any-the-less affected by it; it just indicates that they are either less able to provides support or do not appreciate the needs that they are seeking to meet. In short, everyone “cares” in their own, individual ways.

The third “constant”, is communication between people. This is what lead to the evolution of the human race and it is what continues to push us forward. It is made all so much easier (but, in certain respects, more toxic) by the advent of social media. The positive of this is, however, the power to mobilise the human spirit, to educate the innate human generosity and to focus this on those that are in need of help. Be it in Ukraine, in Somalia, in China, in Iran or, frankly, anywhere we care to look, there are people in need who we can help.

The last fifteen years (and centuries and longer), have shown that, however imperfectly, help will be offered. It often isn’t enough, it often isn’t what is actually the most essential but the will is there. What we must strive to achieve is the global mobilisation of the human spirit, the focus of human generosity where it is most needed and the relief of adversity of whatever form, wherever it occurs. That must be the true legacy of social media.

In short, soldier on as there is no going back, and try and make the most of the cards we are dealt. Help those who you can; seek help from those who may be able to assist; and help spread the sense of a shared ideal of the progress of all humanity.