This is probably the most personal thing I’ve written on my blog so far, so it feels a bit weird. That’s OK though, as 2013 is going to be my year of taking risks and doing things which are outside my comfort zone.
I’ve realised that it’s just too easy to sit and let the world pass by.
I guess that when most people summarise their 2012 it will be full of all the things they’ve achieved or done. Holidays, a promotion, a new baby.
Mine has been a little different as it’s been a year of rediscovering who I am.
Over the last few years a number of things outside of my control have happened, and I’ve not dealt with them very well. I’ve made a few bad decisions (or non-decisions), had the wrong priorities in life and basically over time I forgot who I am. During the hard times it’s easier to follow others than be followed.
Needless to say, going into 2012 I had realised this and I was extremely positive – things were going to change. It was a brand new year and I was turning 30 in January. A new decade, a new start.
This is how I got on, and these are the top ten things I rediscovered. It’s quite a weird collection:
- Old Friends
One thing you learn after a while is that whilst you may have lots and lots of friends, it’s those you are closest to that make the biggest difference to your life.
Whilst I’m not saying that all of my friends aren’t important to me – they are, but you have to pick and choose the ones that you want as a constant through your life and ensure you make an effort towards them.
This is what I’ve done. Whilst over my very recent years I’ve made some very close friends who I will continue to see a lot of, I got my life balance wrong which meant that I’ve neglected some others.
2012 saw me spend a lot of time with some of my oldest friends, from university and my home town.
I don’t want to be able to classify my friends into Past and Present. I want my friends to be part of my Present and my Future.
2. Red Dwarf
I’m not really a big TV watcher. When I’m at home I prefer to be doing something whether it’s playing my guitar, writing or reading. However, I had a big stroke of luck when my friend won tickets to the SFX Weekender in March and asked me to go. “We won’t enjoy it, it’s far too geeky” we said. “Yeah, it’s a free weekend in Wales if nothing else isn’t it?”
How wrong were we? We bought our tickets for 2013 the following week.
Sitting in the bar in front of those ginormous TV screens reminded my just how funny a sweaty socked slob, a laundry obsessed robot, a man evolved over three million years from cats and a holographic smeghead can be.
More importantly, it also reminded me how to switch my brain off and do absolutely nothing.
We all need time out to just relax.
Ok, anyone that knows me will tell you I always look like an idiot in photos cos I pull stupid faces when I’ve had a few.
But this year, I got to pose with hair for the first time in ages.
Don’t be afraid of looking silly. It can be fun.
Over the last few years I’ve done a lot of travelling and have absolutely loved it all. I’ve been to far flung places including Australia, Thailand and Peru. This year, with some of those old friends I mentioned before, I had a proper little travel through Europe.
I’d forgotten that you don’t need to sit on a plane for 18 hours to have a decent holiday, and the beauty and character of Prague, the majesty of Vienna, the natural charm of Slovenia, the beaches and general friendliness of Croatia, combined with the mind blowing grandeur of Venice reminded me of that. I even had a brilliant week in Dorset, in a caravan, in the rain.
Shorter, more regular holidays closer to home are looking far more attractive to me than they used to. I’ll still do my big travels don’t get me wrong, but not every year.
This premise can be attributed to more than just holidays.
You don’t have to look far for something amazing to do.
Last year I went a bit mental and asked for a soup maker for Christmas. (For anyone that’s not seen one, it’s basically a blender with an inbuilt heating element.)
I know, I’m a little ashamed. I’m a single bloke, I should be getting computer games, drum kits, football shirts, or if it has to be something household based – a home brew kit. (Note: As it’s Christmas, if anyone’s feeling generous anything on the list above would be cracking. Cheers)
Still, it was a great present. There are very few things better than soup on a cold winter’s day.
I love cooking when you don’t need a recipe. Just chuck anything you like into a soup maker and it works.
Butternut squash and chilli with a random selection of other vegetables always wins.
In fact, I’m actually supposed to be making soup now instead of writing. Looks like I’m having it after my main course.
Make soup. Oh, and eat your greens.
- Heavy metal
I know heavy metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, that’s been my problem.
Since I finished university I’ve found it more difficult to find people to go to gigs with and I’ve found myself just giving up asking, and eventually not going at all. This made me sad, and I eventually realised that I’d pretty much stopped listening to music.
At school I played piano, french horn and sang. I was in all the bands, orchestra’s, choirs etc. After school I played guitar, wrote songs and sang them to all my friends at uni. I even bought a trumpet all because of Reel Big Fish. So it should be fairly clear how important a role music has played in my life, and to forget that is pretty dismal going.
But this year I’ve found that as I’ve been regaining my identity I’ve been listening to lots more music again. I began in February in the 90’s when I regressed to my Brit-pop days. Oasis, Lightening Seeds, Pulp and Supergrass were bizarrely sandwiched between Nirvana and Fear Factory as my musical tastes grew through my teens.
Having re-discovered or found new gig friends along the way this year, I’ve been to see Terrorvision, Marilyn Manson and Less Than Jake in the last couple of months, and have bought my Download ticket for the summer. That’s the way my world should be.
And thanks to a TV programme called Metal Evolution which I watched last night, I discovered a genre called Power Metal. Songs about elvish wars with ridiculously fast guitar solos, where have you been all my life?
If your friends don’t share your interests, search out some new ones that do.
I just love the word “Fish.” There’s just something so satisfying about saying it.
Take the emphasis off the “i” and hold the “sh”. That’s it, more like “fshhh.”
Makes you warm in the gills doesn’t it?
Next time your boss asks you what you think about something, just simply say “Fish.”
Being a bit weird is healthy.
- Making People Laugh – Literally
I’ve always had a creative streak which has always involved humour. When I was at school I used to write stupid stories and poems to make my friends laugh. When I was at uni I invented “Prank Rock.” That’s comedy acoustic punk to you. In the last few years I’ve got into my writing properly again, but have mainly done it for myself. I’ve shared it with one or two of my friends, but until this year it has been a largely solitary hobby.
That is until I began writing my novel “In That Other Dimension…” on my blog here. I really enjoyed it, it felt good to share my writing and my sense of humour with people. Even more so, having my friends, and on occasion complete strangers, tell me that it was good and it had made them laugh made my writing more worthwhile.
Blogging my novel really spurred me on to finish it and get it ready for publishing. I have now edited it three times and passed it to my beta-readers for Christmas. Aren’t I kind?!
Sharing an interest is rewarding.
- Enjoying waking up to go to work
Haha. Did you really think I’d discovered how to do this?
The implied title of point 9, is “Sarcasm.”
Maintain your sense of humour through everything.
And through the nine points you have read above, you can see that over the year I’ve begun to rediscover exactly who I am.
If you forget who you are, it can be hard to find yourself again. You can’t instantly force yourself to enjoy things, and some things you do just grow out of (like trousers. It’s well annoying.)
I’m not 100% there, but what I do know is that this is the most positive I’ve been going into the New Year for a long time. I’ve got a whole long list of things I want to do this year and I am pretty sure I’ll knock a fair few off fairly soon.
Anyway, if you’re still with me I hope that you enjoyed the read and it might even have helped you in some way. Here’s to doing what is important to you, and having a positive and successful 2013.
Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
But don’t do that just cos I told you to 😉
© Matty Millard 2012