Sunday, January 2, 2011

New year, new start

30 seconds in to the new year... Its a lovely cool evening, I'm sitting on the balcony with a cup of tea, fireworks are going off over Bangkok, John McClain has just beaten the bad guys in nakatomi tower, and the Thais are singing and dancing down by the klong below me... It already feels like a great start to the year.

It's my 40th new year this year, which has been somewhat of a bench mark, far more of a mile stone than I ever believed it would be. I never really believed reaching 40 would be a problem for me, just didn't see the whole mid life crisis thing being something that would sneak up on me. Although I did not grow my hair (well, thats not strictly true, my hair is a little longer, as is my beard, but it's not in a pony tail), nor did I buy a tie dyed jimi Hendrix t shirt, a Harley davidson and get myself an 18 year old girlfriend, there is no denying it did have an effect.

I think the "mid life crisis" is possibly unavoidable, it just affects the individual in their own unique way. In all honesty how can we avoid reflecting on our lives at such a turning point. Society makes such a big deal of it, even if society didn't, there is no denying the mid way nature of the age, and so it is only natural to look back and reflect while considering where you are going with the next chapter. Why shouldn't we look back at what we feel we may have missed out on, or passed by and not want to rectify that for our futures, true, there are better ways to do that than get a Harley and grow your hair. I am not, after all, talking about trying to recapture ones youth, instead make the most of the time we have going forward, achieve those things we want in our lives. Whether they are things we desired from our younger lives or things that we have grown to realize are important. Either way there is nothing wrong with the reflection and the striving to make more of ourselves and get the most from our lives.

This is what I believe to be the true nature of the mid life crisis, like I say though some choose tie dyed t shirts, muscle motor cycles and girls fresh out of college... For me I want something a little more substantial and fulfilling, and if ever there was a turning point in your life to try and achieve those things, I can't think of better one than turning 40.

What do they say? life begins at 40? I'm not sure how true that is, almost seems like an insult to the 39 years before it. But I will say that at 40 you have certainly lived enough to have a better understanding of what it is you may want, yet may not have achieved or attained in life. And after 40 years i would hope, have the wisdom, the courage and the strength to go out and truly achieve it, whatever it may be.

So as I go in to 2011, with a great start to the year, I hope the things learnt during 2010 and the 39 years before, will give me strength and grounding enough to go forward and achieve some of those things, that my personal form of a mid life crisis highlighted, that I may not have or may not have yet achieved. Only the year ahead will tell, but if the first hour or so of 2011 is anything to go by, it seems off to a good start. John McClain is now taking an airport by storm, the Thais are still singing and dancing by the klong below me, and i've just finished my first blog update in quite some time... feels like it could be a good year already.

Till next time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chapter II

I'm coming back to the blog, having not updated in quite a while... well thats not strictly true. I have updated, i just haven't posted those updates.

The reason for not posting those updates... well there's a few, but the main one I realise, is I have not been writing in my journal.

The updates I have written do not get posted as they do not seem to hold true when I return to them. What I may have written in the morning, when I read again later, may not be strictly true or still hold up. I now realise that these parts of my updates were what went in to my journal and the posts i have written have become more like my journal than my blog. The small more personal details, the details that niggle at my brain like little fish nibbling rocks, the parts that I would feel mean posting, if the people they were about were ever to read them (apologies and explanations should be done in person, not hidden in a blog and hoped they will be read by those people). All those thoughts and feelings went in my journal, but now find themselves poured in to my blog.

I also realise my journal added a small form of structure to my life, some routine. Each day I would get up, while having breakfast I would check my mails, then spend some time writing in my journal before I start my day.

This small routine used to really help the rest of the day unfold in a more organised and relaxed manner, something, again, I have lost.

And so, I will start writing in my journal again and I will start updating the blog again. Things have taken a turn for the worse again in the last few months, although the circumstances now are different to what they were earlier this year, a similar process is needed to get me back on track I feel.

Though all my, quite frankly, false enlightenment and optimism from the beginning of the year has faded, I feel my outlook at this point is far more realistic than it ever has been. Although I am still sad at the things I have lost, the things I have discarded and mistreated, the time I have wasted. Although I am still scared and lonely, longing for a life I once had, I do see that I will have that again. In time, I will achieve and have those things I want, and more importantly, need. For the most part, I will be happy again.

Part of reaching that point, is to keep the routine I found, is to update my journal and my blog. It is to keep pushing, keep achieving, it's working toward those goals I have, staying true to myself and others. It is sculpting the life I want, need and most importantly deserve. Regardless of past indiscretions and mistakes, no matter how bad or severe they were, it is important to remember i do deserve the life I want, but not at the expense of others. Maybe thats why i have not achieved it to this point.

And there lies another good reason to update both the blog and journal, it's the realisations i have while I write.

So, I will leave this post here, the start of another new chapter in both my life and blog.

Turning the page always feels good.

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning." - Louis L'Armour

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It is a beautiful day.

Sitting at my computer, in what I now consider my office, I suddenly realized I had lost site of a few things. The last few days have been hard on me, for one reason or another. But it all came down to one realisation, paradise or not, lonely is lonely, and loneliness is a horrible thing.

This one small thing had managed to completely occupy every thought for me in the last day or so. From regrets of the past, to worries for the future, I couldn’t shake my fear of loneliness.

So while it is still true that I am lonely, I had become fixated. A point I had been making a day or so ago and a post I had been writing, focused on denial and its effects, a post I will still post in time. The reason for that post was because I could no longer deny certain situations in my life were not conducive to me being happy, nor could I deny how lonely I was.

With both of these facts still true, I struggled to get started today. Even though, while watching the Mexican (one of my all time favorite films), looking through the door of the place I am staying, I could see crystal blue waters and a clear blue sky through the palm trees that line the balcony.

So I finally got showered and set out, still consumed by the worries, not noticing the coconut grove as I set off down the hill. The coconut grove, is a large expanse filled with palm trees and huge beautiful volcanic boulders just down from the apartment. As I passed the grove, there would no doubt have been the sounds of the tropical birds native to the island, small birds with shocking yellow beaks and feathers round the eyes, who song I love. There would also have been the sounds of the lizards chirping away, another smallish animal and sound I have quickly become enamored with. Nor did I notice the sun shining down, warming my skin in a way I usually find comforting, nor the lush vegetation which almost seems to glow in the sunlight, nor the butterflies, some as large as my hand, that always dance that same vegetation lining the edge of the road I drive down.

I passed in to town, a lovely small beach community, where in time I know friendships will form, but not giving any of the people a second glance, my mind still completely consumed with my worries and concerns.

I strolled around town for a while, had some lunch, bought some shorts, then head to the office along the beach. The beach I had to walk along, the crystal blue water, the clear blue sky, the people out relaxing, hadn’t even registered. Sitting down, the waitress who now already knows me came over as I started my machine and asked if I wanted my usual, a mixed fruit juice and large bottle of water. Today instead I went for a coconut shake and the water.

So once the machine started up, I checked my facebook page as the waitress brought me my drinks, with what would have been a pleasant smile that I did not notice either. I checked my mails and messages sipping my drinks, but not really reading any of them, still consumed with these worries of denial and loneliness.

In this past year while trying to get myself and my life to a point I am proud and happy with, I have started to follow a number of web sites, all of which I have mentioned before. I had a message from the bridge maker, they had an update How to be Happier: 16 life rules to remember.

So, after dealing with a few messages and mails I decided to read the post. As always the majority of the post made sense, most of which stuff I had already learnt over the past few months from various other sources I had read and watched. Some of the post did not apply, as anyone who knows me knows, I am not religious, not in the sense the bridge maker means at least. I do not believe in a Christian idea of a god, which the bridge maker quite obviously does. But even still each of the 16 points did makes sense, even those that required a belief in god, the title for those points just had a different but relevant meaning to me.

At the bottom of the post was a list of additional reading, other guides to happiness the bridge maker saw as relevant or good advice. So I started to click through the links, I got through maybe the first two or three, all of which made sense. At some point, one of the pages took a little while to load, more to do with the internet connections on the island than anything else I’m sure, but while this page was loading I sat back in my chair, picked up my water and took a sip.

As I looked up at the view in front of me, the advice I was just reading fresh in my mind, my eyes opened for the first time today.

It is a beautiful day

The sky is a lovely shade of light blue, with a gentle breeze bringing in fresh air and the faint smell of the sea. A few clouds dot the horizon above crystal blue waters that stretch as far as I can see, with the areas of the island I can see, to the left and right of me, a landscape of rolling hills covered in lush tropical vegetation. Relaxing music is quietly playing from the ‘office’ and I can hear the sounds of the sea gently kissing the shore. Now I have taken the time to notice, I can hear the birds I love so much and missed on my earlier trip, accompanied by those lizards. The island dogs, friendly and for the most part owned, run the length of the beach playing and splashing in the water.

There are a few, but not many, people on the beach, some laying out enjoying the sun others playing simple beach games. One of the islands only real types of taxi, the long tail boat, has just come to shore. It is dropping off a number of people, people who have either just visited somewhere else on the island, a spot, to be honest, probably more beautiful than even this small slice of paradise. Or they are people coming here for some shopping, from one of the more remote areas of the island. In the distance I can see one of the dive boats, most likely full of people either going out to dive, or coming back having just done so.

Sat next to me a couple sit laughing, playing their own version of jenga, while in front of me a number of people lay relaxing, chatting, drinking, soaking up the sites and sounds. The ‘office’ is a small wooden structure, surrounded by palm trees, directly on the beach. It has free wi-fi for punters, free power supplied for your laptop, it serves food and drink, and in front has a decked area covered with low tables and thai lounge cushions for relaxing on. All the staff, exceptionally friendly, now know me and now call me internet for the fact I come in most days, sit here working while ordering drinks all day.

A guys just walked in who has recognized me from the last few days, said hi and asked how things are and I’ve just got a text asking if I want to grab a drink at another of the beach bars. Which I’m now off to do and will finish this post when I get back.

So, I’m not in the office any longer, I now sit in a bar further down the beach, with what is to be honest a better view, as I can now clearly take in the edges of the island. Iron maiden plays quietly in the background and the guys obviously listening to it, are playing killer on the pool table, which I’ve said I’ll be in on when I finish playing this. On the way down I noticed the beach cinema was playing 28 Weeks Later tonight which I think I’ll go watch. The beach cinema is a large sheet attached to some poles set out on the beach, the nearest bar has a projector and they show films most nights. The other night it was Surfs Up, one of my faves, although that night it made me a little sad for one reason or another.

And so sitting here watching the sky turn a deep red I realise that much like the things I have been reading today have said, a little perspective is needed. A little appreciations for what I do have instead of fretting and worrying about what I do not. Denial is not such a powerful thing that it stops you worrying about the truth. Denial wouldn’t be so bad if it were, at least in denial you could find some peace. Instead denial is just the mechanic that stops you doing what you know must be done.

Equally loneliness is not something that can be cured with a clear blue sky and crystal blue waters, no mater how beautiful. Not when the type of loneliness I mean, is the want to share this with someone truly close to you. Someone you want sitting beside you, laughing and playing jenga. Someone you want to see these things because you know their appreciation for them will be just as passionate as yours. Someone that once the sun has set and you’re feeling tired, you can both go home, falling asleep watching movies in the comfort that when you wake in the morning, the first thing you’ll see, before the bright blue sky, before the crystal clear sea, before the palm trees, will be that one person. That one person, who so long as they‘re by your side, you‘ll never feel lonely.

Loneliness is hard enough, but harder still when you know you’ve had what you crave, just as hard knowing you could have that again. Knowing you could have money in time is no real comfort when you have none, companionship is no different. But until that time comes, until I do find the person who can fill that void. Until I do find the courage to face denial and deal with it, I need to appreciate what I do have in my life.

Stuck in world of complaints, never appreciating the good around you, leaves you stuck in that world of misery, as misery is all you will see. Appreciations of those things you do have, no matter how small or large, makes spotting and appreciating the new opportunities as they come along, easier. It opens your eyes to those small windows of opportunity that move us on to the next happy moment, happy situation, helps us build upon the good we do have with more. It helps us find the strength to deal with the denials in our life, accept the truths if those things that are making us miserable. open our eyes to the people and things that could again make us happy.

I of all people should find appreciation easy, as I of all people have a life worth appreciating, especially given the life I have. in truth, today, I feel disappointed in myself for some of the complaining and self pity that I go through. Sure my life is not perfect, I can think of a number of situation I would love to change right now, but the truth is, all of those situations are beyond my control. So although my life is not perfect, rather than dwelling on those points that are less than perfect, points beyond my control, I should be focusing on the steps I can take to makes sure I achieve those things that are under my control.

I should be appreciating how truly beautiful my life is.

If I can truly appreciate that, in time, that thing I want that is beyond my control, will come to me in one form or another.

'Feeling grateful to or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.' - Christiane Northrup M.D.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Location, location, location

It is hard to complain when you’ve realized you’re sitting in paradise, not only that you’re sitting there, but you can chose to live there as long as you like…

I have not updated in some time, something that I will not let happen again. I’ve realized writing these blog updates was a real part of the getting myself together process, and no longer writing these, or keeping my journal up to date, directly coincides with the time things started to slide out of my control again.

The small routine of writing in my journal, or writing these updates brought to my life a small amount of stability I found comforting. Also, while writing blog or journal entries it helped organise the mess of thoughts, emotions and realisations that run through my head. Getting them out, either in blog or journal format helped first to organise them as I read them back to myself, but also feel like a form of confession. Confession in the religious sense was something I never used to understand, it always felt like a superstitious cop out, and for some I’m sure it is, but I realise it also serves a greater purpose. But that’s not the point of this entry and so is something for another day. So, as I was originally saying, I will not neglect neither the blog or the journal for so long again.

As I mentioned above, since my trip to America and the peace that had started to bring to me, things have slid a little again. Some things I can talk about, unfortunately, as much as I’d love too, other problems I can not, not for the time being at least. Things have not slid completely, far from it, I do not believe they could, but slid they have. Certain aspects of my life, that I really felt were coming together, and really did make me happy, now feel like they are slipping away from me. But I still have hope, whether it be false or otherwise, that those aspects with time will find a way through to the outcome I would like. Those things that I feel are within my power to control, that I feel have slid away from me a little, I am now taking a firm hold of and wrestling back in to line again. Although it does feel a little like trying to wrestle Chicken on a Chain in to line. But updating this blog again, is a part of that that battle royale.

So my point in this post, like I said, as much as I still have problems, troubles, worries, much like the perspective I found in America, I am having a similar realisation here.

Problems, troubles and worries will never completely leave me, I think they are an unavoidable part of life, or an unavoidable part of the kind of life I want. As I come to terms with one aspect of myself or my life, I am sure something else will raise its head and need dealing with, due to the fact, that for the immediate future at least, life will not be… stable. At least not in the sense of buying a place, setting up home, and having those things that, cement us in place. I need to find what it is that makes me feel more complete as an individual first, something I certainly havent achieved to date. Something I feel I have looked to others and external influences for, something I plan on changing.

But, what I am growing to realise, is that I am in an extremely fortunate position in life. Where at the drop of a hat I can change my location for any location I chose. This year alone I have been lucky enough to visit New York for the first time, San Francisco, sit in a cabin on the banks of a river enjoying the natural beauty of Oregon, Bangkok and now find myself on a small island in Thailand. Nothing less than a tropical paradise, sunshine, sandy beaches, blue waters, palm trees, exotic wildlife, surrounded by relaxed friendly and happy people from all walks of life. And I am sure, no I know, this will not be the last place I visit this year. It is likely I will head back to America before the year is out, as well as Canada and if things go the way I hope they will, I will also visit parts of Europe.

Sure, location is not the bee all and end all of life, far from it, but for me at least it seems to be a big part of it, a big part of feeling better with whats happening in my life. Being somewhere new, or somewhere I find to be calming, visually stunning, exciting or inspiring, it at least feels like I am not wasting time, not wasting that 1440 by letting worries about things out of my control, or things that will obviously take time to deal with, sort out, or come to terms with, bring me to a complete halt. A huge part of my problems feel lifted, I feel like I am moving forward. Rather than standing still, or god forbid, moving backward, letting those fears, worries and troubles keep me in place or drag me back to something easier, something that I have wanted to move on from.

I feel like I am not letting fear rule my life, instead I face of those fears and move on anyway. Like I say, the problems never go, you can not run from fears or problems, no matter how far or fast you go they will catch up, not even catch up they just stay with you as you move. But when one of my problems is a fear of not doing enough with the life I am given, letting various fears stop me from moving on, coming somewhere like this makes me feel like I am dealing with at least some of those problems and fears.

To sit where I am, writing this, a small bar down on the beach, crystal clear rich blue waters, sun setting on the horizon, music quietly playing, the sounds of people talking, enjoying their time here. Compared to sitting at a small desk in my, or someone else’s living room, alone, with nothing to look at but the houses opposite and the storm clouds brewing over head. The change in location has a huge effect, obviously, I do not feel like I am wasting away, letting my life run away from me when I have been given the opportunities to do so much with it and I want to do, see and experience so much within this world.

And if nothing else, out of the two locations, which sort of location would I rather face those fears and problems in.

I think we all know the answer to that.

we’re not lost, we’re locationally challenged.” - John M. Ford.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Flame on!

I have not forgotten the blog, though on the surface it may feel that way. Since returning to the UK things have been a little up and down, somewhat of a roller coaster ride.

There is a lot that needs saying, a lot I want to say, but I want to get it right and do not want to rush a post. I do not want to say things, express things, release thoughts in to the world that are not strictly true, that do not honestly represent how I feel or where I am.

I have found, being back for this short period, that this place has a strange effect on me. Can warp my perspective, change my emotions, feelings or positively in an instant. Which although on the surface is bad, does have one positive side to it, it has helped me realise a large part of the problems I suffered prior to February 4th 2009.

This inner peace i have found is fragile, delicate, as I described it yesterday, its like a small candle in a large dark room. The life i have come back to is like a thousand people hiding in the shadows of that dark room, all trying to extinguish that candle, blow out that small fragile flame of hope, contentment and happiness. While here, I feel like I am constantly trying to protect that flame from being extinguished, constantly on edge, constant trying to guard the that tiny ray of light against a life, an existence, desperate to extinguish it and send me back in to the darkness of before.

So long as I can guard that small flame, protect it from those breaths in the dark, that small flame will light a bigger candle, which will light a small fire and in time this flame of happiness, this tiny fragile flame of contentment and peace will ignite an inferno, almost impossible to extinguish.

At that point I can return to my old life, happy in the knowledge that the large shadow filled room no longer exists, let alone hides things wishing to extinguish that flame. Like the Human Torch, I will be the inferno, I will be an embodiment of happiness, peace and contentment. That tiny fragile candle will have grown in to something inextinguishable, and I will be able to do anything. Including returning to dark room full of shadows, safe in the knowledge that no amount of hidden shadows with fire extinguishers or fire hoses would be able to put me out.

"Flame on!" - The Human Torch 

Monday, April 20, 2009


Ok, i've started an additional blog, a companion to this one if you will. No i'm not going to end up with thousands of blogs, just these two... honest.

The blog is my gratitude stone. It will be a regular list, daily if possible, of things to be grateful for in my life as each 1440 minutes pass. The premise is explained a little better in the first post of the blog.

This post was meant to be the "where it began" post, although I'm not sure it will take that direction once I start writing. And i apologise for the length, having got to the end, its a little long...

My mum took a bit of a tumble in this last week. I haven't had the chance to speak to her at the time of starting this, but from what i can tell she has had a number of dizzy spells which have resulted in a fall where she has cut her head and hurt her back.

Thankfully she is ok, but still... It scared me a little.

Mostly because i am so far away, and had a sudden feeling of helplessness. With no real phone signal and not seeing the e mail, i did not find out for a little while. What if it had been a lot more serious?

The ever growing popular opinion that we live in a small world is not strictly true, ask most Americans to walk anywhere (no offense guys). To be honest, most of America has not been built to walk, outside of city centers it would appear sidewalks do not even exist. Anyway, I am getting off my point.

The world is far from being a small place, its a big place, a very big place, with huge areas still lacking decent communications. I am in San Francisco at the moment and have zero phone reception where i am staying. Not only that, although compared to years gone by, getting anywhere in the world is a lot quicker, its still far from quick... especially if you want to be anywhere due to something serious. A 24 hours trip to get home for serious reasons feels a lot longer than the 24 hours spent travelling for pleasure.

This has all raised a point inside me, that rather selfishly, i had decided not to dwell on too much previously. The sacrifices that need to be made to live a life i want to live. The balancing of seeing the world, experience this incredible and diverse planet we are lucky to live on but not neglect those close to me.

My family and I are close, not as close as some, but a lot closer than others. When I say not as close as some let me explain, I do not believe any family could love one another anymore than we do, but as my family will tell you, even when I live literally 5 minutes down the road, I am not the best at keeping up contact. Let if I am on the other side of the planet. I forget birthdays, do not pick up the phone, do not make that five minute walk for a quick cup of tea just to catch up and say hi. This rings true for all my relationships, as anyone who knows me will tell you. It is not a reflection on how i feel about the people in my life, it is a part of who I have become and something I plan on changing.

We have a finite existence on earth and we can not afford to dwindle a single second of that time. So i now chose to get out there, and make most of the time I have been given. The flip side of that is, I am continuously some distance from my family and close friends.

I have to find the balance of using that time wisely in all areas. No, i do not want to reach the end of the time i have been given and realise i have seen nothing with it, experienced nothing of the diverse planet around me. Equally i do not want to reach the end of that time and realised i have spent very little of it with the people who matter to me the most.

There is a big difference between being selfish and being selfish. To live your own life requires a certain amount of selfishness, but not letting those who care, that you are ok, or not giving them an hour for a cup of tea if you’re five minutes down the road is just plain selfish, in no sort of positive way. Not to mention the way I have treated other, extremely important people in my life at times… but that’s something for a different post.

I know my family and friends do not expect me to live next door to them, to be at their houses every day (they would get sick of me). I also know they want me to have and live the sort of life that will make me happy. I have seen the pain in my mothers eyes when i am at my absolute lowest, her feeling of helplessness when she can see how much trouble i am and literally falling apart in front of her. Equally i can see the worry in my Dad's eyes when he can see me struggling with my life, see that i am not living my life to it's full potential, not getting from it everything i want and need to make me happy.

To waste my life, to spend more time miserable than happy, would be an insult to both my parents and everything they have done for me, so that can not and will not happen.


I also do not want to waste time not appreciating and enjoying the relationships i have been blessed with. So i need to find some middle ground. I need to stay in touch more, I need to make sure that when i am in England, I do make the time to catch up with those people properly. Yes this is my life to lead, my life to enjoy, to find the things that make me feel complete, make me feel whole, make me feel happy and make me feel i am not wasting the 1440 minutes i am given everyday.

But there are people that love me and would like to spend some of their time with me, and for me to spend some of my time with them. Or at the very least know where i am and what is going on for me, those people deserve a lot more of the time i have, than i have been giving them. If i have time to write on this blog, I have time for an e mail, time for that call, and i certainly have enough time for a cup of tea while i am in England.

I am not saying i can change over night, god knows it took me 38 years to get to this point, but contacting those i love needs to become second nature, and not something i just happen to remember occasionally or when they message me to make sure i am still alive.

I love my family very much, something i do not tell them nearly enough. I am grateful to everyone of them as they have shaped and encouraged the person i am now happy to find my self becoming. I want to live a life and be a person they will all be proud of, not just because I am family, but because the things i am and the things i do are truly worthy of pride.

I love my friends, very much, and i am grateful for the chances they have repeatedly given me over the years. Especially when some of my actions as i descended in to the person i used to be, would give them every right to never speak to me again.

I am grateful to the people that stuck by me, family and friends, grateful to the people that knew i was in trouble and believed i would one day find a way through and supported, encouraged and helped me as I did, finally, start to find a way through.

Equally, I completely understand those who did not, could not stand by me any longer and so why they no longer do. Regardless of how much trouble I was in, I do not deserve their love, friendship or support. The way I treated them, the way I treated the things they gave to me, the support and love they showed me, is nothing short of disgusting. When your own problems, or your own actions as a person, are causing that amount of damage to those close to you, those people have to let go and move on, for their own lives to be as fulfilling as I want mine to be. That I do understand, regardless of how much I regret the loss. So I will always be beyond gratefull for the time, love and support they gave me, for as long as they could.

The comment "oh its only Neil, you know what he's like" is no longer good enough. If anyone has any cause to make a comment like that, it means you have done something, no matter how large or small, to upset or offend that person. No one close to me should ever have to think that and from now on, I intend to try my hardest to make sure they never do. No one who cares should ever have to think "I haven't heard from neil in a while, I hope he's ok" and so I intend to try my hardest to make sure they never do.

I guess my point is, just like my actions as a person, the things i am doing and where i am, should never cause the slightest worry to those who care about me. Certainly not due to something as small as a lack of contact.* If I am not climbing Everest or trekking through the Amazon, it should not take me a few days to find out my Mum has taken a fall and be able to make sure she is ok.

Seems like 1440 words wouldn’t be so difficult after all… not once I get going.

“Get not your friends (and family) by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.” - Socrates

* i can not stop people worrying if i am engaging in an activity they see as possibly dangerous obviously ;)

Friday, April 17, 2009


I struggled with this post, a lot, hence the delay.

I had decided what I had wanted to write by the time I'd finished writing the previous post, i usually have by the time i finish a post. Already, even this early on in the blog, i dont like to deviate from that. I guess it's because it feels like one post leads naturally in to the next, unfolding like a story. But this is not a story, this is an unfolding account of my life, and much like life, things tend to come up, things that just cant be ignored and so plans change, ideas change, posts change. Regardless of whether we like it or not, or it feels like one thing should naturally lead to the next, thats not always the way things are and i think it's important to learn to bend with that. Stay true to yourself and what you want to do, but don't be so rigid in your approach and rules that you end up breaking, bend, flex, so you dont break.

So this will not be the "where it began" post I had planed, that may come next, who knows. Instead it will be what it is, something i'm not quite sure of yet.

First of all i'd like to say a goodbye. One of the sad things that happened, which stopped me in my tracks, a friend from school passed recently. We were no longer close, if we were ever really "close" at school and had only met again recently through facebook. Still it really struck me and I would just like to say my thoughts are with her family and friends. With the very little i did now know her, she will be missed greatly, that i know.

It made me realise just how fragile and short life is, how every second should be treated as a gift, a miracle, and used to its full potential. Not taken for granted, as so many of us do. Something i have most certainly been guilty of for a large part of my life truth be told. Something i plan to no longer let happen.

This year has been a strange one so far, strangest of my life in fact. Last year had a truly miserable end and I was without question at my lowest point. Looking back now, not that I mentioned this to anyone, but worryingly low. I was on the edge of something really really unpleasant, and things were already really really unpleasant, so i dont like to think where i was heading.

Although it would now appear I am slowly but surely turning that around, my concern there, is that is one of the worrying traits of the manic depressive.* Everything seems rosey and great, getting better and better, then without warning BAM! you crash, hard... the opposite equal of the high you were experiencing. So at the moment i am tentatively waiting to see if thats the case. Although between you and me, not that i want to curse things, honestly, it doesn't feel like that.

This doesnt feel like the previous highs, there was something fake, false to most of those. They felt more like lies i was telling myself, to convince myself i was doing ok. Hence why I would crash so hard with the realisation "my" life sucked... or I sucked at least, but back then my life, my lies and myself were one in the same thing... kind of.

This feels different, it feels like I am really leading a life I am meant to be leading, finally pushing my life in the direction its meant to be going. Yes, pushing, it is what I think you have to do to get the life you want, push, hard. Only dead fish go with the flow as they say. You have to swim upstream, the whole way, as the second you stop swimming, that current will take you straight back in to that rut, that current, that was the easy life.

Anyway, back to my point, yes this year has been strange, and yes, up until this year my life sucked, in a lot of ways, certainly not all, but a lot. But, i dont want people to think this blog will just be post after post of misery and woes, as thats not the case. It has dawned on me that it may have looked like it was shaping up that way, but far from it.

This blog is a testament to the fact that my life is turning around. I could never have written this blog before now, as i couldnt admit there were problems. That I was not the kind of person I wanted to be, or that I even liked, that I was not living the kind of life I would want to live. Not even when I admitted there were problems, did i accept that there were and do anything about them. Not even when people pointed out the serious flaws in me and my life did i accept that those people were right (well, some of the time at least). Is the funny thing, knowing you have problems and truly accepting you have problems are very different things.

Anyway, this blog is far from doom and gloom, I will talk about the doom and gloom in my life of course. Equally I will talk about how I am turning that around, what I am changing in myself and my life to be a better person, the sort of person I would like and have a better life, the sort of life I would enjoy. This blog is more a celebration of the turning point, a developing map of the undiscovered country that is my existence going forward. this blog is those positive steps and my understandings, more than it is the history of the miseries that was me and my life to date. As i said, those stories will be told, but only when i fully understand them and so I am in a place to change them.

i will talk as much about the things i have realised and discovered and the ways to correct them to make myself and life better, as i will about the downs and lows i felt and still feel, about myself, my life and the way i lived my life.

So please, do not think this blog will be a running diatribe on me and my existence, it wont be, although it may seem that way at times. Every moan, every complaint, every time i pick holes in myself, these are all realisations and acceptances and only with true realisation and acceptance can there come real change.

Thats what my life is now about and so equally, that is what this blog is about.

I had started to write an additional to this, more that had happened since starting to write the post. I will leave that for another time though, this is more than enough waffle for anyone reading to have to suffer in one sitting.

Until next time

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." - George Bernard Shaw

*I am not sure if i mentioned the depression before, but if i havent, i have now, and will talk about that side of my existence in more depth another time

Monday, April 6, 2009


where to start? this may seem a strange question given that i am already two posts in.

the first post was more an explanation of the whys, why the name? and why the blog? beginnings was more a description of why i struggled to start the blog... and my life i guess... and commitment to start, no matter how difficult.

this is more a case of where do i start with the ongoing nature of the blog?

so, where do i start?

so much has gone before this point, that i want to get out, i could be here for days and fill page after page. over time i know i will, but for now do i start with mistakes made? lessons learnt? the things i've achieved? more importantly, the things i havent? maybe the things i have seen and done, or, again, more importantly, the things i havent?

do i start with the problems of the last few years, or with the more underlying problems within myself which have been developing for years? maybe i start with more positives than negatives, the events and people that have shaped the more positive areas of both myself and my life?

herein lies a problem i'm sure a lot of people have, and ties directly in to the beginnings post of before. once i get over that daunting thought of a blank page, i spend so much time trying to figure out where to start, i forget the important part, which is starting. once the ball is rolling, its easier to keep it rolling. like a car that needs pushing, getting those tires moving is the most strenuous part of the push, but once its moving, keeping it rolling is easier... relatively at least. like my blank page, it doesnt matter where i start, so long as i start, the page will get done.

so, now that i have started, i have decided the best place for me to start, is at the beginning... where it began. not the day i was born, far from it, more like where the events that got me to where i am really began. where the events that shaped the man... the person, i am today.*

so where i start, is where it began, at least where i feel it began. combining both my rise from being the boy who grew in shoeburyness wasting time, to the meteoric fall that brought me to the person i see in the mirror today. nothing too specific i guess, more a brief stroll memory lane. i'll concentrate on the sites on the way back.

take the first step in faith. you dont have to see the whole stair case, just take the first step" - dr martin luther king jr.

*i change the man to the person, as in truth, i do not really see myself as being a man. being a man has little to do with age, but more to do with actions and in all truth, my actions to date are not those of a male human i consider to be a real man. but thats a story for a later post

Saturday, April 4, 2009


When starting this blog, to be honest, I had no idea what to write. Not just for that first post (although I didn’t really say anything, I just rambled) but generally, I had no idea what I was going to say, or what I even wanted to say.

This is largely due to the fact that beginnings, for me at least, are a daunting thing. No matter what the beginning is, no matter how large, or how small, starting something new is daunting. At times exciting, of course, at others frustrating, but nine times out of ten, daunting regardless and so in turn, somewhat scary.

In the past, this daunting feeling of beginnings has repeatedly stopped me getting what I want. Be it achieving what needs achieving, completing what needs completing, or more importantly being what or who I need to be. The easy, less daunting route never seems to deliver what needs delivering, whatever that may be.

As most of you know I draw comics for a living, among a million and one other ideas I constantly have, but my nine to five (or 10am-3am usually) to pay the bills, is drawing men in tights. Every page, every single time, I have that daunting feeling, for numerous reasons.

The blank page in front of me is slightly overwhelming, all of that empty space needs to be filled with lines, lines that form pictures, pictures of a quality that someone will want to print. More importantly, of a quality that once printed, somneone would want to part with their hard earned money to take home and look at.

At times those pages come with frustration, knowing that it will take me hours to finish that page, when theres a million and one other things I would rather do… Which usually means I can find a million and one other things to do instead, usually still things I don’t really want to do.

And at times, a new page is exciting, exciting as I really want to draw what ever it is that’s going to be on the page. On other occasions it may just be exciting because I am feeling inspired, or like I want to draw.

Bizarrely, especially given my job or my talent (I struggle to write that, which I will explain at a later date), I’m rarely excited because I want to draw or feel inspired or creative, as I rarely want to draw, or feel creative, something else for a later date.

But regardless of wether I feel excited or frustrated, that daunting, overwhelming feeling at the pit of my stomach is there.

At this time, the blank page ahead of me that my life has now become is daunting. Daunting, scary but also exciting.

I have regrets and sadness over the life I’m leaving behind... No, i have regrets and sadness over the way i have lived the life i leave behind, over some of the things I’ve lost, the time, possibilities and options I have wasted, or let pass me bye. All due to one fear or another, lies I have told others, more importantly, lies I have told myself. Still, in addition too those regrets, I do have a blank page in front of me.

I have a few debts, relatively large debts, for how little I have, but money has never been a huge worry for me (maybe to my own downfall). I have a career I now want to build, and feel ready to build for the first time in my life. The fact I call it a career now is a sign of that and I am lucky in the fact that my career goes wherever I want to go. Asside from these small things, I have very little that now needs considering when I think about the direction I want my life to take at this point.

So like this blog, and like every blank page, I find the beginning in front of me daunting, exciting but daunting. But equally, like this blog and like those pages and things don’t get done, if blogs don’t get written, if pages don’t get drawn, I will have very little to blame but myself if life does not get lived. And like this blog and like those pages I wont let that daunting, overwhelming feeling stop me from getting things done anymore, like it so often has in the past

“Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try” - Yoda

Monday, March 30, 2009


While strolling through New York a few weeks back, it dawned on me how little time we really have in every day, 1440 minutes to be exact. By my count, thats not many. Like the header says, I realised if I didnt have a word to say for every one of those few, precious, minutes, I was doing something wrong.

To date, when I look back on my life, I would have to say I've been doing a lot wrong. Something I had already decided to correct at the turn of this year, hence me being in New York in the first place.

I’d been wanting to do a more personal blog for some time, and when I came up for the idea for this blog, it was to be updated every day and each post would be 1440 words long, a word for every minute of my life. In attempting to write that first post, I realised writing 1440 words every 24 hours, would use a lot of those precious 1440 minutes that I am granted daily.

At that point, the blog was put on hold, as is the case with a lot of things in my life, when they don’t instantly fall in to place. Since then, I have decided the blog itself is more important to me, than the gimic I’d come up with. So here I am.

The format has changed, but the spirit and the content of the blog will remain, it just wont be daily and it wont have 1440 words to every post.

It will be used as a journal of sorts, a way to keep those who care, informed on where I am in the world, physically and mentally. As well as my observations on life around me, as my daily allowance of 1440 minutes pass me by.

Not every thought or action, certain things, thoughts, secrets, deeds, should never be aired on such a public forum. But certainly a lot more personal than I could ever be while talking to most people. So for me, I feel this will be a far more theraputic exercise than seeing someone to talk through my issues with, at least for the time being. I’m sure, eventually, I will have to see someone, but that’s a discussion for a later post.

Some people wont care what I have to say, nor what I am doing. Some wont agree and most will probably think me insane, all of which is fine. If nothing else, it will help me straighten my head in the same way writing in my personal journal does, while giving others an insight to who I am really am. Something very few people have ever really had, not an honest one at least.

I will also be able to look back over the path I trod, the places I’ve been, the things I’ve done and the thoughts I have had, the smaller things we all forget. That in itself, will make this a worth while endevour, at least to me.

Finally, on a purely egotistical level, this will leave some form of a mark for the world to see what I have done with the time I was given. I hope from this point forward, no one will think I wasted it.

Photos will be included when relevant, quotes, art, poetry (yes i write poetry, no laughing)… anything I can use to get my point across, to explain how I feel ,where I am or whatever is going on.

609 Words… 1440 every day would have been far to many to write… and far too many for anyone to have to read.

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates