Where Do We Go From Here?

As the days turn to weeks and months, just tumbling from the calendar, I begin to wonder again what it is I want from life.

I am happy with my partner. It has brought a new dimension of contentment to life. But it has brought itself other worries. Money is never far from the equation; there just isn’t enough of it. A year ago I was earning about £3.5k net per month, if not better some months. These days it’s more like a few hundred pounds, and most of that is going to my partner. Not that he needs lots of money, but it’s just a more efficient way of dividing income. The tax advantages of partnership.

But as someone who was used to seeing regular steps forward, I now have a different perspective on life. It is now more like a single block of shitness, one month to the next, and then moving forward in one great leap. The trouble with this new model is I find it hard to keep myself motivated day by day…

I still worry that am going to change my mind one day, or decide that what I really need is my independence back, or, more probably, find myself completely bored of everything once again and find some desperate way to institute a change.

Right now I catch a fleeting few minutes of time on my own in the office. I am never without my partner. He is here in work with me. He is at home with me. We go out together everywhere. We just never leave each other’s side. I actually love it. It’s like us being a tag team for everything. I never thought I’d find constant contact so enjoyable.

But it probably isn’t healthy long-term. I leave the room for too long and my partner gets stressed. Vice versa is mostly true too, though I think I have a more balanced view on things. Mostly, the trouble is because my partner is a bit insecure about himself, his looks, etc. He feels the need for affirmation on a daily basis, and on bad days, more often…

I don’t know whether this will end badly. I am not at all unhappy with it right now. A tiny bit of me is sad that I never did achieve the sexual freedom that I longed to do so whilst I was “on the market” – but, then again, all I need to do is remind myself of the tragically dumb ways in which I handled my emotions back then, and suddenly I decide the grass is definitely greener on my side of the fence.

This is what my life is right now. It feels like I’ve reached a point where I could stay for a little while, but there are so many things that are actually just a little bit disappointing. Work. Life. Sex. Rest. Holidays. Partner. Money. Family. Truth. They are all things that are letting me down in some way…

I can ignore them all for now. But some of them will need to improve.


The Parental Visitation

There aren’t many examples of it, but as I sit here on Easter Sunday in the midst (tragically) of the third act of the bank holiday weekend, it is somewhat different than normal.

Yesterday my parents arrived for a two day visit. They decided, somewhat impromptu, to visit me since they were both on holiday from work and all my other siblings had deserted them. I had a feeling it might happen, as we had briefly talked about it when I was last home, but here it is. Now happening.

It’s nearly two years since they were here last. It’s always good when they visit, because they get to see what a bachelor (haha) life I am leading. The house is in bad need of some attention. So we usually do a tip run, and maybe increase the furnishings of the house just modestly. But they are highly critical of everything here, including such sparsity as there being no lightbulb in the room they are sleeping in (I never use the room, so I forgot! It happens!)

It’s all quite interesting, to be honest. I know there are lots of things that I need to sort out. I just never get the time. I feel like I should make the house nicer to live in, but it’s generally not something I’m good at. I look at the bare walls and think “hmm. What would I put there?” People say photos, art prints, other personal things. I just look at them and think. Hmm. What would I put there? It’s beyond not knowing. It’s actually not caring. I do not care one bit. I don’t know how to. Other people have imagination, and enjoy putting their personal touch. I. Simply. Do. Not. Care.

But what I do care about is what other people think when they visit. So when my parents tell me the environment is somewhat “inhospitable” I start to think maybe I should at least make it have a little more friendliness to my guests, however infrequent they are. I worry about that. I am, in all aspects of my life, somewhat worried about people may “think” of me. Even though I know that that is not a sensible way to live over the long term.

Parking that issue to one side though, it is still nice that my parents are here. We’ve had a nice leisurely breakfast, and we’re going out for something to eat in an hour or so. A nice stroll into town will do us wonders, even though I know my mum and dad don’t really do walking any more (welcome to my non-driving world). We get on pretty well with our jokes, but I generally don’t enjoy watching crap on the TV, which they are both inanely doing now whilst I sit solitarily in my bedroom writing up the latest nonsense that has arrived in my brain.

The most exciting part of my life though, that I’m now on the third day off out of four, is still wonderful. The sanctuary will end tomorrow, when the fourth arrives and I will feel like work is imminently returning. But it just reminds me how much I love Easter. Not because of its religious aspect, but because of its wonderful back-to-back bank holidays. I feel all the more rested for it.

Here’s to holidays. I need more of them.


It still frightens me how quickly the days are sinking away. I woke up this morning thinking “wow, it’s a week since Christmas Day”. They do say that time seems to feel quicker the older you get, and there is something in that from a perception point of view. In reality, of course, time is constant…

2015 arrived in some small celebration. A member of our family held the traditional family party, and, for a change, no one else did. This meant that there was no competing party, and therefore no need to pick which one to go to. This made family politics a lot easier…

It was a good affair, with our traditional singing of Auld Lang Syne in the street. What has amazed me as the years go by is that no one else does it. I remember when I was young we’d either all join together, all the neighbouring families in one big circle, or there would simply be other people singing it in their own circles from their own parties. Just another sign of the fragmentation of society? Ironically, our version of it was rubbish this year as we seemed to split into two groups, singing at different times. That was probably just too much alcohol though.

I was, as usual, asked to get the guitar out. I still feel the pain in my fingers today. It was good, and everyone always says I should sing more often, but life just isn’t great for that. It could have been something I pursued, when I had oodles of time in University. Now, however, I have to just be content with what I have. I don’t actually think I’m that good. But we’ll see.

2015 will be an interesting year. The tradition in my New Year post is to project for the years to come. But first, even though, I probably say something like this every year (I could check really but I am lazy) it’s now 15 years since the year 2000. A new year celebration that I now can’t even remember. That’s bad. I remember vaguely the feelings around it, but I cannot for the life of me remember where I was and what I was doing. Only 15 years ago, and I was 15 at the time. I should be able to remember that.

My memory is not good at long term recall, but my brain has always worked a bit differently to others. I am, even if I do say so myself, pretty good at short term memory recall. I attribute much of my success in life to my ability to recall recently processed facts, figures, and even a whole line of argument. Luck, I guess. Certainly helps in exams.

I digress.

2015 will contain a number of significant events.

First, in business, which makes up 90% of my life, I should conclude my first land purchase, and, with a fair wind, also complete my first house sale. I hope it will be as profitable as we project it will be. It will be a challenging but exciting job, and I know it will be a big distraction at times, but I can’t wait to get started.

The “other business”, as I usually call it, will hopefully have a good year. It is certainly starting the year with a decent order book, which is the extreme opposite of last year. I am reasonably confident about this, but there is a lot of potentially difficult challenges ahead. I think we are up to them, but if the first new business project goes well we may be distracted from this.

My main business, my computer one, I hope will continue to tick along without me doing a great deal. I have almost no time for it any more, but I must continue to service it, which is crazy considering the amount of work it does bring me at times. I need the cash to live, but also to help me to grow the other businesses. Depending on how things go I may be stupid and think again about bringing someone in, but it would only be for someone I considered to be the right person. Someone with a bit of character and a bit of spark. Unsociable nerds need not apply. I say that knowing that that’s exactly what I was, and still am to some degree, but I’m afraid that I don’t have time to allow someone to mature…

From a personal point of view, I am extremely conscious of the fact that I will be turning 30 years old this year (188 days to go) and this as usual makes me think two things. One, is that, just like New Year, it’s actually just another day. There’s nothing too special about it.

But that’s usually the defensive statement of someone in denial. It could also be viewed as a significant point at which I definitely definitely cannot get away with being called “young” now. There is a new generation below me, one that thinks differently, and has its own ways and means. I don’t think I am young now, but 30 would definitely be the end of it. I worry significantly that I only really have another 5 years in which to do all the things I could possibly get away with whilst in the first half of life: i.e. while being biologically and physically able to do so.

So being 30 concerns me. I wonder whether I could pass off lying about my age for a couple of years. I think, when I’m clean-shaven, I can pass for a couple of years younger than I am. But the dreaded hair is starting to give the game away.

I hope for a better 2015 for my hair. Which seems a bizarre thing to say, but it’s true. I hope things aren’t as bad as all the woe it’s caused me this year. What’s really strange is that I have an uncle and a cousin, both of whom I saw only yesterday, who are 10 and 6 years older than me, who both have better hair than me. I blame my dad’s genes.

I predict I might do something a bit unusual this year. It might be just actually going away on a real holiday. Or it might involve an external relationship. Hmmm. Maybe not. It’s not like me, on either score…

More likely, maybe, is that I do that thing which I’ve always wanted to do around music: get some proper equipment and get recording. Maybe even put the results online. I think I could gather a small following. Who knows what could happen? Hmmm. Maybe not. The YouTubes are only interested in sub-21-year-olds with attractive features.

I worry about my family, who also aren’t getting any younger. I worry about my 15 year old nephew, who is totally confused about what he wants to do with life, but won’t admit it. I worry that he is getting himself into unnecessary relationships with girls at an age where the brain is completely unable to cope with it. He wants to do his own thing, and he doesn’t want to listen. I absolutely was not the same at his age. I made some mistakes, but they were not in any way risky or dangerous to me or my future. He needs to be careful. I respected my parents, and my peers and my extended family of aunties, uncles and grandparents. They taught me a lot. He doesn’t want that.

I hope that my younger sister can find some direction this year. I hope that my brothers work out what it is they want with life, or at least make some efforts to. I hope my mum and dad have a healthy year, free of trauma and unnecessary distraction. On that same score, I hope my grandma doesn’t have anything seriously wrong with her eyes.

A lot of hopes, and a lot of dreams. An awful lot of worries.

A lot can go wrong this year, but it can also go right. I am never the optimist, but I just have a sneaking feeling that maybe things will turn out OK.

Here we go.

A Good Year. Really.

I hate the fact that I am writing, again, about the end of a year. I must write the same crap every year about how weird it is to write about the sadness of the years flying by, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

But what really is a shock is that I honestly think 2014 has been a very good year for me. I have just finished reading back my traditional start-of-year post and I seem to have done and achieved roughly what I wanted.

There is a bit of cheating though. I feel like I set my expectations low for 2014. At the start of the year I was worried whether the new business I am involved in was going to achieve anything significant. Turns out the answer was yes. It has had a very positive year, with a decent return on investment, and more to come. It has one or two members of staff, and a third if we stretch the definition. That is some good growth, and it feels like a real company. I like the feeling of running a real company. It feels like an achievement to be proud of.

My IT business has also had a decent year. It has peaked, yes, but it is a decent peak to be at. I tried my best to share the business with two other people by giving them an opportunity to work for me. It didn’t work out, but I tried. I wanted to move on and allow someone else to start filling in the gaps. But they failed. Maybe I could have tried again and found someone else. Maybe there is a right person out there to do the job. But I started to think it wasn’t worth spending my time on it, and that I should just start to prioritise the jobs instead… especially given the impact it was having on my life.

I had written at the start of the year that employing someone would make it a very good year. It was, but turns out it was a good year because of what it taught me, not necessarily because they have stuck with me…

I hoped that this year I would get myself a house. I was wrong as far as this was concerned, but the way it has turned out I am not bothered. With the potential to turn it into a new revenue stream, I am excited about this delay. We are very close indeed to starting out on a new track. It’s going to allow me to start on a new project entirely. New work is good for me. It allows me to reset the boredom clock. So this too has helped to make it a good year.

In my private life, I haven’t changed at all. I am still a closed individual, with no real worries about it. I have had an opportunity to maybe look at extending this to another person, but even the way I write about this is so functional and stilted that I surely would be a disaster. I am not bothered either way, really. My unconscious is telling me to do something about it, because I’m not getting any younger, and certainly am no oil painting, but my conscious mind loves my freedom and independence. I love my own company. That has been something I have reinforced all year, and it, to some minor extent, also contributes to why I think it was a good year. I like my Sundays on my own, with my guitar, my voice, my music, my radio, my internet, doing my things. It’s sad, but it is me.

So I end the year without any regrets, really. My work life is good, I am accepting of my personal life, I have good prospects to come, and my family are OK. It has been kind to us all.

So 2014 is a Good Year. It might even be a Very Good Year. But hey, good is good, right?

A year successfully navigated, with finances improved, prospects improved, and experiences, generally, being positive. Not bad, really.

10 Years of Blogging

10 years ago today, I sat down for the first time at my computer and decided it was time to join the blogging community. Not that blogging was a community in any sense. But, at the time, blogs were big, and everyone who was everyone was writing about their lives in a long form.

Nowadays, hardly anyone does. In reality, no one ever had the patience to read endless, tedious discussions about random people’s lives. Hence the inevitable success of the short form, in Twitter and in other social media, though to a lesser extent.

However, to me, it was never about the audience. It was all about me. It was all about writing down the thoughts I have always had in my head but never really committed to. Now there is no getting away from it. There are over 560 posts and counting to testify that.

And it is incredible. I do occasionally click the “random post” button above. It’s the best way to explore what happened in the past. I really enjoy reading back on what I thought about events at the time. A great majority of them I don’t even remember… which goes to show how so many things are seen as really important at the time, but in the end don’t even stick around in the memory. But that is good, because it just goes to show how much things you forget…

I write now from the same place I’m sure I did last year, no more than a couple of metres from when the whole thing began 10 years ago. I arrived after having a sudden attack of illness this morning, which, I’m pleased to say, is clearly fading quick. Which is good. I had been on the decline since Monday morning, with some sort of cold/flu thing. It smacked me hard this morning… stopping me from even getting out of bed. Totally unlike me. I finally made it out around 10am. I can’t remember the last time I ever slept that long.

The past few days in work have been horrendously busy. Not what I wanted in the run up to Christmas. I’d probably say the whole month in general has been such hard work and unnecessarily stressful. I feel like I can relax now, hundreds of miles away from it, but it will be back with all its associated woes on the 29th.

What matters, though, is that I have, for now, four uninterrupted days, where I can just park up all that crap and think of nothing other than our family festivities. I write this now in the middle of the family, as we often do on Christmas Eve, talking nonsense, catching up, and watching Christmas songs on TV. Kind of ironically, but also because we do enjoy it. It’s something that I started about four years ago, because I thought we should have things like this to remember. Too often we spend all the time on our own, doing our own things. This event, while wholly optional, has kind of become our tradition. Usually because I come home on this day, so if I sit here most people will want to hang around as they haven’t seen me for a while.

I think I’ll write separately on what’s changed between now and 10 years ago. For now though, it’s just enough to say that I’m home safely, and the Christmas festivities are under way. Here’s to a good few days.

Merry Christmas.


OK – so I cheated a little bit and got out the Tardis, but with good reason.

My birthday was on this day. The day I have rearranged my post to… it’s always this day. That’s what birthdays are.

As the birthdays go – this is actually my 30th. My actual birth day – in 1985, was my 0th birthday. OK, that doesn’t make much sense, but it was still the day of my birth. Therefore my 1st birthday, in 1986, was the 1st anniversary of the day of my birth. My 2nd birthday. Except I wasn’t birthed at all on the 1st anniversary, nor any other anniversary after that point.

But what I’m saying is that there are now 30 days across the years 1985 to 2014 which contained the date July 9. On each of those days, a celebration of sorts occurred, a celebration which diminished markedly beyond the age of 18… in my case anyway.

If I had to rank those 30 days in order, from best to worst, I am almost certain that this 30th occurrence would be the worst. It truly was utterly, totally, massively dire. I am not exaggerating.

From the moment I got up, when I went “oh yeah, it’s your birthday today” to the moment I went to bed, not a single person in Real Life said to me “Happy Birthday”. This in spite of – this year – actually letting a few people know when my birthday is some time in advance. In fact, it even went up on the calendar in the office, as I made great pains to point out that I would really like to have the day off so I could actually relax for a change.

It didn’t happen. Instead I was dragged from pillar to post, my brain being fried, nearly every hour of the day. I interacted with many people, including colleagues, who forgot, and did absolutely nothing for me.

I left the office about 7:15pm, in disbelief somewhat that the day could have got much worse. In fact, all I did then was go home, eat, then go to bed. I just wanted the day over with.

My neighbour would normally have been around to wish me happy birthday on the actual day – but she was away. I had received a couple of cards, and I did get some well wishes from the family through text – but other than that, nothing actually Real.

One side of me thinks this is just normal. Birthdays are crap. They don’t do anything interesting. Nothing is biologically different in any good way whatsoever. Every part of the body is decaying, and every year just makes that process worse. Fellow humans are also going the same way. That’s drastically bad.

But another side of me thinks that there are only a handful of times a year where you can feel a bit pampered without feeling guilty about it. Christmas and birthdays. I have failed miserably on the latter front.

On the actual life front – life continues. Social life doesn’t exist. Work life is insane. Maybe this time next year it won’t be so bad – but because I have taken action and changed my direction of life altogether by getting employees in, delegating more, strategising more but doing less.

What depresses me most is that I said all of this three years ago. Nothing has changed since then, except life has got even more crammed full with work.

Is there a way out? Not without a personality transplant, I don’t think.

The Readjustment

Every year, post-Christmas, post-New Year, there has to be a re-adjustment. It is that tragic and depressing time when one realises Life Must Continue.

For days I live in denial. The interregnum between Christmas and New Year provides two bookends of protection. During this zone I can comfortably wave away concerns about time-wasting and self-indulgence.

Then you slip across the New Year precipice. New Year’s Day is always an odd affair, filled with tiredness and usually too much food. It allows you to ignore crossing the rubicon. But then the 2nd occurs.

For this year, like most years, the 2nd was a turning point. I had, this year, made a deliberate decision to actually leave my phone off. I have always set my voicemail message to say I’m on holiday, but often leaving my phone on, so people hear it ring and have to wait for the message. But this year, my phone was very firmly off – meaning I didn’t even see, hear or otherwise sense that a caller was waiting.

This made a big difference psychologically.

Until the 2nd, of course.

Because it’s not possible to leave your phone off forever. My phone (a smartphone) is also a leisure device. So switching it on to receive internet to do some Googling or to play some silly games, or download an app, or whatever… inevitably resulted in the receiving of the “you have 15 voicemails” and the deluge of e-mails arriving.

In reality, although my holiday only “officially” ended yesterday, it ended many days ago. I have been trying to deny it for days, but it is now here.

The readjustment usually takes several days. By the end of this week I will be back to 12/13 hour workdays, and no semblance of life or leisure beyond the fleeting glimpses I obtain of a Sunday.

Today I am travelling away from the parental home. I am leaving behind the place where I have spent the last two weeks relaxing and, in the most part, getting away from work. It has worked to some degree. I do feel better, but I also feel dread.

Everyone does. Everyone dreads the return of mundanity, and reality. Life is tedious at the best of times, and utterly, exasperatingly, frustrating due to the nature of the work I do. The nature of constantly dealing with people who are significantly at odds with the technology they use grinds me down. I felt it yesterday when I was on the phone with a customer. I felt the internal rage building, something I haven’t felt for weeks. It’s not good for me. I am an extraordnarily patient person with my customers, but some episodes, especially on your first proper day back at work, just kick you over the edge.

The Readjustment is a horrible time for me. I feel pretty depressed writing this, knowing in a few hours time I will be whisking my way back to the Southern house. That I won’t see my family or relatives for some time again.

Part of me is filled with this woe because, on the whole, Christmas was good. It is depressing that it is all over so soon. That life is now resuming with 50 weeks of incessant drudgery before I can genuinely switch off with no feeling of guilt.

Then the other part of me is telling me this is getting more and more concerning by the year. That we are all now one year older. One year less secure in this world. One year closer to seeing family, friends and relatives no longer with us. One year less biologically able. This was only brought home to me when visiting the home of my grandmother yesterday… a house I’ve not stepped into since my grandfather died.

Time to stop. Before I get so depressed I give up.

And before the phone no doubt rings.


Happy New Year.

Last night arrived with all the pleasantries one associates with the New Year celebrations that this family holds. I would always prefer to celebrate New Year – arbitrary arrival of another day though it be – with my family. Some like to go out and spend hundreds of pounds in bars and clubs, and have a nightmare trying to get home in taxis. Takes all sorts, I suppose.

2013’s new year celebration was much better than 2012’2. This time the atmosphere, despite family traumas, was much more friendly, thanks in the main because the party was held at my aunty’s. There were quite a few people I didn’t know, but, once the guitar comes out, the frost seems to melt. I was surprised at how well singing a One Direction song would go down with the crowds… but children and parents alike were all singing along.

One rather sad aspect was that I met a small boy and girl, aged 6 and 3, who are currently being fostered by a relative of my uncles. I was absolutely saddened by hearing what they had been through. They were such lovely children, in spite of all the absolutely horrible things they must have seen. I sat talking to the boy for about 5 or 10 minutes, which, I was told by his foster parents, was actually a big surprise to them… since he is generally hyperactive in all aspects of life. He was really charming. I’m so glad that they are getting a fresh chance at life. There must be so many others who don’t.

The tradition now, though, is to project, rather than reflect. I look forward to this year. I genuinely think that, once again, it will be another crucial year in my life. Every year brings something new, some new challenge, and always something unexpected.

This year, I am hoping that both businesses do well. The new base of operations from the office is working out well, and I hope it will lead to further prosperity this year.

The big question for me will be whether to take the plunge regarding buying a house. It’s a determination I will have to make soon. I think I have been operating for long enough now to be able to get a mortgage as a self-employed person, but the big question will be whether or not this is a wise time to buy. Is the housing market already overheating and due another correction, or is it only up from here for at least a few years, making this, possibly, my last time to buy before prices go way beyond what I could possibly hope to earn.

Unless, of course, I am to achieve a big increase in income this year. I doubt that. I suppose the other business I’m involved in his a possibility of bringing this, but I am increasingly filled with worry about it. I am concerned that this year may expose the position I have taken in this business. If it does, I will probably come out of it with a small net loss.

That’s all the reason for me to keep my existing computer business strong.

If I’m having a really good year, I will consider taking on someone to help me with my computer business. This would be good for my home life and my sanity. I could do it now, but only if I was to accept a real drop in my income in the short term. Potentially, I would be left earning just a few thousand pounds. Some might say that that would be great, especially if you don’t have to do anything to earn it, but it would never be like that. I know I would always want to stay involved in the business I had created. So it would be totally insufficient. Not when Life (TM) costs over £1,000 a month.

So realistically, it’s likely to be a year to try and achieve stability. I recognise I’m coming to the end of my third decade… but I’m trying not to think about it. I’m trying to just keep enjoying my life while it’s here.

Here’s to 2014.