Seven Years

I still find it hard to believe that here I am seven years later, still writing. Still moaning. Still whinging. But probably slightly less depressed than I was back then.

In 2004 – exactly seven years ago at this moment – I finally caved in to a temptation I’d had for years to start a journal of some sort. Back then, blogs were still new and not everyone had one. These days, apparently everyone has one, and so too do dogs, cats and other assorted creatures.

I think I probably write the same post every year at this point now though. It always go along the same lines – I can’t believe I have been disciplined enough to keep this going. There have been times when it’s been touch and go, but mostly I’ve been able to muster up enough inspiration to write something. I am really pleased I did because it is a wonderful history to refer back to.

I had always wanted to write a diary but never had the ability to. Not because I didn’t actually have a diary. I always did seem to have one for some reason. Probably because I was always one of life’s organisers. Not that I had anything to organise. I just used to like writing things in there. I have always been like that.

But then there was the other reason – because real life diaries are not secure! I could never have written in things that were about my life becuase I just couldn’t risk the problem that someone else could read it. I couldn’t be completely honest because who knows when my security could be compromised. And yet, I don’t seem bothered about writing it all in public instead! How weird…

So I didn’t bother. But I just wish I’d started earlier. I really wish I’d had a diary of my teenage years. Looking back, I find those years of my life the most fascinating. That was really when me as a person – or, as a personality – was formed. It’s when we really start to become ourselves, more than mere automatic reflexes to our genes and our environment. The actual point at which proper consciousness, proper ability to analyse and reason, makes us into who we are.

But I didn’t, so no point fretting now. One thing I would do though is encourage anyone who thinks they can to blog. It doesn’t matter that there might be people reading. Chances are no one is anyway. And even if they do, they won’t know who the hell you’re talking about. Plus, you can be pretty cryptic anyway. I am, all the time, if I’m referring to other people.

Meanwhile… back in life – Christmas is happening. I’m back at home, with my family, relaxing, work is switched off, and I’m having a good time. I feel a completely different person to the poor guy seven years ago. I am happier. I am a little bit more directionful. If that’s a real word. I’m still more lonely than ever. But that’s because I’m hopeless at communicating with Real People. Sigh.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. And I’ve only had one glass of Baileys!

Six Years Of Blogging

I’m actually impressed that I’m still here six years later. I often wondered whether it would just be a passing fad when I first started this up, but here I am, still plugging away at it…

OK, I know my posting frequency is in the doldrums compared to when I first started up, but better one than none. That’s mainly because, as I’ve observed before, I can be so busy during the day now that I feel guilty spending some time out doing personal writing. It was why I pulled the plug on the political blog I maintained for a year. I was amazed it lasted that long.

But there’s only so much of toiling in obscurity one can take. Back in the day, striking up a blog seemed like a great way to get noticed. It seemed like a marvellous way to bring your ranting to the attention of hundreds of millions, and maybe even get picked up by the mainstream media. I can’t say I ever imagined in a million years this would happen to boring old me, but I did hope that maybe, just maybe, someone somewhere would find some tiny level of curiosity in my writing.

Of course, that was when I didn’t realise just how difficult it is to capture people’s attention. It’s why I am filled with such admiration for the writers, creators, directors and producers of cultural fayre, from musicals to mass audience, mainstream TV. They keep us all entertained and diverted from our dull lives, and for that we salute them. They produce the prolefeed that keeps us from worrying too much about the true disaster that is Planet Earth, and what we’re doing to it, and what we’re allowing our politicians to get away with.

But I’m ranting.

I always feel better when I rant, though. Yet I don’t get the opportunity these days. My lack of friends and genuine social interaction these days means I don’t get the chance to hone, sharpen my ascerbic, cynical wit. It used to work so well with my true friends, the ones I picked up in university. And the ones I knew in Sixth Form weren’t too shabby either. I just wish it were possible to pick up where I left off with them. It never is. Friendships untended to wither and die. The inevitable reunions are just a string of “Remember whens”. People don’t keep in touch.

Blogging is an innately melancholy medium. That was one of the things I wrote in my dissertation. By that, I meant its very nature was to encourage people to write up, and then reflect on things that had happened, or that we hoped would happen. That attracts a certain type of person, people who are pretty insecure, seeking approval from others and rather neurotic in the first place. Maybe I could be accused of being biased, but I don’t think I’m too far off the mark.

Perhaps, then, my lack of blogging in the last few months has been more reflective of the change in me. Because I do feel less bothered about the mere existence of life now. It passes by, unremarkable, unceremoniously. Relentlessly. Whether I like it or not, it passes by. Whether I comment on it or not, it passes by. It all adds to my general despondency at the pointlessness of it all. So why bother chronicling it?

So much for the season of goodwill. It is, after all, Christmas Day. And I have had a pretty good one, with family. OK, a few minor setbacks, but – as with everything – they’ll be forgotten by tomorrow and no one will care. It’s like there’s a big reset button being hit every day.

But when you sit in the back room, tapping away on a laptop, while the family are watching the accursed EastEnders Christmas special, thoughts will always turn to depression…

Merry Christmas to all. And to my future self, when you read this in six years time (you’re the only one who does these days!), as you did six years ago when you re-read the post that started it all: chin up, mate! It’s not all bad.

The Five Year Itch

Five years ago today, and almost to the hour, I began my blogging journey.

Five years of misery. Five years of false dawns. Five years of some success, much to my surprise.

I say this every year, often many times, but the reason why I blog is because it is such an awesome record of my life. It isn’t complete, far from it, but it gets across most of the important events.

In the last year, I feel it’s become a non-stop bitch-a-thon though. I guess it’s the nature of sitting around waiting for something to happen. But that’s no good.

I feel like I used to write about different subjects, because all manner of different things were going on in my life. But that may just be a shade of rose-tint on the old spectacles, which one day I’ll need due to continuing failing eyesight.

Because I’m pretty sure I’ve always been very passive about my life. I sit back and wait for things to happen, and let everything wash over me. I never usually have more than a handful of things on the go at any one time, and don’t do anything to upset that balance. That’s me all over.

And that is how my life is slipping away.

I genuinely cannot believe that it was five years ago I was sitting no more than two metres from my current spot, in an equally depressed state, thinking about what had gone and what was to come. Watching my own transition to an adult life, not knowing where the hell it was going. Back then it was disturbing; now my listlessness is almost par for the course.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Five years of whinging. Of waiting. Of hoping some break will occur for me, and never getting it.

They always say that it’s no surprise that the “luckiest” people in life are invariably the ones who take the most risks.

That is probably why it’s been almost five years of ceaseless boredom. I don’t take risks. Well, I do take the odd one. Moving away this year was a serious one.

Except it hasn’t paid off. I’m almost resigned to that now, and beginning to think of what the exit strategy is.

Fortunately, there are some things I life I still enjoy. One of these is happening right now, as I’m trying to type while holding one of my usual nonsense conversations with my younger sister.

The subject, what else, is doom and gloom. The end of the earth, which is due in 2012 according to her supervolcano theory, influenced by a current film. It’s providing plenty of banter. All good stuff.

At least there are people worth living for, even if life itself is a load of rubbish.

But anyway, as Shakin’ Stevens sang: Merry Christmas, Everyone!

400 Up

This post is a significant moment indeed. 400 posts now. I think each post has roughly 500 words in it, so we’re definitely north of 200,000 words now. Amazing.

But it’s only significant because the numbers look nice. Really, it’s just another post. It’s symptomatic of the whole of society when nice round dates and anniversaries are picked out to be more noteworthy than others, when really it just doesn’t matter. It’s my decision to celebrate anything at any time. In fact, I’m really looking forward to post 432. I don’t know why, but I am.

OK, I lied. Why not fall into tradition just this once. 400 posts shows some great stickability. I know posts in the past few months, if not longer, have not been particularly exciting. It’s just not been an interesting life since I left university. Most of that is my fault, but some of it has been caused by the economy too.

The coincidence about this post is that it is almost one year since I left Hull. That very anniversary will occur tomorrow, as it was on the 25th of May 2008 that I departed. That’s the most scary aspect about my life. I genuinely don’t know what I’ve done in the last year, what I’ve achieved, what progress I’ve made. There is nothing to report of any significance. All that’s happened is that I feel like I’ve aged, I feel like I’ve regressed, I feel like I’ve become more negative and cynical about everything, and I’ve made a somewhat farcical attempt to run my own business. What a strange old life I’m leaving.

So strange, in fact, that I’ve had enough. I’ve set a benchmark. By the end of the year, things have to have improved. If they haven’t, I will explore all options to escape. The prime contender in my list is New Zealand because of their working visa arrangements. Australia is also possible too. The reason why I have to wait till the end of the year though is that I think my business needs a little longer to prove itself a disaster, and secondly my money is locked away until then anyway. And who knows what other countries could come onto the agenda. All of this coming at a time when the government is telling us recent graduates to bugger off, hence not joining the dole queue and not being a drain on the country’s finances. Yes, very clever that. Fuck the economy up and then ask us to leave. Thanks.

But, let’s face it, things can’t get any worse for me. I’m already at rock bottom. It’s simply that day after day of no hope really does make me feel pretty shit about myself. And this even comes after I spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week actually doing work for my business. Yes, I had three days of the stuff and earned some cash. My business is actually in the black right now. So maybe things aren’t too bad. I just need word of mouth to start spreading. Please!

Anyway, that’s quite enough misery for now. Let’s turn instead to watching some TV. I hear the world of politics is a particularly well-respected place to work these days. Yes, that politics degree really has come in handy.