Category Archives: Revelation

Step By Step

The week before last I had a birthday. I am at that age now where if someone said the number I would think, without knowing anything else about their life, that they were a grown up. It’s a very grown up number. Then last week I went to the concert of the band whose album I remember receiving on my 10th birthday; on tape. I am not trying to recapture a lost youth, because going to concerts for boy bands wasn’t part of my youth. I am trying to enjoy my life though.

At the concert whilst I was watching these heartthrobs up there dancing and singing the songs I still knew the words to I was reminded that it has been 25yrs. I am pretty certain that the people on stage did not think that this far down the line they would still be singing the exact same songs, or even still performing. And in that moment I became very aware of something.

These guys were in front of an adoring audience of thousands, who were still going crazy when they went into the crowd and were in touching distance. All those years ago they probably thought by this time they would be too old for this, sure they would still have fans, but they would never be able to pack out a venue that has a capacity of over 20,000. Yet here they were.

My life is not what I thought it would be. Every single day I have now is one I did not expect, and even if I had, I still would not have a plan. I have some idea of where I hope to be in 25yrs time, but as I hear the songs of my youth and sing along to them, I know that even if we do not end up where we perhaps expected we would, that does not have to be a bad thing.

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Homework Assignment

1. Get a blank piece of paper.
2. Draw a ‘T’ that goes from the top to the bottom, left to right.
3. In the middle of the left column write the word ‘Yes’.
4. In the middle of the right column write the word ‘No’.
5. In the ‘Yes’ colum list everything that makes you happy.
6. In the ‘No’ column list everything that makes you unhappy.
This may take you a week, a month, a lifetime to complete. There is no maybe. Either things make you happy or they don’t. You will feel it in your gut when you are done with your list.
7. This is the important part. You must now start removing the items in your ‘No’ column and start acting on the items in your ‘Yes’ column.
There will be things on your list that you will not be able to remove completely or act on, for example – nuclear arms, global warming, seeing your favourite actor win an Oscar. The point is to cross off and act on as many as possible. Your list is a work in progress, as are you.

This task was assigned following a lecture that started on 94th and ended somewhere around 59th and encompassed a few loops in the park my teacher deemed it necessary for me to take the lesson home and work on it. Knowing me, knowing them, I should have seen it coming. They know me too well to trust me to do this without the task being set. Sometimes you need to see things in black and white.

The reason for my lecture? It is time I started to do things for myself. Find my happiness. Admittedly, the way I am with people is my best-worst quality, for those few I regard as true friends it borders on ridiculous. I know this about myself. It is not the first time I have had this said to me. At different points though those words are easier to hear, it also helps if it feels the person telling me I need to do more for myself isn’t bashing me over the head with my actions.

My problem, a lifetime of doing what you need to be done. I say that as a matter of pure fact, nothing else. I do so without thinking now, and to me my homework assignment appears contrary to who I am. However, my fear is disassembled. The logic is simple. Two people whose opinion I value highly using the same example. When on a plane you are instructed to place your own mask around your head before helping those around you. If you cannot breathe, how can you possibly hope to help anyone else? This is why they are necessary in my life.

There is excitement amongst them as they imagine what will fill my list. Fireworks. It is harder for me than I thought it would be to list items, in either column. What makes me genuinely happy? I know for certain something that doesn’t. Now at least. Top of the list in the ‘No’ column and already crossed out. Too many items in the ‘Yes’ are undeserved if I allow that one to remain in my life, that’s a sacrifice I am not willing to make. Ahead of the curve, I need it there to remind me that it is a ‘No’.

Its simplicity makes so much sense I worry about making it more complicated than it needs be. Simple question: Does it make me happy? If it is ‘Yes’ then I keep it, if it is ‘No’ then I let it go.

My happiness is on this path. I am set to meet it.

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The “3-Oh”

I had planned on being in Cuba on this day. Sat on a terrace in Havana sipping a mojito. I’m not a drinker but I figured when in Cuba, why the heck not? Instead, because of a big ash cloud that up until a few hours ago was holding everyone captive – I’m here. I’m not angry though, that’s not an emotion I’ve had much to do with this latter part of my life. Instead I think everything happens for a reason. Some have said that maybe I was going to get hit by a car in Cuba or something; perhaps so. I thought I’d need a full year to figure out the reason, but it’s taken me less than that. Perhaps it’s a sign I’m getting better at figuring out my life. Possibly. Maybe. This trip, my staycation, it is characteristic of how I would describe my life: It may not have turned out as I had planned, but it has turned out how it was supposed to.

There is not a day when I do not think myself blessed for the life that I lead. Yes there are moments when I wish things were different – more money in the bank account, a Triumph in the garage, a spacious place all to myself…but like I said – everything happens for a reason. This year, I think I needed to be here today. I needed to be in the exact place where the people who mean the most to me, that I mean the most to, were within arm’s reach. I was told recently that I have no passion. Where an old me would have taken those words to heart, searched for the validity of that statement, this me knows it not to be true. My family. My friends. Those who transcend any label anyone could possibly give. They are my passion. These people are who I am my very best with. These people who do not feel I am ever too much and am always enough for. These people who say to me, ‘You could rule the world if you wanted to.’ They are my love.

This year I chose thirty people, thirty of those people who have come to mean a lot to me, some over many years of having them in my life and others only recently, and I asked them to do something for me. I hope that they take my request seriously because I have never meant anything more. Because of them, because of the world they have shown me, because of the person they have helped me to become and shown me that I am, I can honestly say that today I want for nothing. There is no gift that they could give me that could mean more than what they have already shared with me. My request is the only way I know how to begin to repay them.

This age, a milestone, the digits have changed and I know that there are many more changes to come, but there are some parts of me that I hope will remain the same. After all, it’s taken me a long time to become the person I am. I do not fear tomorrow and I do not regret yesterday. I wish I could tell people how I had come to look upon my life in this way, there are so many that I hope will one day realise all that they have instead of longing for what they don’t. Life has a way of placing you exactly where you need to be, and it is not always where you expected you would end up. If you’re lucky, if you are blessed, you will have people around you who will make you laugh till your sides hurt, who will support you without judgement, and who will know who you are even when you don’t.

Thirty years. I must be doing something right.

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Promises

You tell me that you don’t ever want to lose touch with me again and in return I tell you that I need you in my life. I can’t be who I need to be without you, so I’m not going anywhere. Only the person you don’t want to lose touch with, I’m not sure I’m that person any more. If I’m not, then surely my promise isn’t broken. My promises to you, the only ones that are only ever at risk.

In those quiet moments, in the spaces between the breaths, that’s when you come to find me; that’s where I am always waiting for you. When you no longer hear the words you need, you listen for my voice. When you cannot see your worth, I show you what I see through my eyes. When your life is not what you want it to be, I offer you mine. Unsure of what any of it means any longer.

Your happiness at the expense of my own. That was never the plan. Your presence completed me. Balance restored. Only you want something else, determined to turn my world every which way – and you always did. Everything I never knew I wanted, always you. When there’s no one else for you, you come to me – your last resort or your eternal solace? What am I to you? ‘The heart does things for reasons that reason cannot understand.’

…what are you to me?

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Seven Year Theory

Today a friend of mine enters the next stage of his evolution. Another 7yrs has passed and I wonder how different he is from who he was at his last phasing. He’s a father now, albeit to an overactive Jack Russell/Border Terrier mix who destroys everything he can get his teeth into – and that appears to be most things in his once pristine home. I know that fatherhood has brought him new challenges and at times he questions his decision, but deep down I know that his “baby” is a welcome addition to his life. It’s certainly brought us laughter as he tells us of Benjamin’s latest exploits. But how else has he changed?

I remember how I wrote of my Seven Year Theory at the time of my last evolution. I was so thankful for everyone I had in my life, and I really didn’t think that I could even dare to hope to know better people. Now, at the mid-way point of the second year of my evolution I couldn’t be more happy at how wrong I was. I dared my 29th year to try and even compare to my 28th (possibly my favourite of all my years), and half way through, it has answered that challenge. So far. Of course there is still time to go, but should things take a turn there is still so much I will remember this year for and feel nothing but joy in my heart.

18 months. At the start I saw how much I had changed in my 7yrs. If I keep on as I have, will I be able to recognise the next person at the start of my next evolution? I don’t know, but I do know if I do keep on as I have, that person will have the very very best of people around them and the biggest of smiles on their face. Because of who I have in my life today, I can’t wait to be the person I’m going to become.

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Empire

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These streets already familiar. In the shadows cast by its 1,453 ft frame you realise your memories were formed. Real ones attached to real times and real moments and real people. No longer premonitions of a life that could have been, that you now realise was never meant to have been. And there it is.

You remember that this corner is where you noticed your phone was ringing. Outside that bookstore is where you first started that smile that still lingers to this day. That bench is where they looked upon your gift and you knew you had chosen correctly. Not just the gift, but them. Your choice of them over the other, the single smartest thing you had ever done.

Moments shared as you walk along these streets. Their journey, how each day they look up to see. Still there. Unspoken reassurance that they too will always be there.You no longer feel unwelcomed. There is a reason you know this place so well and why you return to it. It is them, and it is you.

Not Your City no longer. Given the opportunity for that possibility once again. A place returned.

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Uninvited

In that place where your presence was always welcomed you come uninvited. I see your words and I don’t know what to do, so for the first time I do nothing. I let you talk, make your empty apologies and even emptier promises. You’re sorry. You’ve decided to give in and stop trying so hard not to have me in your life. You’re different now. A dozen times I’ve heard you say the exact same thing and a dozen times I’ve been wrong to believe you.

You keep talking, perhaps believing that eventually you’ll wear me down. That there’ll be one thing you say that convinces me you’re telling the truth, that reminds me of how much I do miss you. I see your words and none of them change how I feel. No longer even asking myself, ‘Why now?’ Simply trying to read the hidden meaning, what is it you want? I know that there’s something, you wouldn’t come otherwise.

Then I see the words that frighten me the most. You know. You’ve seen. These words make me pause, only I’m not frightened for myself or for them really, only that you know of them in my life. Your sole purpose to destroy any good that I have been fortunate enough to have, and this, the most good. You wouldn’t be able to help yourself, even if you tried – and we both know you wouldn’t.

I wake to find myself thankful it was just a dream. I have no more words left for you, they’ve all been spent. You’re not welcome here anymore.

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