Behind the scenes, thoughts and ramblings of the author.
Birthdays (and the magic of tin foil)
April and May have a disproportionate amount of birthdays in my calendar. My father, brother, sister-in-law, 3 of my best friends, my dog, and myself all have birthdays between the fourth of one month and the fourth of the next. Unfortunately my annual ‘casino night’ birthday shindig is once again TOTALLY ILLEGAL and will have to be postponed.
Lately I’m starting to feel old. Friends are having babies. We’re getting quotes for windows. This week, me and my wife were on a walk through the street and both said without a hint of irony “that’s a nice door…”. Perhaps most crippling of all, I’m starting to become an old fart with technology. I easily get grumpy when things don’t work like they used to “in the good ol’ days”.
A Merry Ramble (and the Mystery of the Thousand Hondurans)
I could get used to this. Two weeks off work over Christmas has provided a much needed break. Sure, it’s been crammed full of Christmas logistics, and finishing up some DIY, but it’s been amazing just to take my foot off the gas a bit and just enjoy myself. I don’t think I realised how much I’d been throwing myself into my job, stuck in a feedback loop of project after project after project.
After giving up alcohol last month, I decided that I liked having a horrendous challenge to burden myself with, so plunged into National Novel Writing Month. Well, I say plunged. It was more like I sat on the edge of the swimming pool and dipped my ankles in until I could get used to the cold water. But then I never was a strong swimmer.
There was a time when I used to think drinking alone was a strange practise that I would never have a part of. What a young and doe-eyed fool I was. Slowly, but surely, as life has gone on and small stresses of the day add up, I’ve slowly taught my brain a persistent little trick - “That deserves a beer!”
Ask your average person what they think of social media and it will doubtless be negative. It’s polarising us, getting us addicted to dopamine, making us feel crummy about our bodies and our lives, increasing anxiety, increasing depression and turning us all into zombies. But those same people, myself included, still use it most days and have accounts on at least several of them. I guess funny dog videos outweigh the CRUSHING existential angst that modern life dumps on our poor little monkey brains. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit are my big ones. But it’s fair to say I’ve dabbled in them all.
It’s only on my fifth newsletter I noticed a little box has been unticked all this time. A small, insignificant tickbox, timidly asking:
“...avoid spam filters?”
I feel like this box should be louder. Or just tick itself. But no, here I am, month number 5, leaving that shiny little box abandoned and unticked since I started. Brilliant. I was even sending my newsletter to my own junkbox. I just figured that was just the way it went... And that wasn’t my only snafu I became aware of this month.
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I pick these titles just to make myself laugh. But last month was a vast spectrum for my ego that ranged from male modelling (yes, really) to no longer owning a toilet. Originally, this month’s blog post was going to be about hazard warning labels and branding, but screw that, let’s talk about taking a dump in the garden and my fake marriage to an underage instagram model.
Starting something is often the hardest part. Even something as simple as this blog post had four different openers that I started, stopped, deleted. For a moment, the laptop almost got closed. But as nice as quitting feels - and let’s be honest, it does feel sort of lovely - it doesn’t achieve anything. And now look - once we’ve started, that momentum flows and carries us through all the way to the next paragraph.
It’s strange writing for a blog that doesn’t even exist yet. I haven’t even completely decided on the name, nor do I have the website to host it on. But, baby steps are significant, and since I’ve bought the domain (FloorFiftyFour.co.uk), I might as well get into a routine of a monthly blog post. And I have plenty to talk about at the moment, after all.