Being Alone

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Left in my own head, I quickly become my own worst enemy. I become prone to dark spells and a feeling that the walls are closing in around me. This year, loss has been a pretty major factor in my life and so I tend to find myself in my own company more often than not. Wasted opportunities, regrets, and self-criticism are three themes that seem to circle around in my head. I reach out often, and require more and more from the people around me.

I can be a handful when I’m forced to spend a whole day in my own company. There’s nothing more stark of a reminder that you don’t particularly like yourself when you can’t stomach the idea of spending an entire day on your own. It always goes the same way. First there’s the boredom, then that gives way to tangents in your head, which quickly leads to worries and a feeling of total aimlessness. Then the panic sets in. What am I doing with my life? How am I going to pay off all this debt? When am I going to find a job? Where will I be a year from now? Who can I speak to about this? Why do I seem unable to control my own emotions?

2016 has been a roller coaster of emotions for me, and most of the time that roller coaster has barrelled downwards faster and faster. It feels like it’s just a matter of time until the screws come loose and the ride goes flying off the track. My way of approaching this has been to try and keep myself as busy as possible. I try to fill my days with activities, schedules, ‘being productive’. It doesn’t really seem to work. That’s because doing things for the sake of doing things doesn’t fix anything.

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For the last three months, I have been living back home desperately searching for a job so I can fulfil my ambition of moving to London. I have this ridiculous idea in my head that London is this promised land full of strange, interesting, pretentious people – and that I can somehow find my calling there. I’m a walking cliche. I don’t really understand this notion that people who spend their lives unemployed doing nothing have a great life. It feels like torture most of the time. There is absolutely nothing worse than having no direction in your life – and it’s even worse if you possess the self-awareness to know you have no direction,  but have no idea how to actually find any.

It’s easy to feel like a burnout, and it’s even easier to sit around feeling sorry for yourself (I’ve spent plenty of my time doing that). The real challenge is in trying not to just cure your boredom with quick fixes – booze, fags, drugs. The real challenge is in trying to really apply yourself to something you’re passionate about and stop telling yourself it’s all pointless.

I always have gotten attached to people very strongly in the past, and I always imagined that loss would lead to a big mental breakdown where I would be sabotaging my own life and my relationships with everyone else in my life. A friend of mine pointed out to me not so long ago that that’s a fantasy you see in TV and movies. The truth is far worse. I’m just bored. Bored and going no where. What do you do at a time like this other than just try to keep trucking on?

I guess there’s just points in your life where you have to accept everything is a bit shit, and get on with it. Live day-by-day. That’s never been me though. I’m a planner. I have to keep busy, I have to feel like I’m doing something. But right now, as much as I try, I’m not. At least, not really. I’m just existing. Going through each day, ticking off my to-do lists, and continuing to frantically search for employment. But I’m not really doing anything. I feel like I’m wasting away.

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Making Friends

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Making friends as an adult can be an incredibly hard thing to do. Today marks one month since I returned to the UK from my travels abroad, and I find myself back in my hometown with very few options when it comes to a social life. I can’t help but feel a bit like a loser, even though I know there’s nothing wrong with me.

There just aren’t that many options out there for an adult if you don’t already have a base of friends to meet new people. This probably is especially exacerbated if you live in a small town where there isn’t much going on. I stayed true to my word and have carried home with me many of the things I learned by moving to Nepal. I have been making more effort to contact acquaintances and meet up… but I was not surprised to find that most of the people who I would even have any interest in seeing back home moved away years ago. And who could blame them? I’m going to be doing the exact same thing as soon as possible.

So the only option for me is to meet entirely new people. But again, this isn’t easy as an adult either. Common advice is “join a club.” What these clubs are that people are talking about I don’t know. Where do people find these clubs? I haven’t heard of a ‘club’ since I was at university (where, admittedly, the societies were a great tool). Once you’re thrust out into the big bad world on your own, there are no ‘clubs’. Other than meeting people through your friends, you’re expected to buddy up with your work colleagues. Difficult option for me as I am currently seeking employment.

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It gets kind of frustrating, and it makes me feel pretty restless. I feel like I am waiting for something more, but I also know that I’m probably going to have to accept it being like this until I move to a new city. Sorry I don’t have any solutions here, and I hope it’s okay if I have a little whine. If nothing else, the situations I have been – and am going to – put myself through on the quest for connection are going to lead to some comedy gold for when I get down to writing my new set.

Hear Me Out: Why the Common People Should Vote to REMAIN a Member of the European Union

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So, here we are. Tomorrow we will all be going to our local polling booths and casting our vote for the most important decision in recent memory. I have decided to write this blog post to make an ideological argument for why we should stay in the European Union. Most of the people I have spoken to (working class, white, Welsh voters) are not concerned with the economic or political arguments for remaining or leaving the EU. The agenda in my part of the woods seems to be immigration, immigration, immigration… And the threat of terrorism that that brings. If you would hear me out, I’d like to take you through another perspective and hopefully open you up to a different point of view on the subject. I will not be arguing with facts or abstract statistics that most normal people (like me) cannot really visualise in our heads. This is an opinion-based argument for why the people I see in my community should reconsider their stance.

The crux of the reason why many pure-blood Labour voters are not following the party line seems to be distrust with the political elite and the fear that immigration and open borders will lead to terrorism and a burden on our public services. I will discuss these points in turn.

The Political Elite – Who needs em?!

I hear you, I hear you. Wales has suffered hugely at the hands of Tory governments and you can see the poverty all around you. Walking through the streets of Swansea, it is normal to see way too many homeless people lying in the street, left behind by a government who walks all over Wales without a care in the world. On my first day back from Nepal, I walked around the city centre and saw three men stumbling across the road with cans of cheap cider in their hands, clearly with a drug addiction, being loud and unruly. Even above that, those of you out there who are doing your best to pay the rent on a tiny council house to send your kids to school or help raise the grandkids. You work your arse off to scrape together enough money to pay the rent and the council tax, and the shitloads of other debt you’ve built up trying to raise a family. You’re angry with the government, you’re angry that you turn on the news or flick through the newspaper and you see David Cameron and George Osborne bragging about how they’ve improved the economy that Labour wrecked. It’s infuriating that these posh boys down in Westminster act like they know anything about the way you live. Maybe you still remember Thatcher, and you’re still reeling from that. Westminster doesn’t represent you. Politics is a world that you feel more and more excluded from. Really, I get it. But you are picking the wrong fight.

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I don’t like them either – and I certainly don’t trust them. But they are right about this.

I come from one of these families – a working class, average little family in Swansea. I live in Townhill – one of the scariest and (arguably) most unsafe and underfunded part of the city. My mother works two jobs to keep the house running – one in a school as a TA, and the other cleaning our local market. My older sister had a kid at 16 who we are all collectively doing our bit to raise in whatever way we can – to give her the luxuries in life that a child deserves. A lot of the time it feels like there isn’t really much hope. The opportunities that the government tells us are all around simply aren’t there. There is very little space to get away from Swansea, and even if you could, you’re probably afraid because the education system let you down, you don’t really feel like you have the ability to move away from everything you’ve ever known. A holiday once a year to a nice warm beach is adventure enough for you.

I am extremely fortunate as I was able to get away. I detached myself from that kind of lifestyle at a young age, I was naturally good at exams (it’s not down to working hard and being a bookworm, trust me) and I scraped the grades to get to uni. There, I was educated in more depth about the world and why things are the way they are. It is not because of the EU that your life is not where you want it to be. The EU stands for all the core Labour values that the Welsh are fond of – workers rights, equal pay, social justice. They are improving welfare for people like you.

Maybe you have read arguments online that the EU actually stands for creating a free market and in that respect is actually interested in creating ways for massive corporations to make as much money as possible. Even if that were true, you need to ask yourself: who do you trust more? The EU or the Tories? If we leave the EU, we will have no protection from them as they introduce a British Bill of Rights to replace the current Human Rights Act (below). Many of the freedoms we take for granted, such as a right to free education, would no longer be guaranteed. Do you really think the Tories, who tripled the tuition fees for university, bang on about the reintroduction of grammar schools/academies and have a long history of privatising public services, care about you or your children’s right to free education? Consider the lack of opportunities out there for young people now, think about future generations, and ask yourself whether you feel safe with the Tories being left to their own devices before casting your vote tomorrow.

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None of these rights will be guaranteed if we leave the EU.

Immigration & Terrorism

Something I have been hearing a lot since getting back is that the open borders that the EU grants European citizens will lead to an increase in terrorism. I am sorry, but that simply isn’t the case. First, we have to split terrorism into two categories: domestic terrorism and international terrorism.

Domestic terrorism is what has been plaguing Europe recently, with the shootings in France, the bombings in  Belgium etc. These acts were carried out by individuals who lived in Europe before the killings. I was recently in an airport, and let me tell you that the border controls that are already in place in British airports are far stricter than any in the rest of Europe. It is with the help of our European partners that we have already foiled many attempted terrorist activity in the UK – do you think they will support us quite so much if we choose to leave? It won’t be a simple cutting of the ties with Europe, but we’ll still remain buddies. We will trade, sure, but we will still essentially be telling other European countries – who work hard to make the EU work – that we don’t believe in their passion project. There will be political fallout. They will have less reason to help us in matters of national security. We will be even more at risk.

And now international terrorism. Leaving the EU will make absolutely no difference to terrorists who travel from the Middle East to carry out these acts. It won’t make any difference to our immigration figures in anywhere other than the EU. There isn’t really much else to say here. Leaving the EU will make zero impact. It’s as simple as that.

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Don’t let the terrorists win! They attack our Western democracies and openness to other cultures. By voting to leave the EU, you will be saying that you wish to become a more isolated country, a more self-serving nation. A country that is closing off from the rest of the world. This is exactly what these terrorists want. We have to stand together and deal with terrorism and the reasons for it, not run away from it because we are scared.

Immigration & Public Services

This issue is actually similar to the first one. It is true that our NHS and schools are under intense pressure because of high patient numbers. And yes, part of this is inevitably because of immigration. But take a look at what brought our public services to this point – funding which has been reduced over the years by (primarily) a right wing government who believes inherently that our public services should not be run by the state. Education and health services have been neglected for years, and I am not saying that this is the only reason that they are struggling right now… But surely the right way to correct a problem when you have sick or injured people in need of help is to give them more money, not take it away from them. Your anger here should be directed at the government for not doing more to help those in need, not the EU or immigration.

The UK is a strong country. It is our responsibility to help those less fortunate than us. If people from poorer EU countries move to the UK, contribute to their community and country, and are in need of public services (like anybody else), then where is the problem in that? The ‘benefit scrounging’ argument that is under everything is, for the most part, a myth. Sure, there probably are those who come here to take advantage of the system, but I know plenty of people who have taken advantage who have lived in the UK their entire lives. But even then, it’s not as rampant as it made out by the UK media who have a specific agenda – class war. They seek to turn the lower classes against anybody who is lower down the pecking order than them – immigrants, the homeless, those on benefits. Don’t believe their lies.

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Then what reason do you have to vote to REMAIN instead?

Take a moment to consider the future. America is a massive superpower. China and Russia are also absolutely huge. Tensions between countries become more apparent as natural resources run out on this planet. If the EU was just a band of individual countries, we could be squashed as the world moves on without us. But the EU gives us a way to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Make no mistake, the UK will tank if it leaves – in every way imaginable. We will become the old disgruntled man, still bitter about that car accident in the prime of our lives that means we didn’t make it onto the football team. We’ll be alone – and trapped. I’m not interested in this ‘project fear’ garbage. I’m talking 500 years down the line. I’m talking about how the history of the world has developed, how countries have operated in the past, and how exposed we will be by leaving.

I would also  make this case. I think most people can agree that tolerance and acceptance of other cultures is a virtue. Right now, there are so many clashes with our European counterparts when it comes to culture. It is slightly unnerving to see your city change as new kinds of people come, who look different and practice different beliefs. But the EU is a relatively new institution. If we remained in the EU, within a few generations the idea that these people are different and ‘other’ from us would be laughable. The world is becoming increasingly connected, cultures are mingling more than ever – and at an increasing rate. Don’t close yourself off from that and stick your fingers in your ears. Embrace it. It is a good thing. Maybe you don’t feel that, but your grandchildren will, and their grandchildren definitely will.

There is a wider context to this EU referendum. It’s not just about whether you want to stay in the EU, it’s about who you are as a person and what you value in life. Place value on being connected with those around you. With empathy and love. I know that might sound like hippie BS, but come on! Think about humanity and where it’s come from… Our bloody history of violence and hatred. Of drawing up borders and boundaries around us. Of persecuting others for being different. We are reaching a point of civilization now where the world has a lot of soul searching to do… Do we finally throw off the shackles of our ancestors and become a more united earth, trying to save the environment and create happiness for all, or do we continue to squabble over queueing before getting to see a doctor? Do you see yourself as someone who thinks the world should be, above all, good? Or do you believe that countries should fend for themselves? There is a bigger picture. There is a brighter future, if we want it. We just have to not just stand for these principles, but fight for them too.

Please, vote remain on June 23rd.

 

Some Thoughts from Boudhanath

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Today I spent the entire day drinking coffee and writing in my notebook at a little cafe next to Boudhanath Stupa (sadly damaged by the earthquake last year). Give anyone enough time in their own head and they are bound to start thinking about all sorts. For me, today was about stopping to reflect about my life, this blog, and my relationships with others.

I don’t have any big insights to my personal life to share with you all just now, but spending my time here today really made me see the value in pausing to rethink things. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in our lives or projects and become very single minded about things. We drop into the same thought patterns and ways of approaching our problems. Often the help of a friend can jolt you out of that when they offer an alternative perspective on something, or show a blindspot in your thinking. Communicating with my friends has become a rare commodity in my life in Nepal due to the time differences with those back home, so I have only myself to turn to to try to crack writers block or a lack of motivation.

It’s extremely important to stop in life and dedicate a specific period of time to writing down how you feel about things, or how you plan to approach a new problem. Brainstorming or just free writing your thoughts on to a page can be a very useful tool for doing this. This may sound obvious (and it is) but in a time when we get less and less time for introspection, it’s so easy to fall into a routine and we stop questioning our assumptions about things.

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Who am I? Oh yeah, I’m that pretentious, slightly desperate, beardy narcissist!

Thanks to my time spent here today, I have finally cracked some pretty huge problems in relation to my blog and other projects I have in the pipeline. I don’t have much more to add, and I apologise this post might not be particularly substantive, but I just wanted to share with you all what I’m going through right now – and hopefully get you as excited as I am! Consider me reinvigorated and refreshed! I hope to provide you with high quality content over the next few months and years with a new perspective on the blog and a fresh attitude.

Thanks for sticking with me, my very humble fan base. I know there are only maybe two or three people who actively read this blog (other than friends in real life), and even that means so much. It gives me the will to keep going so thank you! See you on Saturday, have a good week. 🙂

4 Things I’ve Learned by Moving to Nepal

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They say that travel is a life changing experience, one that can open the mind and cause reevaluation of your thoughts and opinions. While I don’t like to put myself in a box with those who pretentiously brag about their ‘gap yah‘ (I’ve already written about tourists who use foreign countries for their own personal gain and kudos), I would be lying if I said that being immersed in a culture that is vastly different from the UK hasn’t had an impact on me, albeit in quite personal ways. So without further ado, here are four things I’ve come to realise since moving here.

1. Relax & Accept

Before coming to Nepal, I was a pretty high-strung person. My friends would probably have described me as neurotic (and that would be the nice way of putting it). Things breaking or not going according to plan is a part of everyday life in Nepal and the people here are completely accustomed to it. I don’t know where it comes from – I guess the Buddhist/Hindu background from which the country has developed – but there is a real sense of acceptance that permeates the culture. If things are out of your control or don’t happen the way you want them to, there is a saying that the Nepali people use – key gar ney (I hope I have spelt that right), which means “what to do?” Meaning, if something happens that is beyond your control, why bother spending time complaining about it? There is also a well known humorous saying used by Nepalis and Westerners alike, ‘Nepali time’. If you are told someone – say, the plumber – will be around in 30 minutes, you have to allow a margin of several hours before expecting them to actually show up. Everything is very slow paced here, and that teaches patience. It also taught me to be less entitled. If I am not actually in any sort of rush, then why do I get frustrated if service is slow? Why not take life as it comes and experience every moment, including the things that go right and the things that go wrong. Living moment by moment is an important part of life in Nepal and is something I will definitely take home with me. To think now that I used to boil with rage if a bus was late or cancelled is crazy. Things happen when they happen and spontaneity is a virtue, not a problem. It’s far more productive and just plain fun to take advantage of those times when your ideal plan for the day or the hour gets changed and do something new. It’s a cliche, but it’s true that it’s in those moments when you really experience life.

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2. Pause & Think

This is something that meditation has really helped me come to appreciate and understand. We spend a great deal of our time just reacting to the environment around us. Mostly for me, it’s the people around me. I have a tendency to react very impulsively, emotionally and rashly to the things people say or do. I get offended or irritated quite easily. I am quite a demanding friend, requiring a lot of time and attention from others. While I accept that this is just who I am and have no desire to change it, what I can change is my reaction and expectations of those around me. For example, when I am sad about something, I can be pretty needy as a boyfriend and need a lot of affection etc. Coming from this perspective, I easily slip into this state of mind where the needs of the partner are not considered and I then get upset or angry, and don’t feel supported when I am imposing myself on somebody who is trying to relax or concentrate on other things. Through meditation, I have been trying to learn to stop in those moments of irrationality and empathise with everyone involved in the situation. I am far from perfect at this, but I have significantly improved throughout my time in Nepal. I have stopped relying so much on other people, and have began to found happiness within myself instead. I have become better at taking a step back, calming down, and letting go of unhelpful or hurtful feelings. Too often we let our lives be dictated by the whims of our feelings, and are thrown around by whatever we feel in that moment. Taking the time to really stop and think to yourself ‘I am feeling insert emotion here‘ and really letting yourself experience how that emotion feels so you can better understand it is so important. By doing this over a long period of time, you come to recognise how you feel a lot quicker and can stop yourself from acting impulsively as a reaction to that feeling.

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3. Break Your Own Rules

This one is particularly pertinent to me and might not be relatable to anyone else. I am a rigid man. I am an incredibly structured man. I am a very systematic person. Anyone who knows me at all knows that every single thing I do in life is too complicated unless I can codify, categorise, and systemise it. Even people I have known for upwards of ten years are still surprised when they find out that something that I do which, on the surface, probably looks spontaneous or productive, is actually the result of an outright crazy complex system of rules that I have created for myself. I’ll give some examples, starting with quite a ‘normal’ one, relatively speaking. I constantly break time up into chunks of 5, 15, 30, and 60 minute intervals. So, let’s say I send a text to somebody asking if they are still planning to come to a party one night… I will systematically check my phone for texts on each of those milestones and will probably have a different rule depending on the situation. Like if I don’t hear anything in an hour, send them a message on Facebook instead… or give up on the fact that they are coming. But it will be down to the precise minute. That one might not be that crazy (this says a lot, I can’t even tell how weird these are to other people!), but another example would be this book I was planning on writing. I planned it for maybe two months before I realised I had completely sucked the fun out of it. That’s because those two months planning were spent doing the following:

  1. Think up 100 different types of characters
  2. Think up 100 different needs a character might have
  3. Think up 100 different settings or locations
  4. Think up 100 different themes
  5. Go through each list and pick one out of two of the ideas
  6. With the remaining 50 from each list, repeat the process (and I am not talking about just halving the list… It would be idea 1 v idea 2, idea 3 v idea 4 etc…)
  7. With the remaining 25, pick one in 5
  8. With the remaining 5, pick one from each
  9. With the now semi random mixture of different characters, themes, needs and settings, put it all together and make it into a story

This process took me two months and the idea I was left with was obviously deeply flawed. I was able to make a premise for a plot out of it, which was surprising. But obviously the ideas that I came up with in isolation did had baggage attached. I imaged a particular story for a particular character, with its own themes and settings.. That is how normal people use their creativity. I had to systemise it in order to feel like I was being productive and in the end decided to just give up and make this blog instead. For somebody who has the desire to be creative, and can have that spark ignited when working with others, if I’m left on my own I go a bit nuts.

That very long insight into my mental brain aside, I have learned that it’s important to question your assumptions or patterns of behaviour. I think everyone has ‘rules’, they might just not think of them as such. Obviously not everyone goes about it like me (most people enjoy living), but we all become victims of our own principles and lines of thinking. They do imprison us. Often when we are faced with a new idea, we can be cynical off the bat. This especially seems to be the case around issues such as feminism. Before meeting my girlfriend and discussing her views on feminism, I believed that I believed in equal rights and that women were fine really. It took months of arguing about the subject for her to finally show me that my worldview was completely skewed and that I had privilege and blah blah blah (a topic for another blog post). The point here is that the things we take for granted in everyday life are all subjective and can all be changed! That’s the great part about being human, we have the means to expose ourselves to different views and different people’s experiences to open our minds and question how we do things. This should be something we collectively cherish, but sadly, practically, too many people push back against a worldview that is different from their own. Be open minded. Spend just one day assuming you are wrong about everything. Catch yourself when you are deep in thought and play devil’s advocate, but do it from the perspective that you are actually wrong as opposed to using different arguments to bolster your position on a subject.

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4. Put Yourself Out There

I already talked about this at length in a creative sense on this blog, but I am talking more about personal relationships now. There is a bitter irony to the fact that in the modern world, while being more connected than ever through the internet, we are completely disconnected in our relationships with other people. ‘Facebook stalking’ is an actual thing people do. We all have a list of maybe five or ten people who we keep an eye on on social media, and we know it’s weird because we hardly even know those people. Something stops us from just sending them a message to say hi and ask them to go for a coffee or a drink or whatever. These are the basics of making friends. I think it becomes especially harder as you get older. I think that if you meet people and don’t immediately hit it off and become friends, then it just becomes a bit weird to start talking to someone new – or to be honest about your intentions. Why is it so weird for someone to say “hey, I think you seem like a cool person and would like to get to know you better, do you wanna meet up?” And I am not talking about the dating world at all here. I guess we are afraid of rejection and in a way it’s fair enough. Many people would react negatively to that. I have always maintained that I would go for a drink with literally anybody if they asked me to, no matter how weird it was or how little we knew each other. Because why not? Nepali people I have met care a lot less for stupid social boundaries. If you meet a Nepali person who likes you (or even if they hardly know you), they will invite you in as if you were best friends. They don’t have this unhelpful sense that it might be weird or invasive or anything. They are just upfront with their intentions and just nice people. This is a huge thing that I am going to take back with me to the UK. For years now I have had people who I have admired from afar, and only recently realised that it is that behaviour that is far more weird than me just striking up a conversation with them and potentially making a new friend. Yes, there are people who will be a dick about it if you message them like that… And to those people I say, fuck it. If they react badly to you just being upfront, genuine and honest, then why do you let that asshole make you feel bad for trying? Don’t do that. I’m not sure if I’m talking to you, my reader, here or myself. It doesn’t matter. Just do it, yeah?

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So, as my time in Nepal slowly begins to wrap up, those are my four main takeaways from my time here. I am really excited to begin the next chapter in my life and see how this new mentality goes down in the UK. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on Wednesday.

Becoming Disheartened

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Before starting this blog, I read lots of advice about how to approach writing and took the experiences of many other bloggers into account while creating a strategy for it. I read that it was inevitable that after a few months, the drive for the blog will begin to fade. After those burning topics that you always wanted to talk about had been shared with the world, and the following still hadn’t grown to the levels you hoped, you will begin to become disheartened with your blog and will want to quit. The advice I heard over and over again was don’t give up. I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that I have a habit of picking up projects for a little while and then dumping it by the wayside. Only a few months ago, I poured so much time into planning a novel. I planned it in so much detail that I completely ruined the experience for myself. It started to become more of a chore than something I was excited about. Sadly, this is also becoming the case with this blog.

I am not writing this post to whine or even to solicit encouragement or feedback. But I  decided before I even started writing my first post that this space would be mine to use to talk about anything and everything in a frank and honest manner. I also want to share this very real experience with the rest of the world because to pretend it doesn’t exist is just silly. Writing a blog – a consistent one anyway – is hard. Thinking up two posts a week and finding the time to write it isn’t easy. Consistently posting on social media and feeling like you are talking into a vacuum is incredibly demotivating.

The brain goes to dark places. When you see that other people have started similar projects and in that time have gained a much larger following (and, of course, when watching others it always looks so easy), feelings of insecurity, jealousness, and bitterness bubble to the surface. I am still learning how to deal with these feelings. But it’s hard. You start to think that maybe you just aren’t cut out for it, and the temptation to give up grows.

But I won’t give up. I already decided that I will try this for at least a year before making a decision like that. So in the meantime, I will go through ups and downs, but I will continue to push out content about the things that matter to me. That is another decision I made myself. I am not interesting in filling a niche. I do not want to write a ‘travel blog’ or a ‘book blog’. Other people do that and that’s fine. But I don’t have a single passion that I care about enough to focus on just that. In fact, I think if I decided to dedicate this blog to only one of my hobbies, it would ruin that hobby for me. I want to write about a range of subjects and hopefully other people can find things here that might interest them too. But writers block is a horrible feeling – especially when coupled with a non-negotiable (although obviously self-imposed) rule of producing two posts a week. I keep a list of subjects to cover on my laptop and nowadays when I come to choose one none of them ignite a spark in me, and I find it very difficult to think of new ones. Perhaps I need to give the blog more time, perhaps I need a break. I’m not sure. I would be interested to hear from fellow bloggers what they have done to combat this feeling as I know I can’t be the only person who has ever experienced this.

Change

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Sometimes blogging can be the most frustrating experience in the world. Coming up with ideas is the easy part. What’s a lot harder is sitting down to write about those ideas.

I don’t want blogging to become a chore. I constantly want to write about things I am passionate about. However, an idea I came up with a month ago often doesn’t resonate as much with me by the time I come to write it.

Sitting here, switching my gaze from the meticulously structured document on my computer filled with ideas, and the perfectly orange brick wall outside my window, is not doing much to inspire creativity. I turn to blog title generators in the hope it might awake something inside me… Let’s see… Maybe I can write about creativity… the creative process… no, that’s too generic… Maybe about culture? Something to do with… culture??

I’m grasping and I know it.

So, completely stuck, none of the ideas I’ve jotted down jumping out at me, I’ve decided to write a blog post that fits with the name of this blog – me!

At the moment my life is going through an intense period of transition. I have mentioned in my last blog post that I am currently residing in Kathmandu, Nepal. I have been here since September but it is only recently that I have started to make some big decisions that will affect my life when I go back to the UK in July/August of this year.

As is always the case when going through a big personality change, you don’t really notice it until you’re coming out the other end. I happen to have come out a more focused, optimistic and resolved person. I now have a clearer idea of what I want out of my career and social life. It has meant that I’ve had to make some pretty scary choices over the last few months – choices that I battle with every day wondering if I did the right thing. At the end of the day, I am content to say that I have.

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I feel like I have stirred something up inside of me that I always knew was there, but repressed for many years. I remember as a child I would climb trees, and run through fields, and explore an old abandoned quarry  near my house. This sense of adventure was trampled as I grew older and cynical. I came to believe that being negative was a sign of intelligence; being judgemental a sign of wisdom. It’s not.

I spent many years of my life looking down on others for their ‘shallow’ friendships and conversations. I lived with one stubborn and unshakeable belief – that I understood how life really worked, and those around me were stunted either by their personal circumstances or their weak personalities.

Typical of growing and maturing,, we look back on the previous version of ourselves and laugh – but also cringe. I feel an acute sense of embarrassment at who I used to be, who I let myself become. Convinced I was a misunderstood genius just waiting to be discovered, I regularly felt slighted when I wasn’t recognised for my brilliance. This ‘brilliance’ was, of course, based on absolutely no evidence. Sure, I put my name to a few projects here and there, I tried my hand at a few different things. I never succeeded though. I always blamed other factors (or my own lack of self-motivation), and in the process I disrespected entire lives – the lives of people who work their ass off day in, day out, to hone a craft and develop an audience.

I believed that I had natural skill. I was cocky. I understand that. Most young men are. You can dress it up anyway you want, but when all is said and done, I think a lot of people who are like me are just inherently arrogant.

Whatever made me wake up and realise that I am a very insignificant fish in a gigantic pond, I will never know. But I am glad it happened now, and not when I am in my forties. Some humility is good – and god damn could I use it.

This may sound a bit bleak – perhaps even depressing. But it is far from it! I have finally managed to accept that you can strive to succeed without attaining instant results! I have come to understand that, just because your dreams do not come to fruition immediately, and your immediate goals and situation might change, that does not mean you are giving up. Life is a messy, meandering path with no real end goal. Instant gratification is a myth. Life is for learning as much as it is for being recognised for your achievements. It just means that I will hit London hard by the end of this year, and I will accept rejection far more gracefully than I once did.

In the end, I kicked myself in the teeth. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but ultimately I’m glad it was me and not the ruthless steel-toe-capped boot of real life that did it.