Tag Archives: year

Another year gone.

Well, if that was 2011, then I guess we’re done with that. Nothing like another year flying by to make you feel that little bit older, eh? And it’s strange too, because 2011 was a jam packed year. I made up something facetious and irreverent (who me?) for the New Year and my Facebook update, but it really is weird.

So what does this year bring? If the Mayans are right (And they were so right about everything else that they MUST be…) then this year is the last one. Ever. The end of everything, the spinning down of the universe and the final establishment of entropy over this universe and every other. What is it with humans and numbers? There is something about calendars clicking over that makes us go all fuzzy and stupid.

Remember Y2K? Remember the Y2K bug and how basically everything was going to collapse in a giant technological black-out? How we were going to be reduced to savagery and eating beans out of tins? (Assuming that we weren’t reliant on electric can openers, of course.) Well, I am not sure about you, but there always seemed to be something vaguely fishy about the Y2K scenario. I mean, I am not trying to be funny, but when my Windows calendar goes out of whack, it prompts me to reset the date and time, but still lets me listen to music while I do it.

Last year was a big year for doom prophets. Well, just the one notable one really, but he did successfully predict the end of the world TWICE. In the same year. To my recollection, neither of them happened. I may be wrong though, I don’t get out much. (Although I do think that I might have noticed a lack of new content on YouTube. Not immediately, you realise, but certainly by now.) Yes, I am talking about Harold Camping, a man who has finally given up on his day job of doom-mongering, and has retired to a (hopefully) quiet dotage of disappointed living.

It’s not a religious thing, either. It seems to be a human condition. It is as though we feel that the entire universe needs to recognise in some spectacular fashion the ability of just one planetary species to count very slowly to 2000ish. And you may be scoffing, along with me, at the millions of morons that whole-heartedly fall for this crud every time. And then, well… you have to answer a few questions. Do you observe your birthday? Do you celebrate in some fashion a relatively arbitrary count of 365 rotations of our planet? Do you count anniversaries? Did you make New Year resolutions? It’s stupid really. Why 365 days? Because it represents a complete orbit of our sun? But it doesn’t, not really. 365.25 (Or thereabouts) is a much better measurement of an entire Earth orbit. And really, who cares about Earth and our piffling little Sun? What about our galaxy? Or our galactic rotation? Or the celebration of shifting another standard galactic unit of distance from our neighbouring galaxies? Nope. These will not do. Intelligent apes that we are, everything revolves around our ability to count steadily upwards.

But I digress… So how was your 2011? Did it bring you everything that you wished? Is there any chance of 2012 treating you any differently? Or are you relying on the fact that the calendar has clicked over to bring you a change of fate? My guess is that like me, you’re going to complacently sit back and allow the world to happen around you. It’s no big deal, we all do it. Or do we? We live in a world of plastic celebrities and sentiment. We watch our plastic TV shows, all stamped from the same mold, all relying on the same plastic jokes, gimmicks and situations. We live our plastic lives, in our plastic worlds, with all our plastic friends. And the only good thing about plastic is that it is cheaply recycled. Aren’t you getting tired of the same rubbish on TV? The same tired repeats and reboots of classic movies? Honestly… is there any real difference between X-Factor and something like Britain’s Got Talent? Is there any need to film another ‘Transformers’ movie? Are you satisfied with what you are watching? Are you satisfied with what you are paying for? Are you satisfied?

This year, I am celebrating the counting ability of my race by making one final resolution. I am going to make a change. Not to the world, hell… probably not even to the people around me… but I am going to make a change for myself. If nothing else, the start of this year marks a decision for me to improve myself. Lots of little things that I have been ignoring and putting off are going to be dealt with. I’m going to get into shape. I am going to write. I want to study something. I am going to make the time in my day to devote a portion of my energies to the pursuit of my dreams.

Will I succeed? Will I make a difference? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But without trying, the answer is a certainty.

One of my favourite movie quotes is from the Terminator series. It was one of those things that I heard as a kid, remembered, and somehow still has meaning.

“No fate but what we make.” It’s true, you know?

So my question to you is this. How are you planning to live this year?


Massive Missive – Getting older means being happier with less.

My Jesus year is done. This is not an official name for some random year, so don’t go googling it.

But until a few days ago, I was thirty-three years old. If we are to believe the Bible, well, Jesus had done pretty much all of his earthly stuff including dying and then undying. I am done with the year though.

This has some bearing on my life. It means that I am unlikely to become the focus of my own religion. It means that as much as I would like to believe it, I, like Brian, am not the Messiah. And there are a host of things that I will not be doing in my life. I realise that now. I’m unlikely to ever run a marathon. (Pause for derisive laughter here.) That rock band that I joined in school? We’re never going to make an album. Hell, given how far away from one another we are now… we’re unlikely to ever play together again. I’m probably never going to go sky-diving. I am most likely never going to own the car of my dreams.

And here’s the funny thing. You’d expect them to grate, to weigh down on me, these unfulfilled aspirations. But they don’t. Instead, I find myself free of them. I am never going to front a band, I am never going to trade riffs with Slash or stand clad mainly in leather in front of an audience dancing to my music. Nobody is going to sing along to my songs, quote my lyrics on their Facebook page or get my band symbol tattooed on their shoulder. Sixteen year old Yeti would be crushed by this realisation. But thirty-four year old Yeti is happy. If I am never going to be a famous musician, then I can stop pushing myself to learn the guitar, stop feeling guilty when a week goes by without me playing the thing. I can chill, learn the songs I want to sing along to, surprise my wife by playing some Leonard Cohen for her. (At the very least, I sing better than he ever did.) Guitar playing becomes a fun activity, something I do for joy, guilt-free.

The same goes for my chances of ever playing sport at a national level. Much as I enjoy thrashing friends at table-tennis, there is no chance of ever playing seriously. Golf? I can safely leave that to the executives and the pro’s. Who cares if I shift my feet in my swing? Who cares that I’m holding the clubs incorrectly, or using the wrong one? Who cares that every now and then I still take a run-up when nobody is watching? I played hockey as a kid. Taking a step or two before the swing just feels good. And that’s what I am getting at. We carry so much baggage. We shoulder so much guilt as a function of our everyday routine. And why?

Let. It. Go.

You’re never going to be a model. Eat the Snickers bar. You’re unlikely to become anyone important politically. Tell the jokes you want to tell. Your photos are never going to win a Pulitzer. Relax and enjoy the view for yourself.

You get what I am saying?

We all do it. Everyone I know has a chip of varying sizes on their shoulder. Some unrequited dream that plagues them, that tints every moment of every day with a disappointed shadow. We get those chips from a range of places. Parental expectation, peer pressure, the media. It is their responsibility, their FAULT for pushing us in directions. But that is what parents do. It is what friends do. And it is all that the media ever does. It is YOUR responsibility for collecting the chips. For carrying them for years. For allowing them to colour your every action.

Maybe it’s laughable coming from someone barely old enough for a mid-life crisis. Maybe I am wrong. I don’t think so though. This year is my year. Succeed or fail, this is the year that I drop my pretensions of lofty ideals. This is the year that I slough the little dreams that I have clung to for years. Dreams that honestly, I am not really even interested in any more. I don’t want to have a glamorous jet set life. I don’t want a fancy mansion. I don’t need a collection of vintage guitars. I have no intention of climbing a mountain, ANY mountain. I’m not going to join Green Peace. I think that PETA is often too extreme. I’m never going to be a religious person, I have no inclination to continue studying religions. I don’t intend ever getting myself an office job again. I never want to wear a tie again.

What I have been doing is looking at my life, and evaluating each of my dreams and hopes on their own merits. There are many that I am no longer really interested in. There are others that are beyond me simply because of my age, location or abilities. There are some that are possible, that can be done, but that clash with the life that lead. I’d love to race cars. With a wife that I intend getting old with, this is not going to happen. You see how it works? There are some goals that I do not intend to compromise on. These are the goals that are still attainable, still possible, albeit with a ton of work and sacrifice. And I think that it is the job of every human being to find those core goals, and then to get them done.

I want to be an author. I would love at some point in the future to be able to fill in “author” in that little square on the tax-return. I want to be self-employed. Until that happens, I want to teach. I enjoy teaching. I’m good at it. And it is the only job that I have found where every day IS different, where every single class brings with it challenges and difficulties uniquely its own. I will own a Porsche. Nothing fancy. I just want the car, I want to drive with the top down, and listen to a flat six growl through a mountain pass. I want to see Europe. I want to walk in the Black Forest, and uncover Roman mosaics. I want to see the Sewer systems of London. I want to walk on the abandoned platforms of the Underground. I want to see Moscow. I want to see the Northern Lights. I want to fly a plane. I want a Doctorate in something, but I’ll settle for my Masters.

These are my goals. These are the things to which I am going to work. And yes, it is going to require some sacrifice, and some planning, and most of all… a lot of luck.

But I have my friends, and I have my family. I have time. I believe I have the talent.

I have no excuse for failure.

And neither do you. Drop your baggage. Embrace yourself, your own goals and hopes. And make it happen for yourself.