The post that wants to document this feeling

I’m just going to come out and say it.

I bought a ukulele on Sunday and it is the. Best. Thing. Ever.

You can tell I’m deadly serious because I put full stops after each of the last three words in that sentence.

Side note: Why do Americans/Canadians refer to full stops as ‘periods’. That’s weird, isn’t it?

I first thought about buying one way back in July. I didn’t have the money and thought it might just be a passing fancy and ultimately a waste of money.

But as the weeks went buy and then the months I still thought about buying one.

I researched them. I watched YouTube videos of them. I considered whether I’d be able to actually play one.

That I spent four months at times agonising over whether or not to spend a mere £60 on a musical instrument says a lot about me, I think.

First of all, it says how terrified I am of spending… or wasting… money.

Who spends that long considering spending what’s hardly life-changing cash?

It also says something else about it. I am terrified of making the wrong decision. As the old saying goes (and this is my favourite variation on it):

It’s not the failures you regret, it’s the times you never even tried.

I might still fail but, my God, I’m going to have fun doing it.

I can already play dumbed down, simplified versions of I’m Yours by Jason Mraz and Three Little Birds by Bob Marley.

It is addictive, man. My fingers hurt from holding the strings when I play the chords.

It’s been sitting there looking at me all day and I’ve been itching to finish work so I can play it.

It’s something to look forward to at the end of a day. Something to do. Something to occupy my time. Finally!

Yes, it’s early days but I love it. I love it so much that left to my own devices, I would probably have sex with it and raise a family of tiny little ukuleles.

I’m joking! (You know I don’t like babies.)

And the reason I wanted to document this feeling in a blog post is because I don’t know if it will last. And it will be nice to look back on this post one day and remember it.

Finally, I thought it was the perfect juxtaposition when, on Sunday, as I was delighted to be bringing home my first ukulele, my best mate was bringing home his first baby.

Real grown ups are creating families, I’m buying a piece of wood with some strings on it. I’m definitely winning.

Don’t tell my other friends with kids, but I’m actually happy and excited for him whereas I was totally nonplussed towards to existence of the sprogs of my other friends.

Right, I’m off to make my fingers bleed.

Take care, kids.

N x

The post that lost friends

I just read this article about why men lose friends in the twenties

This line stood out:

 Over a quarter of men said they got in touch with their mates less than once a month, and 9 percent said they don’t remember the last time they made contact with their friends.

I’m not in the 9 per cent but I’m certainly in the ‘more than a quarter’. Sort of relief to find out really. It’s not so weird after all. Yay, etc.

Then came this line:

Research by the World Health Organisation has shown that a lack of close friends has a significant impact on men’s health in the long term, leaving us at risk of depression, anxiety and suicide.

Ah. That’s put a bit of downer on things.

But what are you supposed to do?

I’m as alone as I’ve ever been but, and I’m not quite sure why, I don’t feel that alone at the moment.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in the unusual, almost bizarre, situation of having a run of several weekends where I’ve actually met up with friends.

Or perhaps I’ve gotten used to being alone.

It’s gotten me down in the past for sure, I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about it. And though I become conscious of my loneliness/aloneness from time to time, it bothers me less than it has done in the past.

It becomes more apparent and I become more aware of it when I’m surrounded by couples/groups of friends and I am by myself. That’s what brings it home.

But I haven’t been going out by myself that much of late so I haven’t been reminded of it as much. I don’t use Facebook any more – that’s riddled with couples and groups telling you how great their life is.

I still think there’s an element of becoming used to it or numb to it at play though. Slightly worrying to read that the World Health Organisation think it’s going to make me want to top myself one day though.

Something else I happened to notice the other day (I’m not looking this stuff up, honest, Stephen Merchant just happened to tweet it) was that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

Interestingly, 41% of those who contemplated suicide said they felt unable to talk about their feelings. It’s hard not to think this is intrinsically linked to what I started the blog post talking about – men losing friends in the 20s and ergo not having one to confide in.

One final fact to brighten up your day is that 76% of all suicides in the UK were men. A fact that did surprise me. I’m not entirely sure why, but it did.

The page with all these stats on is here if you want to read it

My question would be: is it not the same for women? Do they not lose friends in their 20s as well?

N x

The post that’s been mind numbed

This week I’ve been mostly staring at my laptop and not working as hard as I should have been.

Then when I have been typing away, it’s felt like torture. Everything has been a distraction. Procrastination levels are through the roof.

I feel like my head’s going to explode sometimes when I’m in that kind of  a mood.

It’s not because I’m being overworked. Dare I say it but my routine has become that of a normal person lately. Starting word around 8am and finishing around 6pm.

Very manageable indeed.

And only having to do a teensy bit of work at the weekend. Check it out, I’m almost human. Long may the lighter workloads continue.

But still this emptiness persists. I tried to explain it to my Mum when we spoke the other day.

She asked how work was and I said “Err, just boring. I’m bored. But, ya know, that’s work, isn’t it.”

It could be a lot worse. And I couldn’t explain it any deeper than that. I couldn’t say why it was boring. It just is.

I knew that she was expecting me to then say how I would start to look for another job now. Because that is my track record. I’m a quitter. A mover.

But, I don’t think I’m going to do that this time. I’m actually quite good at my job now I think. It’s the only job I’ve ever had where I’ve actually been better than mediocre.

So, if I quit now then I’ll have to go back to the bottom rung of a ladder somewhere. And you’ve got to ask yourself, what’s the point of that?

I stumbled into this line of work, have spent 2 year and 3 months getting better at it. Quitting now would be daft from that point of view. I’d have to have a really good reason and I haven’t got one.

So I’m going to do what everyone else does: spumble their way from Monday mornings to Friday afternoons, try and do something enjoyable at the weekends and hope the crushing boredom doesn’t blacken my soul so much that it permanently destroys my raison d’etre.

It’s 10 and a half weeks until India? Too early for a count down? Yeah, probably.

I have got another idea though. Buy a ukulele. I floated the idea in a blog post way back in August. But money was still insanely tight then, whereas it’s less so now.

I thought maybe it was a passing fancy and that I didn’t really want one but three months have gone by and I still do.

So, on Saturday I think I might go and buy one.

This reminds me of the time I wrote in a blog post that I might book a flight to India and then within a couple of hours… well I booked one.

I have that same feeling about this that I might as well just fucking do it. Worst case scenario: I hate it and I suck and I waste about fifty quid.

Nothing ventured.

Adios muchachos.

N x

PS – How shit is this new WordPress? It’s constantly saving my posts as I’m typing making everything slow down and pause. It’s doing my absolute head in!

The post that needs to believe in the kindness of people

After what happened in Paris last night, I cried. And I cried again this morning when I woke up, had that feeling that something awful had happened and then remembered what that thing was.

When these things happen, I always think about two things:

Firstly, the fragility of life.

The fragility of life because the victims have no idea they are putting themselves in situations where they could be murdered. They’re watching a show, having a beer, eating some food.

They haven’t gone to a war zone. They’re not soldiers on the front line. They’re me. And they’re you. On a Friday night doing what people do on a Friday night.

They’re not hurting anyone. They’re just relaxing at the end of a gruelling week at work.

And lives can be ended. Just like that. In the unlikeliest of places. At the unlikeliest of times. And you never know when it’s going to happen.

And it’s because you never know that life is so fragile.

So, people remind you to “live life to its fullest” and “enjoy your time on Earth as much as possible” and other numerous clichés. And I fully endorse these sentiments.

The other thing I always think about is the decency of mankind.

I question it.

And worse than that, I feel utterly helpless to do anything about it.

I very rarely watch or read the news any more. I can’t handle it. It’s not good for me. My characteristics or personality or whatever you want to call it are incompatible with the relentless bombardment of bad news stories that are available to us 24 hours a day.


Well, what really gets to me is the psychology of it. It’s the realisation that another human being, with whom I share a planet, a gene pool and DNA, is able to do the barbaric and abhorrent things that they do.

If people can get off on murder, torture and rape then I don’t want to know about it. I can’t let it into my world. I just don’t have what it takes to cope with knowing.

And I know, I know… you might be sitting there thinking, ‘but what about all the refugees from here, and the bombings in that country and the murders from that country? Why aren’t you upset about that?’

I’ll tell you why.

It’s about getting through the day. Your life on this earth is finite and it is fragile. Who knows if I have one day left or 50 years left. But I don’t want to spend it living in fear, worrying about humanity and being miserable at the fact that there are people who walk among us capable of firing guns into crowds of innocent people.

So I don’t read about it. I actively avoid finding out about it.

And if you think this is me burying my head in the sand then yes, you’re right. That’s exactly what it is. It’s escapism. Everyone is different and everyone’s got a coping mechanism. This is mine.

Honestly, I don’t know if I could get up in morning if I didn’t think that on a fundamental level, most people were kind, decent and law-abiding citizens who have no intention of harming others.

Could you?

And seeing how the Paris attacks unfolded… well that just makes me question it.

If I’m wrong, I don’t want to know.

Peace and love to you all.

N x

The post that saw the future

Is she really going out with him?
Is she really gonna take him home tonight?
Is she really going out with him?
Cos if my eyes don’t deceive me, there’s something going wrong around here

I was out with a bunch of friends on Saturday. A good bunch of lads having a good laugh. Lots of beer. Lots of football. Lots of talking nonsense. An all too rare occurrence, so I savoured every moment.

The opening lines to this post are that of a song by Joe Jackson (though I much prefer the cover by Goldfinger)

At one point in the night, one of my mates pointed to a table with a guy and a girl on it and said, “that guy is punching SO far above his weight”. I looked over and the guy was stooped over a glass of coke trying suck out what remained of the contents through a straw that was (for some reason) not long enough.

What was opposite him was, quite frankly, a mismatch. I’m not trying to be horrible but it was ludicrous. To the point where I found it quite funny.

I wasn’t envious. I was more bemused. My mate on the other was annoyed by what he’d seen. I bought him another drink. Because that’s what friends do.

It transpired later that he’d broken up with his girlfriend recently. Probably hence the annoyance. Since a few of my friends have kids now, we inevitably get onto that topic and it also transpired that this same friend “wants a family”.

I confessed that I do not. I said not to worry about it because you can become a Dad in 10 years time, in his early 40s, and no one would really bat an eyelid.

Regardless of that, the timer is counting down on my 31 year old friend’s chances of being a Father.

As for me, well, my race is just against myself. I have targets. Things I want to do before I die. Things that are down to me and that I have some degree of control over.

In the end, I think for me it was always going to be that way.

I’m going to share with you something that I wrote when I was eleven years old. It was recently stumbled upon and shared with me by my Mother.

When I am older, I will do everything
Do what I like
Go where I like
When I am older I just won’t care
I will never commit to this or that
And never need to say ‘Oh drat I missed that!’

Even at 11 years old, eleven, I already knew I didn’t want to be attached or committed or have responsibilities.

I couldn’t believe it when I read those words.

I couldn’t believe how true they had become.

It’s kind of scary.

I guess I was always the person I am now. When I wrote that, I was just trapped in the body of an 11 year old.

Food for thought.

N x