Glasgow 2014

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Like millions of people around the world I tuned in to watch the London Olympics and I loved every single minute of it. It was fantastic, I cheered and yelled along, shedding tears as I got caught up in the emotion and excitement, punching the air as the British athletes won medal after medal after medal. Every now and then the TV coverage would spotlight the Gamesmakers, the volunteers who smiled, laughed and danced their way through the entire thing, and I can still remember seeing them and thinking ‘I bet that was loads of fun!’.

So, when I heard that the Glasgow Commonwealth Games were looking for volunteers, I jumped at the chance to be part of something similar. I sent off my application in September 2012, had my interview in July 2013 and in September last year I was thrilled to be asked to be part of Spectator Services!

Since then I’ve attend a few training events, learned a lot about the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Games, visited the venue I’ll be working at for 6 days and have started to understand just what a massive operation it is to put on an event of this scale. I have my uniform and accreditation, I know what I will doing (and what I won’t be doing, just as important!) and I am proud to say that I am a Clydesider!

I’ve already met a lot of the people I’ll be working alongside, several of which volunteered for London 2012 and are in Glasgow to volunteer again. Chatting to them and hearing their experiences has only helped add to the excitement, I can’t wait to get started.

There are a few reasons I volunteered but it was mostly because Glasgow is my home city (I grew up in a town a few miles away); I realised this was definitely one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities, I may volunteer again but it’s unlikely it’ll be for such a major sporting event in my home city!

For the first 6 days of the Games I’m based at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, the venue for the swimming events and will be there every morning, bright and breezy! My position for the day will vary but as part of Spectator Services my job is to be the face of the Games, to smile, be helpful, respectful and polite, and do everything I can to make it a great experience for the spectators, competitors, staff, colleagues and myself!

The volunteers got invited to watch the rehearsals of the opening ceremony, I was there on Saturday night in the torrential rain, soaked to the bone but loving every minute of it. I won’t spoil the surprise(s) but I’ll admit there was a wee proud tear in my eye. I’m not massively into grand shows of patriotism, but I am very happy and proud to be Scottish and to live in Glasgow.

Roll on Glasgow 2014!

 

 

 

Writing without process

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I like to write.

I like the process of it, the act of it if you will, I enjoy the space my brain floats into when I start writing. Ever since I first used a computer there is a part of me that still marvels at the way I can watch words appear on the screen as I tap them out on a keyboard.

My approach to writing varies. Sometimes I’ll be inspired to write in response to something I’ve read or heard elsewhere. I used to do more of that, my archives are littered with one line/one paragraph responses, but for some reasons I’ve moved away from that.

Sometimes I have some vague idea of what I’ll write about before I start but rarely does it end up the way I intended, and that’s another reason I enjoy the process of writing and why it’s where I turn to when I’m trying to pull my thoughts together. That’s why this blog contains so many of my thoughts and experiences, it’s part of how I make sense of them.

Mind you, I know I am equally prone to indulging the more whimiscal side of my nature from time to time; the day dreamer who watches raindrops trace their way down a window pane. Perhaps that’s why I no longer write shorter posts, do I fancy myself a Writer? I know I love writing, words have always drawn me in, but I’ve never really pushed myself in the direction.

The other day I wondered how it would be like to not have to work any more. What would I do? I know I could fill my time, but I fear I would waste it.

Define waste. I work to live, to pay bills and be able to afford nice things and have nice experiences. Yet I constantly feel like I’m wasting time, that I could do more and live more if I didn’t have to work.

I am 40, is this at play? Am I looking far ahead and wondering why I want to do THIS for another 30 years? Not so much planning for retirement as pondering a long slow descent into the life I want. A simple life, with fewer things, easier days, working at my own pace on things I feel passionate about.

Ahhh passion, such a strange word so easily thrown around. Immediately the focus is not on one thing but many, jack of all trades and so on. Of them all this blog, or at least the act of writing posts, is still the longest running passion I have managed to maintain. Is this where I should focus?

I don’t think it is, but then I don’t know what the future holds. I conjure up another day dream of my day spent in a cafe, tapping away at the keyboard on my eagerly anticipated second novel.

Funny how I never dream of writing the first.

 

Different Journeys

The older I get the more aware I become of the truth that drives the many and varied philosophical cliches that pepper my day. They are so frequent and so subtle, and are usually delivered as a passing thought, that they barely register. But at present one seems to be stuck in my head and is becoming increasingly noticeable – the same way, I guess, that whenever you buy a new car, suddenly there are loads of them around – it’s the one about acknowledging that life is a journey and that the journey is more important than the destination.

I like to plan. At any given point in the day I’ll know what I’m doing next and likely have an approximate time in mind. This is not always a good thing (I can get a bit restless if my timings aren’t going to plan) but most of the time it helps me achieve some semblance of being a grown up.

I tell myself that this is all because I have a bad memory and if I don’t have a plan I’ll forget to do something, or forget to be somewhere. I use my calendar and to do lists heavily and, as a result, my brain is usually filled with time driven cues to help me remember to do things; ‘I’ll leave at 6pm so I’m home for 6.30pm and it’ll only take me 30mins to do the hoovering then I can …’, it sounds a bit anal I know but it’s a system that’s worked for me for a long time.

More recently I’ve been wondering if there is more to it than that. Perhaps the reason I like to plan my days and ‘near future’ weeks is because I know there isn’t much point planning that much further ahead. Even things like ‘go on holiday’ are broken down into the things to do today, and the things to do tomorrow. Beyond that I know the weeks will come towards me as they always have, and always will (that’s not meant to sound profound, just stating the facts). In other words, I know there isn’t any point planning things in great detail too soon as life will, inevitably, crap all over that nonsense whenever it gets the chance.

Oddly, the one thing I’ve never had is a plan for my life. I’m very much led by my emotions and I guess I’ve been lucky to be where I am today. Looking back there are some decisions which I would’ve made differently, of course, but I wouldn’t change them.

In the past my lack of planning was more down to how I reacted to what I thought were expectations or hopes that others were placing on me. Life seemed almost pre-ordained back then – go to college, get a job, get married, have kids – but then life started throwing some curveballs and it slowly started to sink in that while it’s good to have dreams and aspirations, and you absolutely should plan to try and meet them, life will ALWAYS throw you some curveballs. I think it’s how you deal with the curveballs that really defines who you are, not where you are, how much you earn, or what your ‘social status’ is.

It’s not been an easy, or quick, lesson for me, but the last couple of years have found me realising a lot about myself as I try and understand and empathise with others on their journey. As mine hasn’t been planned, I guess I’ve used the ‘near future’ planning to give myself a comfort zone to stop me worrying about what might happen in the months to come.

More recently, as my relationships evolve and grow, I’ve been trying to find the balance with my partners journeys, seeking out where I can help, where I should support, and where I’m not needed.

Being poly means I have to understand that everyone has a different journey and we are all at different points at different times. Not only are we different ages, but we have different jobs, different passions, different outlooks on some things. We all come from different backgrounds and places and have been through different life experiences.

Looking at where I am in my life, and where my partners are in theirs, it’s clear that whilst we are all on a similar path, we are on different journeys. It’s a subtle realisation, but I find myself changing my position at times depending on where I think one of my partners is on that given day, it’s a soft switch from ‘I will always be right beside you’ view to ‘I will always support your decisions’. One is very much based on journey proximity, the other on understanding and acceptance of our journeys being different.

Right now we are all on the same path, even if our journeys take us on little detours from time to time, we seem to be finding our way back to each other. Of all the things that polyamory has given me, this is probably one of the slowest realised but most delightful.

We are a family.

 

Time for a change

A couple of years ago I ‘closed’ my other blog. The one that few of you probably read as it was about my, then, profession of technical communications. I’d moved to a new role and decided it was good to draw One Man Writes to a close. I merged the posts from that blog and my ‘diary’ site, One Man Blogs, into what you see today.

My current job title is Product Operations Manager, it’s a mix of project management, process management and general dogsbody. As such it doesn’t really feel part of a ‘community’ the same way my old role was, so I didn’t see the need for a separate blog.

However, in the last few weeks I’ve accepted an additional set of roles and responsibilities which now see me acting as UX Team Lead, something which does have a community, a vibrant one at that. The UX community and the technical communications communities overlapped a little so as I’ve been getting back up to speed it’s been interesting to stumble across some familiar names and ideas.

With all that in mind I’m pondering a change here too, if I’m honest I was passionate about Technical Communications but that didn’t transfer to Product Operations (I like my job, but I felt a bit isolated I guess). Being involved in UX is something I know I’m passionate about and no doubt ideas and thoughts will start to swirl and I’ll look for somewhere to put them.

In short, and this isn’t really of any interest for anyone except me, I’m currently pondering re-design thoughts for this website. You have been warned.