Month: December 2014

2014: A short review

[insert cliche about how quickly the year has gone]
[time flies like a banana quote and reference]*

I started the year running. I ended it with ITB and being told not to run. I need to stop setting goals that might fail, they don’t do me any good.

I took a short online course on creative writing and learned a few things. I want to learn more. The more I write, the more I want to do it. It’s not always easy but it seems to remain as a passion.

I volunteered at the Commonwealth Games, the memories will stay with me for the rest of my life. I need to volunteer more.

I got way too stressed out at work. Again. This needs to change.

I swapped my Fitbit for a Withings Pulse. I don’t know why that’s important enough to mention.

I appeared in a magazine article.

I watched 2001 in a cinema. Epic.

I’ve struggled with my weight.

I voted for Scotland to be independent. My prime reason was to drive change, break the status quo. I doubt I’ll ever see an independent Scotland in my lifetime, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

I got a beautiful new tattoo and my Mum gave me the tapestries that inspired it.

My parents moved home for the first time in 37 years. Emotional.

I started decluttering my flat. It’s not easy but with each change I feel more at peace there.

I tried Yoga. It was hard, painful on my knees (because of a condition I have) and ultimately realised I need to work on basic flexibility before trying it again. I enjoyed it for the most part, and hope to revisit it again.

I went to some gigs, they were all wonderful in their own way.

I finally got on board the podcast wagon, not heavily, but Serial hooked me in, and No Such Things As A Fish reeled me in.

I finally found a To Do app I like (Todoist).

I wrote a lot about my poly lifestyle, once a month at least (for the polymeanmany.com website).

I wrote a lot about my weight.

I spent time with both my partners, they make me happier than they realise.

It was a good year. The balance felt almost right, and I think I can look back on 2014 as more up than down, and you know what, I’ll take that.

[insert cliche about onwards, upwards and the beginning of a new year]

Make your own

Originally written and posted on Uborka.

 

‘Ssshhhhhhh, you’ll wake mum and Dad’

My sister was born when I was 7 and a half years old – back then that half was very important – so as her big brother it was my duty to induct her in the ways of Christmas.

By then I was old enough to know that Santa enlisted the help of my parents (or maybe he wasn’t actually real!), but still wanted my baby sister to revel in the joys of discovering what presents Santa had left us. So, by the time she was a toddler and able to make it downstairs on her own, the traditional 5am excitement started.

My parents live in an old house, it’s well-kept but retains the squeaky floorboards that I memorised in my youth. Knowing where not to stand meant you could get all the way downstairs and into the living room – where the fireplace was which is obviously how Santa got into our house each year – with nary a sound.

This same knowledge became very useful in my late teenage years, sneaking upstairs after staying out too late… but that’s a different story.

Christmas morning then, sneaking downstairs, avoiding the floorboard in the hallway outside my parents bedroom, the last step of the first flight of stairs and the second bottom stair of the second flight, and for goodness sake don’t step on the loudest squeaky board right in front of the living room door!

Into the living room, the tree twinkling in the bay window, the fireplace decked with decorations, and the milk, shortbread and carrots gone with only an empty glass and some crumbs leftover as evidence they had been eaten by our overnight guests.

More importantly, strewn across the armchairs was those magical presents and stuffed stockings, SANTA HAD BEEN!!!

We usually got an armchair each full of presents from Santa; a personalised stocking full of small toys and sweets, and larger items that didn’t fit all laid out lovingly like a wonderful Christmas display. We must have always been good, we must have watched out and not cried because I don’t remember ever getting any coal … and so it was that with eyes wide we leapt in to explore our bounties, as quietly as we could manage of course.

Those years, with my baby sister so excited, remain wonderful memories. I’d join in with her ohhhh and ahhhhs as she ripped open presents and boxes, marvelling at all the new toys, some of which were just what she wanted, or miraculously matched a set she already loved playing with.

A few hours later, probably still too early, my parents would appear and the excitement would be repeated as the presents were shown to them anew. How wonderful for Santa to know us so well, we’d all agree.

At some point my Dad would suggest breakfast and my sister and I would begrudgingly agree to a glass of milk whilst cramming whatever sweets we could into our mouths. The rest of Christmas morning would be spent in our dressing gowns, opening the presents left under the tree (from Aunts and Uncles), whilst the TV showed a wonderful new animation called The Snowman.

I continue to believe there is a magic to Christmas that is more than just the presents you receive. Today we are bombarded by imagery of what makes a perfect Christmas, what we should buy, what we should eat, how we should spend Christmas Day and how we should feel.

I say do whatever you want to be happy, try and find something that will make you a child again, a way to re-capture the wonderment and magic of Christmas. Or create your own. Don’t buy in to the hype.

Our Christmas wasn’t borne of tradition, there was no plan to how we spent our day. It was whatever we made it, and all I can remember of those days is one thing.

Merry Christmas.

Keeping busy

Keeping busy

The last few weeks at work were a bit manic, somewhat stressful, and long. Oh so long. I struggle to switch off at times like these but, as I’ve mentioned before, it does mean that I drop into a mindset that keeps me busy busy busy.

I finished up for the holidays on Friday and I’ve kept that busy busy busy thing going through the weekend and, despite a little lie-in this morning, it seems like it is continuing.

Busy busy busy.

I’m looking forward to Christmas this year as it’s full of new things. My parents new home, no planned Christmas dinner but a buffet, and then a quiet Christmas night with my loved ones. Although that’s another reason for the busy busy busy, getting my flat ready for that.

I think the busy busy busy is helping keep the usual holiday ills at bay. It’s something I’ve been seemingly more susceptible to for a while now so I’ve been wary as this holiday approached. Fingers crossed I’ll get away with nothing more than a wee cold.

Anyway, I can’t sit here, I’ve got things to do! The local recycling centre to visit, last couple of things to buy, and purple food colouring to master!

What? Ohh it’s for the parma violet vodka of course…

One to revisit

It’s a quick cycle when the ills hit. Tiredness reigns, my emotional capacity drops and I do my best to keep as much back for myself and for the people that are important to me, but work drains me more than I like.

Even realising this I dragged into futile discussions and arguments. Maybe next year I’ll learn how to stop that. For now, every day feels like a battle. It’s tiring, more so when I’m under the weather.

The joys of poly are many, the ills of poly are shared. Clare is feeling better, I’m almost there, but Kirsty is a few days behind us. Mark seems to have avoid whatever weird cold/sickness bug we’ve had.

And, of course, it’s that time of year when the nights out merge to a blur, the shopping trips are part running the gauntlet, part endurance event, and the bank balance is a whirlpool drain.

Through it all I’ve been writing. I’ve posted some things here, but most are hidden away from your prying eyes, delivered to be critiqued by others on the course. I’m a week behind (see above for mitigating circumstances) but it’s been enjoyable when I’ve had the time. I’ve learned some new tools and techniques and so, already, my mind wanders to 2015.

I have three things to tackle. I’ve always got these three things to tackle. At some point I need to figure this out but for now I’ll leave them here. My weight. My money. Writing time.

To be revisited.

When I have the time.

(see what I did there?)

Christmas is coming

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

The end of the year is approaching and so once again those of us in non-monogamous relationships start to look at our shared calendars and figure out who will be where and when amid the myriad of additional social engagements that always roll around at this time of year.

Case in point, I now have some form of ‘get together’ every Friday until Christmas, all of which involve food and booze and, therefore, limit my ability to be around on the Saturday morning after them; Dear Santa, I know I’ve not been a good boy but still… can I please have some willpower for next year?

Add in the social commitments of everyone else, both in my relationships and my wider circle of friends, and it starts to get a little challenging to see the people you want, when you want!

All of the planning is worth it though as it removes some of the stress of the unknown and, for us, is made easier by the fact that we are a year further on with our relationships and much more comfortable with the dynamics of our relationships. So from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day, we already have a sense of who will be where and can figure out the details closer to the time.

That said, just this past weekend we’ve uncovered a couple of glitches in the thinking, back to the planning board!

More excitingly, we are also planning for the four of us to go away over New Year. We tried a Hogmanay street party last year and it turned out not to be the greatest idea ever – who wants to stand in a queue at a bar for AN HOUR! – so this year we are all looking forward to hiding away, stocked up on food and booze, board games and books, for a few days.

I will admit that I’m usually the one keen to get plans in place, but this past year has taught me to be a lot more relaxed about that – for the most part – so I’m totally NOT freaking out that our festive plans are still a little vague, nope, not me.

Beyond the plans there are other more mundane things to consider, presents to buy and gifts to be wrapped.

I mention the latter purely because I screwed up last year. I’m a big fan of ‘little gestures’ and so I was well chuffed with my plan to wrap presents for Kirsty and Clare in their favourite colours, purple and red respectively. One evening I gathered the presents together, popped Elf on the TV (because silly and Zooey) and started wrapping.

It was only when I stepped back to admire my handiwork (I even posted it on Instagram) that I realised I’d wrapped the presents for Clare in purple, and the presents for Kirsty in red… Oh well, can’t win them all!

For me, the festive season is a time to be around friends and family, to remind myself of what is important. It’s a time to reflect on how lucky I am, and how much love I have in my life. The older I get, the less I care about ‘things’ and the more value I place on being happy.

Wherever you are, however many loved ones you have in your life, I wish you all the very best and hope your festive season is a good one.