16 years of thanks

16 years is a long time and I’ll admit I’ve been looking back at the history of this blog, reading old posts and finding that it’s a fairly accurate depiction of my own journey. Obvious, I know, but given that there is so much I don’t write about, the blog posts I have published act as a signpost for my memory.

It has sparked further contemplation about my past and, on the whole, it’s been a positive experience to revisit the links and connections I’ve made throughout my life that still hold true today. They are few, but they are strong.

I’m forgetful and can be a little too focused on moving forward, looking ahead and making plans. I’m also not blessed with much sentimentality, although I can be a bit of a sop at times, so tend to lose sight of emotional connections and the value I gain from having other people in my life.

I can generalise this even further; life for me is typically about what’s happening next, not looking back at the what ifs.

But the past is what it is and I acknowledge that without it I wouldn’t be who I am today. That said,  as time goes on I naturally find myself distanced from the painful times, and I feel like I am finally comfortable that what lies behind me isn’t shaping the path ahead. I am not beholden to the dark clouds of my history.

Sometimes it’s good to pause, to look around at where you are, live life in the present, and as I look at my life today I realise just how lucky I am, and I have a lot of people to thank for that.

This post is a thank you to all of the following, who are listed chronologically purely because it’s the only fair way to do it. They’ve all meant more to me than I’ve probably told them (something I have gotten better at but I still need to work on).

First up, my parents for bringing me up to learn, to challenge, to be tolerant and challenge prejudice. For helping me when I needed it and for always being supportive, understanding and caring. It’s only now, as I approach middle-age (I’m in denial, shut up) that I realise how blessed I was to have them as parents…

…then they went and brought my sister into the world. I’m massively over-protective of her and in return she keeps me grounded just by being her wonderful, caring, ditzy self. We have many attributes alike and as we both get older it feels like we are growing closer, mostly because we are realising that we aren’t that much different from our parents and can revert to our childhood relationship in the blink of an eye. Hey, I’m a big brother, I’m SUPPOSED to wind her up!

My ex-wife Louise is next; I’ve known her for half my life and when we were together we experienced wonderful highs and brutally crushing lows. From her I learned the values of family and patience, and how to properly load a dishwasher (in-joke). Part of me remains sad it didn’t work out but I am glad we parted on good terms and remain friends to this day.

Speaking of friends – Stuart, Keith, Ian and William are mine – a constant source of laughter, support, ridicule, and beer. Our shared history grows richer even though we don’t see enough of each other. I take great comfort that whenever we are together, nothing really changes. They are my brothers, through thick and thin.

My girlfriend Kirsty. Part of me wishes I’d met her sooner. Despite only being together for a few years it feels like we’ve journeyed so so far. She has helped me get to know the real me, challenged me to be better, held me when I failed, and allowed me to support her and be part of her life. She is more amazing than she ever seems to realise and continues to surprise me. I know I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today without her.

My girlfriend Clare. When we first met I think both of us were a little caught out by how easy it seemed to be, how quickly we clicked. We may only have been together for a couple of years (almost) but she has helped me understand and embrace parts of my personality that I didn’t fully appreciate. I am lucky to be a part of her life.

And finally, but certainly not least, YOU dear reader.

I’ve made many friends in the 16 years I’ve been blogging, connections transferred from blogcircles to twitter, through blogmeets to weddings and beyond. I feel very lucky to still be in touch with so many people who all came together because of this strange hobby on the wonderfully weird world of the web.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all. I know I wouldn’t be me, without you.

I’ll stop now as I appear to have some dust or something in my eye…

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