So, 2016, what a quite fantastic year for me personally, but I can’t write this blog update without mentioning the sheer talent loss we have all experienced throughout the year. Perhaps most heart-wrenching for me was the death of Colin Vearncombe aka Black, mostly famous for ‘Wonderful Life’, but to his fans this was just a small taster of the song-writing genius he was. Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ coming on random play had me in floods of tears, making me realise just how much his music also meant to me in a much more subliminal sense. Then there are the acting talents of the likes of Gene Wilder and Alan Rickman that mean we will no longer get to see these familiar faces on our screens save for the great legacy they have left us. Ultimately a lot of these heroes and heroines of ours are a decade or so older than us, since they were our idols when we were younger, hence they are also prone to the rigours that age puts us through.
This year has seen the wife and I quit sugar, and move on to a low Fructose way of life – probably the best thing I personally have ever done from a dietary perspective. I feel more ‘in control’ of what I eat; I don’t ever crave sugary snacks and cook fresh 90% of the time. This is the first Christmas I have had that I haven’t eaten Christmas cake, even though we have a box of cake bars, I actually just don’t want to eat it. I allowed myself a small mince pie as something that I used to eat far too often for my own good, but I found myself eating it and not enjoying the taste anywhere near as much. This in turn has fuelled my desire to commence proper Triathlon training throughout the winter months in readiness for June’s Blenheim Palace Sprint distance race. I have enlisted the help of one of the Born2Tri coaches to devise a training plan and more importantly make me accountable to someone else other than me. So far I am loving it, feels good to have an aim, and getting exercise back into my daily routine and making it part of what I do. With any luck I will have lost weight and be fighting fit for the event, but this goes much further beyond for me, I want to keep this going for as long as I am able – push myself for a Standard (Olympic) distance Triathlon, and who knows what lies beyond.
The year saw my daughter Lucy compete in dance finals in Blackpool and coming in the top 20 for Ballroom and top 30 for Latin in her age group. She is developing into a very bright young lady with a constant thirst for creativity and a very good singing voice for one so young. Monty continues to grow at a rate of knots, and is most certainly the more mischievous of the two. Both make me so proud in both similar and very different ways.
I started up my own company this year as part of the requirements to contract where I was placed in March 2016, but has always been my view that I wanted to make it something that I can carry forward in its own right eventually. It was very daunting to begin with, the perceived uncertainty of contracting rapidly dissipating as I realised it’s no more vulnerable than a permanent position. The point that did cause concern was towards then end of the initial 6 month contract – relief abounded as this was extended by 3 months due to my reputation and attitude. I have also been renewed to the end of 2017 since too, huge relief and gives me great pride that the quality of my work and my aptitude are clearly assisting me here.
…And after watching it from the first episode, I have finally put Eastenders to bed – I have watched it out of habit for years rather than actually enjoying it, but storylines recently have been utterly rubbish to the point of disbelief! With quality TV such as Westworld, Game of Thrones etc.. being commonplace now, there is very little time for anything else. I also have very little time for non-quality TV with my training and also my guitar practice for the band I’m in www.blackwaterechoes.com – despite our excellent lead guitarist Mark leaving the band, we now have a similarly amazing talent in Anthony. I am loving playing and just cannot wait to get out gigging again. I am also hopeful of an acoustic duo set up, but more on that soon.
As I look back at the year just gone, I am thankful to the support of my wife who basically pressed the red button for me back when I was mulling over whether to resign my previous post or not. We have such a great life together, making sure most of what we do is centred around our two gorgeous children, but also ensuring we both have our own social avenues and on the rare occasion actually going out together without the kiddies! I don’t often express it, and probably should do it more often, but I am hugely thankful for the privileges I am afforded – a roof over our heads, food on the table etc.. ya know, the simple things in life that a lot of others either simply don’t have or those that have that don’t appreciate it. Okay, that’s about as soap-boxy as I get! Having kids has definitely mellowed me with age and made me a lot more introspective and appreciative.
So what does 2017 hold for me? Well, my gig anti-bucket list sees a few more artists/band ticked off the list (Kraftwerk, Green Day, to name but two), but I am also looking forward to seeing where my fitness regime takes me to. Who knows I might even start enjoying running! I am also looking at doing things I have never done before, even if it takes me out of my own comfort zone – one of the most obvious examples of this is my accepting to do a speech on Information Security in the Financial Service sector in front of around 500 delegates. Daunting isn’t the word, actually exciting is.. Exaunting? Dauciting? Other than that, I just want to continue to be a great Dad to the kids, as non-irritating a husband as I can be to the wife and just enjoy this short life we all have to the fullest.
So long 2016, you’ve been a good one, if not a little bit over-generous with the celebrity culls! See y’all on the flip side.