I’ve just now turned 20 years old. Another decade passed. No longer a teen.. I’m kind of just sitting here, thinking of everything I’ve been through in the last few years and how I’ve changed, for better or worse.
Although I didn’t choose the right course, or town/city, overall i think university has been good for me. I told myself before i went it was all about “The Experience” and to try a bit of everything, to kind of put myself out there a bit more. I grew up being very sheltered from everything, I was given a lot – I was spoilt in every possible way. But I proved a lot to myself in Teesside, I can live independently, I can get by by my own means. Granted I didn’t cook very well or healthily, but i cooked nonetheless. From knowing no one on my course to making some awesome friends on my course – To you this isn’t a big deal at all, but as far back as my memory goes I’ve always known someone, I’ve never had to start from total scratch. I’m not the guy that starts conversations with strangers, so this was and is a huge deal to me. I met some awesome people both on and off my course, some of which I think/hope I’ll be in contact with for a looonggg time.
Now granted I hated Middlesbrough, everything about it (that wasn’t the university facilities.) It’s North Eastern horrible weather, it’s dismal atmosphere and it’s very sketchy locals. But going there definitely opened my eyes, I couldn’t wait to move away from Liverpool before I started university, but in Middlesbrough I couldn’t wait to get back, it’s a wonderful city and is definitely where I consider to be “Home.”
I still think I’m the same quiet shy guy I was when I first got to university. But I feel more confident in myself, maybe that’s just a coming of age thing. The experience of having to put myself out there, having to ask questions, having to do presentations, having to work in groups have all helped with that. Before I started university I had an interview for a big tech company, and by god did i bomb out of that interview. I was quiet, I stuttered, I stayed very much within my shell. Consequently and deservedly, I didn’t get the job. That was 2 years ago, now I’m not saying if i were to do that today I’d get the job. But I think I’d certainly be better equipped for it. Since then I’ve learnt to speak up more, to present myself more positively, to be a little more out there and it’s paid off. All firsts in all the presentations I did in university, I’ve got through every face to face interview since that day, 2 university interviews, and a group interview which I never thought I would’ve got through before this..
If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely a friend, now I might not be where you are academically right now – Yes I’ve dropped out. Yes I’d only have one year left. Yes you probably think I’m stupid for doing so. But if there’s one thing university has taught me it’s that we don’t all follow the same path, there aren’t set “steps” to life. I have friends, 2 in particular, that are so enthused about their courses and future career plans that i can’t help but think “Why can’t I have that?” So i quit. I’m not going to end up like so many other people stuck in a job they don’t actually like. I’m not content with having a degree just to have a degree. I want to find that thing I actually love, in the same way my friends do. Yeah, it’s took me 2 years longer than it should have to discover that I actually can’t bare the thought of working on a computer my entire career, but so what? I’ve discovered it now, and that’s more than fine by me. Before university I had the mindset of:
“Find a high paying job to facilitate doing the things you love,then you’ll be happy.”
But what’s the point if you don’t enjoy the high paying job. Being at work is where I’m likely to spend the majority of my life, so why spend the majority of my life doing something I don’t like doing? My mindset has gone polar opposite:
“Find something you love doing, irrespective of pay, then you’ll be happy.”
I guess I like the direction I’m heading in, is it the direction I thought I’d be going in 2 years ago? Hell no. Am I happy about that? You bet I am.
I don’t believe there is a right way to deal with loss, I believe you should do whatever it takes within yourself to get you through.
Today was a really difficult day, probably the hardest day I’ve ever had. My mum’s fiance passed a little over a week ago, and today was his funeral. I’ve had very few experiences with death in my lifetime, this was only my second. Now I’m not going to write about Ian, that’d be distasteful, and frankly you don’t need to know the details.
But I do want to talk about how I try to comprehend and handle such a difficult time… Everyone seems to want to talk about it – to get it out of your system, to get it all out in the open. Well, no. That’s not what i want to do at all. That’s not my character, I don’t like to talk to people about my feelings or emotions, that doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t find that helpful in the slightest. If anything that to me is the opposite of helpful.
I’m a thinker, I live very much in my own head. Anyone that actually knows me should know this. If you’ve ever had a one on one conversation with me, and there has been extended pauses and you’ve probably thought “shit this is awkward.” or “what’s up with Jay?” The answers are simple, I’m fine, I’m just not a talker. I like to listen, to think. Therefore I don’t think it’s too strange to be the exact same way when put in other situations, joyous or otherwise. I don’t feel its absurd to want to deal with the situation internally, I don’t think it’s wrong to want to simply think the situation away, I don’t think its detrimental to me to not want to share with you or the world how I’m feeling.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for your concern, but if you ask how I’m feeling the default answer you’ll get is “fine..” Whether this is a lie or not that’s the only answer you’ll get out of me, because frankly the list of people I’m willing to share how I’m feeling with is only 2 names long.
- My mum.
- Everyone else.
So by definition; that makes you the last person I’d want to talk to about it. As cliche as it is “It’s not you, it’s me.”
I’m okay with funerals, they don’t scare me nor make me overly emotional. I accept death, it’s the one constant that connects us all – As blunt as that may sound, it’s a fact of life. I didn’t get overly emotional at my great granddads funeral, yes it was tough and i cried, but considering the situation I think i held it together for the most part, maybe i was too young to fully understand the gravity of it. But today was a different matter. It wasn’t so much the funeral itself, as it was my mum. Rightfully so my mum was distraught and very emotional. I’m a pretty calm and collected person overall, my emotions stay pretty stable medium. Granted, I have the emotional range of a teaspoon, but seeing my mum upset sends me into turmoil. She’s my rock and the only person on this planet I’d do absolutely anything for. Seeing her upset upset me more than anything I’ve ever experienced, her crying by default makes me cry. Trying to stay strong while she was pouring her heart out into the shoulder of my blazer is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and i hope to god i never have to do it again.
Today has been a truly difficult day, but my mum got through it…
Oh, and before you ask; I’m fine. Tomorrow is another day.
Today might just have been the best day of my entire year..
From January 1st arthritis has controlled and affected everything I’ve done. Pain has been the only constant factor in my daily life, from waking up in my sleep, struggling to climb stairs, not wanting to go outside; my joint pain affected everything I did.
But not today, today I practically leaped out of bed and strolled casually to the bathroom. It wasn’t until I was part way through brushing my teeth that I realised; “huh? My legs feel fine. I actually walked here. I didn’t have to clutch onto everything in reach to pull myself to the bathroom… MUUUMMM!! My legs feel normal again!!!” Today is the first day I’ve woke up smiling since before Christmas.
Backstory; So I’ve been on 3 different types of medication since before Christmas whilst the rheumatologists figure out what’s actually wrong with me. Neither the painkillers not the antibiotics reduced the pain with any real effect. Until yesterday when I switched to yet another painkiller, I took one tiny 50mg pill at 8pm, when I woke up the today as if by magic the pain was there no more.
I’ve experienced this “magic” pain relief in the past. I was in the same situation 4 years ago. I had been going through arthritis treatment for 2 years when they decided to inject into my joints directly. I spent the entire day in a specialist ward in alder hay hospital(I can’t say enough positive things about it!) I had to be carried out by my dad because they injected the soles of my feet… Try walking after that, No chance! I spent the rest of the evening in bed playing video games. Pretty standard evening for me.. The next day I was like a whole new person, like it had never been a part of my life. Joint stiffness was a thing of the past, no pain.. It was like I’d been given new legs.
I imagine this is what Pinocchio felt like, going from wooden legs to a real boy..
Today brings back the memories of that day. I know I’m far from “fixed”, but I’m on my way there.. Small steps & positive thoughts. I’ve still got a lot of testing to go, but i know I’ll get there.
I’m not one for cliches or deep meaningful quotes but the saying “you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone” is one of the very few I actually hold close to me. I know for a fact none of you reading this, who have never had any major problems wit your legs, appreciate the fact that you can walk pain free. It’s just not something you consider or appreciate , hell I didn’t. I stopped appreciating it during the years I had been pain free. Well I won’t this year, I’ve spent summers complaining that there’s nothing to do, there’s nowhere to go, I’ve got no money, I’ll just play video games .. Not this summer, providing this pain free period continues! After 5 months of struggling with any physical activity, it’ll take something monumental to stop me catching up on everything I’ve missed. Wind, rain, shine, snow(hey this is the British summer we’re talking about!) I’m going to be unbelievably active; and this isn’t the “Yeahh I’m going to get in shape for summer” active. This is “live life while you can” active…
I don’t do confrontation.
I don’t argue, ever.
I grew up around too many arguments. My Nan and Grandad argued a lot when I was growing up.
My nan hated my grandad drinking alcohol in the house. But he loved it. She hated him gambling. But he loved it. These arguments went on almost everyday for as long as I can remember. Looking back on it he probably was an alcoholic when I was younger, if he wasn’t in the pub after work he was coming home with 4 cans. Even then I knew something wasn’t right, I knew them arguing downstairs while I was playing with figures upstairs wasn’t normal and I hated it. I just wanted it to stop. I got involved way to much, my mum always told me not to and to just blank it out, but how could I? I’d go downstairs and shout and shout at them to stop, balling my eyes out… And they would for a little while at least. My interference still happens to this day, it’s the only time I feel that strongly to argue. I will back my nan up through absolutely anything. I refuse to let anyone raise their voice to the woman who I consider a saint. I owe her that.
I’ve skipped out on so many arguments but that’s enough backstory for now.
That brings us right up to now.
I recently gave my dad some news that he really didn’t approve of. He got really pissy with me about it. I know he means well by it, and deep down he does only want what’s best for me, but his approach just doesn’t work with me. We rarely have any serious conversations, unless we’re talking about sport, holidays or my sister we don’t really talk. So having this discussion with him went down like a house on fire. It wasn’t something that was up for debate, it was me informing him of what I was going to do. No compromise. I wasn’t looking for his approval, I was looking for his support. My mum understands this about me. As introverted and as much of a lone wolf as I like to be. I need her to be onboard with what I’m doing, and she’s always got my back. I’m a mummy’s boy, what of it? My dad on the other hand thinks I need to be more structured and have a life goal by now.. But I’m not prepared to give up on finding something I love to do yet. But telling him that would cause a confrontational situation, which is him talking over me for 30 minutes while I try to get a word in.. I’ll pass on that one.
Hell, arguments have formed massive parts of my life. Example, since I was maybe, 4? I’ve not once called my grandad grandad… I was watching Snow White and the seven dwarfs on VHS(old school!) and he came into the room and asked me to switch it off and put the horse racing on. So obviously I said no, repeatedly, argument begins and he’s been known as grumpy(from the 7 dwarfs) ever since. Even now, 19 year old me calls him grumpy, as do my mum and nan.
Aged 11 I sworn to my nan I’d never become a drunk, I’d never let it control me because I’d seen the damage it can do and I’ll never get lead down that path. So while you might see me with the odd 1 or 2 jaeger bombs on a night out, that’s all you’ll see me with. From then on in its water…