Endurance.

•2015/05/18 • Leave a Comment

I must keep going.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Touching the stars.

•2015/05/04 • Leave a Comment

April 2015 will go down as one of the most life-defining for me. The sheer progression made in this one month alone dwarfs that of all preceding. I have all but lost touch as to how unbelievably driven and positive it has been. Praise from every corner and has allowed me to, if anything, release stresses and strains; humbled by those appreciating what I’ve accomplished.

Treading Water showed very much what was on the horizon, closing fast. The pieces were all in place, it was simply a matter of all of them moving in sequence. So to kick off April, a series of meetings were planned with Human Resources at placement. Yes indeed, these were the meetings hoped for following my appraisal from months prior. I had everything prepared, a defence and pitch for every eventuality – a draft job description, positive mentions directors and higher management had mentioned me in, 3 possible directions and “rungs of the ladder”. I hope at the very least to climb all 3 – continued contract, part time work during my final year at University and a prospective position on my return in 2016. So we all sat down for the kick-off, niceties exchanged, and then completely out of the blue, Human Resource struck the first question that completely derailed me.

So the placement is going well, that’s fantastic, did you have a contraction completion date in mind?

Not three minutes in, and that 1st rung was not only achieved, it was just handed to me straight away without even a need of a defence, or a pitch to sell myself. Not 5 minutes later, the next 2 rungs were whole heartedly agreed, on the basis of speaking to my line director. I was speechless. Was it truly that much hard work that had allowed me to really request this from this incredible IT Company? Not only to secure my future, but a future is that 18 months away. I was almost in tears of joy when sitting down with my line manager, he agreed and nodded towards the same discussions as those with HR. So it is, that I have secured my future for the next 2 years, then who knows? My career now has such a bright light at the end of this tunnel of uncertainty, I can barely comprehend.

With a spring in my step, someone unexpected entered my life. Admittedly I didn’t mention him in Treading Water, at that stage, exchanging thoughtful messages across websites and relationship applications was nothing new. I don’t mean to sound cold and clinical, but this has more often than not lead to a figurative brick wall. The difference with this guy, not only in him making the first move, was that of a connection – a strong one at that. Online websites were dismissed in favour of daily video calls, lasting up to 3-4 hours each. I was smitten, enough to warrant a surprise trip down to the south coast to see this new-found joy, and for only the second time in my life, was met with a pure connection. I have since dropped almost all instances of dating accounts online since – something I haven’t done ever before. We embraced on meeting, we held hands as I drove down to the coast to spend the afternoon with him, we lay down in the park together and took in each other’s company and physical belonging. While I have very much adorned this new-found joy with the nickname of “Tiger”, this has become more a name for people I associate my closest feelings towards, as this blog has lengthy details of. He is more than deserving of this title, if this anthropomorphism is anything to go by. Energetic, beautiful, bright eyed and a rare breed.  For sake of this blog and recollection, he is “The Affectionist”. As with anything in life, if you wish to grasp and hold onto the brightest of gems, and look after that which you have found so wonderful, you have to work hard and know that goals may be difficult to reach, and in this case far away, on more than one sense of the term. So it is with The Affectionist – we can make it work, but will take a lot of time, and a lot of patience. We both know how we feel about each other. There are large hurdles to clear, and more recently we’ve both gained far more appreciation of what that really means. I have hopes, we both do, of heart-felt desires becoming reality…driving into the sunset. Indeed, a loved one by your side with an eternal sense of happiness between you feels amazing. Logic and the mind make sure these do not run away into fantasy. Balance is always needed,and hopefully, that is what we have found; at least for these next few seasons. I have every hope this will work for the both of us.

So as if progression could not extend any further for me I attained that which I had sought for myself ever since I started a rigorous diet and exercise programme almost 3 years ago. The 35th London Marathon beckoned me in. With registration made and secured back in December, I undertook 4 months of training long distance running the like of which I had never attempted before. It was a long shot by any standards, but as time went on, my confidence grew, and my pace became regular and determined. So on the 26th April, I made that which seemed impossible 3 years ago, to an overweight unfit and unhappy soul, a reality defined in a finish time worthy of respect. Putting me square in the middle of positioning for the mass race at the finish line, I felt every emotion as the 26.2 miles of London road and park was taken in around me; the crowds pushing me and some 40’000 other runners on to the next mile, and the next mile. So a medal worthy of a marathon’s size and undertaking now sits proudly on profile pictures across the Internet, the medal itself adorns my home office desk next to the 50-mile cycle challenge of yester-year. It has without doubt finally proven to me this; I can and will do what I set my mind to doing. Be it losing 20 kilgrams in weight and shaving 5″ off my waistline, cycling 50 miles, or running a full marathon.

April has been a completion of goals the like of which I will not see until this time next year with the closing chapter of University. The time I have between now and then will be one of pure determination and courage. I can -and will- see through to the other side. It is within reach.

 

Treading water.

•2015/03/30 • Leave a Comment

So heading north did not happen. The Lost Scot remains a wound unhealed, but out of the week and a half I’ve taken out of placement to have a break and resolve such matters, not all is doom and gloom.

Off the bat I headed back to university to settle training matters and see old friends, both closely tied to the student radio. It was a good weekend, a memorable one indeed especially with the sudden and very welcome accompaniment of a distant heart throb. You may recall this guy from Summer 2013 – now studying for his LLB at the same university, we had kept somewhat loose contact over the past 2 years, with more recently a touch on a “what if we did get closer” conversation. Maybe this is what he needed – a glimpse of who I can be when close to someone, opposed the powerful, overbearing demeanour I tend to portray instead in everyday life to assert some level of authority / direction for others. It was welcome for me, probably more than he’ll ever realise – cuddling up to someone who is not only great for it in return, but an accomplished kisser – is more than enough for me to melt away those instinctive defences. For the shortest of nights, I felt like a half of a whole again.

The rest of the weekend was spent with the radio – covering production for 2 sports events, training from my successor and, now, predecessor. It’s been a hell of year for them – everything that could have happened, no matter how slight the possibility, happened. From a complete emptying of the studio with unknown locations for equipment afterwards, to power surges taking out equipment, they remained steadfast. Not only that, but they made headway in what is possibly to be cornerstones of how the radio will run from now on; services and partnerships worth more than any sum of money. My hope, even though without coming across as arrogant, that I lay foundations for some of these partnerships to occur, that I can carry on and improve them as they would like. I have 1 more year to prove my worth to the radio, after which I will simply became a name in the history books.

So it was, with training under-belt, I headed home 3 months after my last visit, to a more settled mother and improved relationship with brother. While New Years left matters in a rugged state – my mother being no exception (I literally left her in tears on returning to placement follow the long talk with her and my brother).  A simple but work-burdened list was on for the week. Fix the internet connection, paint some outer-facing walls, clean the patio, and dinner with brother and his partner. The first on the list was a challenge unto itself, however not being with certain telephone and Internet providers makes for a much quicker moving beast that is the managing operator of the phone network. So 2 days later the phone line was duly “fixed”, filters were removed from the internal network, and for the briefest of moments, the Internet was fixed. Subsequently at the time of writing, a storm has piled through the local area and taken out something between the house and the exchange; if anything, not a lost cause, but at least both providers and network operator are well aware of the problems faced, and are about to face this week with recovering the now damaged phone line. Odd isn’t it – it’s 2015 – where are the promised under-road cables, fibre optics and nationwide 4G that were seen to succeed such archaism, even 15 years ago? Laziness is all I can surmise. With painting and patio accomplished I looked to pâté and ‘pollo e spinaci’. Dinner with brother was a much needed continuation was what was accomplished in January – a return to a relationship rather than feuding over lost and (literally) dead arguments, gone with relatives now passed away. It was good to see from his own perspective rather than 3rd hand where he was taking his life, either way he appears to have settled with staying country-bound over moving away to warmer and sunnier shores.

So it was I returned back to placement, or at least will be tomorrow. Alas after months of planning and dropping ideas from a 3rd party, the Lost Scot made for the somewhat surprisingly spontaneous plan of visiting his distant partner on foreign shores, much to the surprise for the 3rd party and me – having booked hotels and car hire accordingly, all was cancelled swiftly and revised (thankfully without penalty). The plan remains to be attempted again in the summer, with a far more direct approach. I still intend to close this chapter, and say my farewells. For his sake and my own, I don’t wish to burden his life any longer, nor my own. I owe it to both of us to just finish this and move on with life. I only hope it’s not a continual case of proposed and cancelled opportunities to meet.

Placement and my future here are now the forefront battles to be won – the company has been tight-lipped on how to proceed, regardless of my appraisals and propositions. All sound ideas, but I need feedback on all of them – I need to know foremost, where my future will take me in 3 months’ time, so as to avoid tenancy problems with my current residence. I then need to see how financially viable (or flexible) my final year at university is, with the possibility of part time consultancy with them. Finally there is the question of continued employment following graduation in summer of next year. All must be answered, but I need to have a suitable pitch with which to lead for all 3. In my mind it works soundly on all accounts. However, I need to sell it to them as a viable course of action. All will be settled in the next couple of weeks. I hope it turns out for the best.

4 years

•2015/03/05 • Leave a Comment

In 3 weeks’ time I travel north to visit the Lost Scot. After 4 long years, sleepless nights, fleeting phone calls and unreturned voicemails, the stage is being set for a sit down and talk, face to face to settle this struggle of hearts torn apart; to either renew something lost in that storm that seems like an eternity ago, or to finally heal old wounds, say good-bye, and leave it all to disappear into memory.

This guy has such a grasp on my life. His face and mannerisms are seen in people I meet, I go to hold a hand that isn’t there when driving long distance, wanting him to be there by my side. So far he has been the brightest star in my night sky, and no one had come close to providing that strength, that longing of a bond. Everything felt like it meant something to him; it all felt right.

Now, with actions underway, and dawning on the 4th anniversary of this connection, I intend to make things right.

People have told me – warned me even – that it won’t go right, that it will make me miss him even more. Only a couple know the full story, and when I tell them, they know this is an itch I cannot scratch in my present situation or location. One day, maybe when the world is more open to people’s struggles, and when I find more time, I’ll commit this to a short story, a film transcript perhaps. Either to remind myself of this point in life this… 20th of an average life, or to help others in a similar position. It takes courage and bravery to see past these hurdles and to revisit old faces long forgotten.

It is time to close this chapter and complete this long and painful journey.

2015 – endless possibility

•2014/12/31 • Leave a Comment

“These days, there seems to be nowhere left to explore. Victims of their very success, the explorers now, pretty much, stay home. Maybe it’s a little early- maybe the time is not quite yet- but those other worlds, promising untold opportunities, beckon. Just now, there a great many matters that are pressing in on us that compete for the money it takes to send people to other worlds. Should we solve those problems first, or are they a reason for going? Our planet and our solar system are surrounded by a New World ocean: the depths of space. It is no more impassable than the last.”

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

2014 – the dawn of a new era.

•2014/12/29 • Leave a Comment

In a similar situation to 2013, time marched on to 2014 with not but a whimper – at home in the rolling hills of the national park, Mother needing chores completing and more wood being brought in for the fire. Big Ben seems like a distant memory. This year saw in 6 months of the heaviest set work at university that I’ve yet to experience, coupled with taking on 3 roles within the radio station just to keep it above water, and finding a suitable placement with which to give my hibernating career path a much needed reboot (no pun intended).

University was tough to say the least  – heading straight back into the thick of it, coursework flying left right and centre – Jan 2014 was the kick start of a collaborative project between close friends and I, alongside the many other deadlines and exams. Empty promises were made of keeping things in check  – early nights, early milestone targets, and much like the Armistice made almost 100 years ago the famous words of , “Never again” were made in reference to previous coursework pieces. Did we succeed? Well the coursework came back with the top marks of the year group. Did we keep to the promises we made to each other? Not even close, our hearts were there but our ‘Charlies’ certainly weren’t.  By this time however another weight had been lifted from my shoulders somewhat – that of having to land a suitable placement for the upcoming 12-month tick-box marathon of placement year – or so it seemed at the time. I succeeded in gaining 2 possible placement contracts, both stemming from previous work contracts. As they say, it’s who you know.

The radio saw its way through a storm like no other – one that it has still yet to see through to the end. I took on the challenges of handing over to the successor executive team from March, and began the process of writing up the necessary documents and finalising any last remaining events to cover. Come September, those that were put into place were quickly restructured in what appears to be the most successful shock-tactic election going. It worked, somehow, and those that were involved in the process were nothing short of professional, well-meaning and exceptionally methodical.

One in particular I now consider one of my closest friends, and possibly the next biggest highlight of the year to my placement success. This towering Cornishman has wisdom beyond his years, and great methods of simply getting things done. I’ve been more than happy to support him in his goals and plans, because I can see the potential and the ultimate outcome. I look forward to spending a great deal more time with the Cornishman, his partner and related friends. I have finally found a circle I feel completely comfortable in. As with many things in University, I hope I don’t let a connection like this slide away into the background, never to be seen again.

So to placement. What a roller coaster ride. I feel I have for myself the potential to absolutely excel, beyond all previous comprehension. I have reached back to the University representing the company, securing it for the next year as a viable placement location. I have taken on every task head on and pushed them through to completion. I have 8 moths to go (thanks to a contract extension), and possibilities of consultancy work through my final year, continuing through till post-graduation. Yes, finally, things have worked out for the career path – a bigger launch pad than I could have ever hoped for. I have expressed my gratitude to all of my co-workers and new found friends this year. There is so much success to be had in the next year – it will dwarf all previous achievements.

So to 2015 – this already has greater expectations tied to it than the entire history of this blog, 3 years in the making. I intend on striking of 3 goals – not so much resolutions – they were already well known to me:

  • Repair relations with my brother after an 18-month tear in communications. It’s something that’s been far too prevalent in my family and needs sorting out.
  • Meeting up with friends long left behind. Too many sacrifices made, and some people need my time devoted to them for a change. I intend on seeing at least 3 of them and just have a decent catch up through a day or weekend.
  • Close the book on the Lost Scot – this is going to involve a trek up North to finally put this to bed. We all have to move on one way or another. For good or bad – I intend to find a better way than this suspense, also now 3 years long.

So here we are – 2015 – a year of progression. Next stop, the Moon.

The abyss of loneliness.

•2014/11/23 • Leave a Comment

If there’s one thing in my life that’s carved out a path in my life, it’s my heart. As much as wisdom will tell you it would be best to perhaps take a step back and evaluate the situation, the heart will drive you on to that distant glimmer on the horizon and the possibility of love, companionship, ongoing support.

It seems that no matter how optimistic the initial situation may be, how positive the progression made in conversation or how strong the feeling is that this new prospect seems right; after a few phone calls and photos exchanged, the connection breaks down, and the enthusiasm is lost. What does one have to do in this world to catch someone’s attention enough that they too will take a step forward and give their time to learn about someone the just might be the match to complete their lives? How difficult would it be just to meet up over a hot drink and test the water?

While this has been a truly large kick to the groin, the messages keep rolling in, the “interested parties” keep introducing themselves; on the other hand I have a growing sense of my heart hardening up against the idea. I do so wish to have someone close, but in a mind-set of paranoia, I cannot help but think some level of distrust has already been instilled. They will be interested then burn out just as quickly.

To push the commonly cried phrase, “I need a hug”.