I believe in Big Love

I talk and I date like I don’t. I don’t have frivolous expectations for romance. I’m not looking to get swept off my feet. I am one of those rare, perhaps slightly jaded individuals who hates hookup culture and would be happy to live in an age in which monogamy is the norm, though for many it is not. But I believe in big love because I’ve had it.

I’ve had that massive love. That all-consuming love. That ‘I can’t believe this exists in the physical realm of this planet’ kind of love. The kind of love that erupts into an uncontrollable blaze an then simmers down to embers and burns quietly, comfortably, for years. The kind of love they write novels and symphonies about. The kind of love that teaches more than you thought you could ever learn, and gives back infinitely more than it takes. It is the ‘Love of your life’ kind of love.

And believe it works like this:

If you’re lucky, you get to meet the love of your life. You get to be with them, to learn from them, to give the whole of yourself over to them and allow their influence to change you in unfathomable measures. It’s an experience like nothing else we have on this earth.

But here is what the fairy-tales won’t tell you – sometimes we meet the loves of our lives, but we do not get to keep them.
We do not get to marry them, to pass our years alongside them, to hold their hands on their deathbeds after a life lived well and together.

We do not always get to hold onto the loves of our lives, because in the real world, love doesn’t conquer all. It doesn’t resolve irreparable differences, it doesn’t triumph over illness and disease, it doesn’t bridge religious rifts or save us from ourselves when we’re corrupting.

We don’t always get to hold onto the loves of our lives because sometimes love is not all that there is. Sometimes you want a tiny country home with three kids and they want a bustling career in the city. Sometimes you have a whole, wide world to go explore and they are scared to venture out of their backyard. Sometimes you have bigger dreams than one another.

Sometimes the biggest, most loving move you can possibly make is to let each other go. Other times you don’t get a choice.

But here’s another thing they won’t tell you about finding the love of your life: not ending up with them doesn’t disqualify their significance.

Some people can love you more in a year than others could love you in fifty. Some people can teach you more within a single day than others could teach you over the entire course of a lifetime. Some people come into our lives only for a particular period of time, but make an impact that no one else can ever quite match or replace.

And who are we to call those people anything but the loves of our lives? Who are we to downplay their significance, to rewrite their memories, to alter the ways in which they changed us for the better, simply because our paths diverged? Who are we to decide that we desperately need to replace them – to find a bigger, better, stronger, more passionate love that we can hold onto for a lifetime? Maybe we just ought to be grateful that we got to meet these people at all.

That we got to love them. That we got to learn from them. That we got to have our lives expand and flourish as a result of having known them. Meeting and letting go of the love of your life doesn’t have to be your life’s single greatest tragedy.

If you let it, it can be your greatest blessing. After all, some people never get to meet them at all.

Adjusting to solitude after loss….

Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face—I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself. — Nicholas Sparks

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog correctly and circumstances now allow me to do so. Much has happened in the last few months. The love of my life Angela wanted to be with someone else and decided to ask me to leave and as a result, I lost the one person I loved most in the whole world, the place I had made my home, a great many of our mutual friends, the three most wonderful cats on the planet and most importantly almost myself. I can write things here as no-one will ever read them aside from me, so it’s safe. Thinking about it, I only write this for me to review the past.

So when I say I always lost myself, there’s a truth to that which I hope none of you will ever understand. In the last three months, I’ve attempted to end my life on four separate occasions, each one more severe than the last. As of the time of writing, I am little more than a walking cadaver, all I know is hurt and pain and all that I can see is more of the same until I pass. To start with people were seemingly supportive but as time continued, I was made aware by some that they believed my suicide attempts to be nothing more than attention seeking. If only they were! People I’d considered friends said some of the most awful things, and while I would fully accept I’m far from perfect, some of the comments made behind my back were frankly overtly offensive. I am many things, but I can not understand why anyone would act in such a harmful way about anyone who was in serious trouble.

Right now, I’m at no immediate threat to myself as I need to organise my affairs before I decide whether to pass as I have no one now who would do that for me. So I go to work, put on a mask of normality as best I can, and quietly proceed through a checklist of requirements which I need to complete before I can perhaps allow myself to be released from this emptiness of a world and leave all the pain beyond as I journey into oblivion. But while those matters are being put into place, I have to ensure that I’m not further compromised.

Social media is and can be used as a powerful tool for good, but it’s not without its failings. Many of the most hurtful comments made about me  have been via those media streams and as a result, I have had to separate myself from a great many who have done me no wrong, to protect myself in this intervening period from the few who will peddle untruth, lies and use lots of words to say little or a message of hurt wrapped in the veil of concern. Now I can’t totally remove myself from places like Facebook as I need to keep a veneer of normality going for a while, so I’ve had to remove friends who were connected to the people making my situation worse, as the ‘Friends of Friends’ privacy issue requiring that to happen. I recognise that for some of those people de-friended, they may view this negatively and I am sorry about that but I have no choice. It will be interesting to see if I have any contact by any of the over 100 people involved asking if I’m OK, I’d like to think that one or two might though I accept it’s unlikely any of them will get in touch. They know the dark place I’m in, it’s regrettably normal for people to avoid those in pain and hurting where they can. I understand that reaction, it does not help me of course, but I do understand it. Maybe I’m wrong and 1 or 2 might say hello. We shall see.

On top of that, I lost my Uncle Peter to COPD this week. He was the last senior blood-related relative I had and a damn fine human being. No idea if I’ll be invited and/or permitted to attend the funeral or not as yet. My ongoing pariah status with many means that might not be possible and perhaps bearing in mind my current depressed state, that might not be a bad thing. I’ll have to wait and see I suppose.

So where am I now existing? I have a ‘cell’ back at Base Camp where I thought I’d escaped from to a better life, only to be pushed back to it, discarded, dejected, rejected, depressed and alone. With no Paul this time, the emptiness and solitude are even more all-enveloping than the last time. The need to remove so many connections via Social Media making even worse but in life, sometimes choices are not always available. I recognise I’m sinking and have no-one around now to stem the downward trend. Just need to hold on a little longer until I can exercise my final solution.


It’s been a while….

It’s been over a year since I’ve updated the blog, that’s remiss of me I know. Not that anything has been wrong, but I was more concerned with other matters namely helping the Mozster with his battle with cancer. Unfortunately he lost that battle three weeks ago and I was fortunate enough to keep my word to him and stay with him while he passed away. He wasn’t in any pain at the end thankfully, though the person he was had left us long ago. After loosing his strength and hair, he lost his ability to walk and talk but he still had all his mental abilities intact so he was trapped inside a body that had failed him. So I suppose in the end, it was a release for him.

When you’ve known somebody for so many decades and then they pass away, some very odd things happen. A few days after he died, I bought him a game (we shared a Steam library) and then cried when I realised what I’d done. I’ll miss our little discussions about video games, politics and general nonsense. I’ll miss the long walks via various hostelrys we enjoyed. I’ll miss his wit and candor. Most of all I’ll miss his good company and they’ll be a little place in my heart that will always remain empty by his passing.

Just a thought…

I’ve not posted for a while but just now I’d like to post a comment about the ten things to think about when dealing with our partners. These are the 10 things to bear in mind…..

1. You get to make it up. If we’ve learned anything about simple living or minimalism in the last 10 years it is that there is no final authority or rules you have to follow. Each of us gets to decide the way that we create a lifestyle that best reflects our deepest longings. So while these commandments are meant to reflect what Thom and I consider most important, be sure that they feel true to you before you follow them. When you find what works for you, don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t doing it right.

2. The best things in life aren’t things. We know this. In the deepest part of ourselves we know that the stuff we buy and own offers only temporary happiness. Freedom, peace of mind and joy are deep emotions that offset anything you can buy and possess. While what truly matters to me is likely somewhat different than what matters to you, it is seldom about stuff and usually about experiences. Decide what is important to you and what makes you deeply happy, and strive to fill your life with that.

3. Less is more. Most of us were raised with the idea that more is better-more money, more stuff, more productivity, more everything. Instead, what becomes apparent very easily is that all that “more-ness” only complicates, confuses and distracts us from the peace, joy and freedom that a minimal life offers. Seek quality versus quantity in all things. Recognize that everything you own, owns a piece of you in terms of time, money, energy and emotion–so choose wisely. Plus, by eliminating all the clutter from our too-busy minds and our over-packed lives, we find ourselves in the peaceful center of what’s most important.

4. Debt is the Worst Poverty. Debt is a heavy burden that colors all the beauty in the world. Debt asks us to work at jobs that suck the life out of us just to pay our bills. Debt keeps us up at night and causes us to fear the future. Debt enslaves us to a life of routine and conformity. It is nearly impossible to feel at peace, happy or content with the weight of debt on our shoulders. The good news is that the exact opposite–being debt free–is one of the most liberating things any of us can do to live a good life.

5. What you appreciate–appreciates. There is a natural law in our Universe, just like gravity, that says that what we focus on grows. When we put our attention on the things that bring us peace, joy and contentment, then they expand in our awareness. Turning away from the complicated, the painful, the unnecessary and the confusing creates the opposite. Choosing instead to be grateful for the benefits that exist in our life right now, and striving toward freedom and peace of mind–all help to amplify the good around us.

6. Comparison is the thief of joy. Theodore Roosevelt said this statement many years ago reminding us that any time we compare and compete with others we are usually putting other people’s needs, wants, opinions and desires above our dreams. Comparison routinely puts our focus on other people and what they have and how they do things rather than allowing us to decide what is most important and rewarding to ourselves alone. Letting go of comparison is a sure way to enjoy true peace of mind and wellbeing

7. Treasure Your Relationships Not Your Possessions. We all know deep down that money doesn’t buy love or happiness. Yet we continue to spend much of our lives (and time) doing things that either keep us away from loved-ones or working to maintain a lifestyle to support those loved ones. When we stop and consider that those who care most about us would rather be with us than managing stuff in the first place, then we let go of expectations and requirements keeping us away from the deep relationships we crave.

8. Slow down and stop the addiction to busy-ness. Simple living asks us to spend time doing more of what brings us joy, and less time doing the opposite. It also asks us to sometimes spend time doing absolutely nothing. When we learn to eat more slowly, drive more slowly, enjoy the world more slowly, and meditate, we find that much of what is right there in front of us contains every single thing we want and need.

9.There is no Planet B. It is important to keep in mind that all 7+ billion humans alive today are currently living in a closed biosphere. Just as we are charged with taking care of our own families, our own households, our own neighborhoods–if we don’t take care of our planet and realize that we each hold responsibility for it, there won’t be anywhere else for us to go and “practice simple living!” This idea also reminds us that not only are we connected to the planet, we are also connected to one another.

10. Life is short–do what matters. Face it; our time is limited and far too short to be wasting it on unimportant or un-meaningful ways. Working at any job just to make money is a waste of your life. Living to appease or satisfy others is a waste of your soul. Mindlessly killing time doing routine, boring or repetitive tasks is a waste of everything possible. Dulling your brain with too much TV, alcohol, Internet, or other forms of escapism is just a waste. Instead, every one of us, regardless of circumstances, is capable of so very much more than we usually enjoy. Our possibilities are endless–do what matters.

A day off is worth it sometimes

Today I choose to take a day off and for once, do nothing more than relax, chill and geek out! It was so needed. I’ve stretched so thin that I felt like butter on sliced bread, not able to cover it all. As I write, I’m sitting in the Volo writing on my iPad while a nice pint of porter, considering the world and what might be. I’m hardly a 21st Century version of James Joyce but the locale and the scene remind me of some parts of Ulysses somehow. Hopefully the readers of this will understand the reference.

I realise I need to make more time to just be. No hassles, no issues, just to be myself. I maybe a dad and a partner and an employee and possibly more to some, but in the end I am just me. Nothing more than that and I can’t be anything else either. In light of that revelation, things are going to change and for the better! Watch this space……

A blast from the past!

I remember getting this track as a second 7 inch single with Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cold Sweat’ and frankly this was so much better! Not sure whom might appreciate this nowadays but I offer it here for your possible enjoyment. Live from Hammersmith in 1981, it’s “Don’t Believe a Word”. Enjoy

A sad day at work,

“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.” ― Ellen Goodman

Today is a very sad day of me. I’ve had the honour and privilege to work with two of the nicest men I have ever known, Jonathan Brealey and Tim Beresford. Today is their last day at Heart Internet before they embark on some well earned rest. Some ten years ago when Heart Internet was founded, I must confess I did think even then that this day would come, but foreknowledge does not make today any easier. I will not be alone in saying that they will be sadly missed and although I doubt very much they will ever read this, I wish them all the very best as I always have. They have been friends to me and my family, and I am in their debt.

A word to my wonderful sons

Here are 10 things I’d like to tell them, before I suddenly go from Dad, to he who couldn’t possibly understand.

1. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

I truly believe what John Lennon said with all my heart. We’ve had some tough times, and you’ll have a lot of tough times on your own–but it’s worth it. It builds character and teaches you compassion. I can trace some of the best stuff in my life right now to things that were really hard when I was going through them. So when things seem like they are impossible, or you’re never going to feel better, just know you’ll eventually look back at them in amazement. It’s going to be okay.

2. The whole drugs and alcohol thing isn’t really about drugs and alcohol.

You’re going to try stuff; I’m okay with that. Most of us do, whether it’s bumming a cigarette from a friend you think is cooler than you, getting drunk at a party or smoking pot because it feels like everyone else but you has. But here’s the thing: all of that stuff is just another way not to be present. Being present, being aware of what’s actually happening is pretty awesome. And when you try and push away those feelings of being uncool with alcohol or drugs (or food, or shopping, or anything) they don’t really go away. Eventually you’re going to have to deal with them, and life gets exponentially better when you do.

3. Figure out what you love and own it completely.

If you spend your life trying to define yourself by what someone else loves, you’re going to be miserable. Try things, try everything. See what makes you hear music inside and what makes your heart swell and then go do it. Find out everything you can about it. Find other people who love it too. If you waste time pretending to like something because other people you think are cool like it, you’re going to end up with the wrong people in your life. Love what you love and be yourself. You end up with people who genuinely fit that way.

4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

I always loved the Neil Gaiman quote:

“If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.”

We can’t make anything valuable without making mistakes. Not a painting, not a relationship, not a career — not a life. If you wait until you have it all figured out to try, you will be waiting forever. I still don’t have it all figured out, but I keep at it. The mistakes aren’t failures; they’re how we learn.

5. You deserve respect.

You deserve it from me, from your mum, your friends, your teachers — from everyone in your life. The best way to receive respect from others is to begin by respecting yourself. Speak clearly and keep your head up. Stand up for what you believe. Make choices that you feel good about. And if someone in your life is being disrespectful‚ call them on it. If it doesn’t change, limit the amount of time and influence they have in your life. We need people in our lives who challenge us and disagree with us, so we can learn new perspectives. We don’t need to be constantly torn down by people who don’t respect us.

6. The first person who catches your eye isn’t “The One.”

And probably not the second, third or fourth either. You know why? It’s because you are the one. Love isn’t something out there somewhere that someone else can give to you. It’s already inside you. It’s that golden part of each of us that makes us alive. And some of the best moments in life are when we truly connect with someone else and share the love we have inside with them. But don’t ever forget to love yourself, first. When you start by loving and respecting yourself, it makes giving that to other people infinitely better. You’re going to meet so many amazing people in your life, and I hope that at least once you meet someone to share that love with and truly find partnership. Before you do, fall in love with your own life, because no one else can do that for you.

7. Romance is great and it isn’t the same thing as love.

Sex with someone you love is a wonderful thing. It also isn’t the only thing. You’re going to have first kisses you feel all the way down to your toes and think “OMG, I love him,” but really… you loved the kiss. You are going to see someone and feel something that feels like movie love, but is actually just phenomenal chemistry. You are going to explore this part of your life with people who aren’t in it for the long haul — and that isn’t a bad thing. Life is a series of stories and the way our stories intersect is fascinating. Sometimes people are in our lives for the whole story. Sometimes they are just a chapter. It takes a brave person to know when that chapter is over and let go gracefully.

8. Kindness is always an appropriate response.

When you get to be an adult, you’ll forget a lot of the stuff that seemed so important in high school and college. You won’t remember what your GPA was. You will look at your old classmates on Facebook and wonder why you ever had a crush on that guy. You will look at your old yearbooks and wonder what the hell you were thinking with that haircut. But you will never forget the people who were genuinely kind, who helped when you were hurt, who loved you, even when you felt unlovable. Be that person to your friends.

9. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m always here to listen.

Right now, you guys think I have all the answers. I know that time is going to come to a close pretty quickly here, but in a way, I’m glad. One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me wasn’t their wisdom, but setting the example that adults aren’t static: they keep growing. They keep learning. When they find one way doesn’t work, they get up and try another one. Real maturity is letting go of what doesn’t work and being open to try something else. You’re going to make your own mistakes and find your own answers, and while you’re sorting it out, I am always here to listen.

10. It’s never too late to live a life that makes you proud.

If you don’t learn anything else from me, learn that. We get one shot at this. There’s no age limit on changing your course, and to settle in and be stuck in a life that isn’t authentic is a tragic waste. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best:

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

I love all three of you. Go make brilliant mistakes and fall in love with your life.

Make your voice heard!

Tomorrow there’s a election and as I’m in the UK and some of my friends aren’t, I ought to explain that this time around it’s a European Parliamentary one. Now unfortunately so many people across Europe won’t bother to vote as they think it’s not important. Well it’s more important than they realise, so I’d ask those people to get out and use the wonderful gift of a vote that so many people in the world would lose their lives to try to get! Remember those before us who laid their lives on the line to allow this to happen, two world wars and the millions who died and the loved ones so many people lost. Make sure those sacrifices were not in vain. Whom you vote for is up to you, just use your right to make your voice count.

Just a thought…

It’s an interesting moment. I’m surrounded by people and yet alone. Lots of people saying lots of things but I’m not included. Makes you think how those who are depressed or separated might feel. Not good.