Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Out with the old and in with the new

Now we have got Christmas out of the way I am making preparations for the most serious celebration and one of my favourite times of the year. Yes, it's New Year.

After some extensive research (well talking to various friends over drinks), it appears that I am alone in my love of New Year. The general consensus seems to be that it's over-rated and expensive, whereas for me it is something to be celebrated.

It's not that I particularly love New Years Eve (although I adore any excuse to get together with friends, drink one too many glasses of wine and kiss inappropriate men). No, what I love is the hope that New Years Eve brings. Being an eternal optimist new year fills me with excitement, even writing this I am getting butterflies about what 2011 might hold for me.

The joy for me with new year is that it feels like a fresh start. It's a great time to wipe the slate clean and start all over again. With a new year comes hope and optimism, all the crap from the previous year can be put to one side and a whole new adventure can begin. I also relish the prospect of the unknown.

Will 2011 be the year that I finally stick to a diet, go to the gym 5 days a week, manage to get some savings in the bank? Will it be the year that I meet the man of my dreams, could it be the year that footballers learn to keep it in their pants, and people realise Cheryl Cole's new hairstyle isn't actual news? Who knows?, but that's the brilliant thing about being on the brink of a new year the feeling that anything could happen.

I also love the fact that for about a week we live in a world full of good intentions. A typical conversation from the 1st till 7th January “Happy new year, have you made any resolutions?” “Yes I'm going to give up my job and do missionary work in Africa, funded by selling my shoe collection and the money saved from giving up smoking.” By the 31st January “How's the Africa planning going?” “Oh I gave up on that I realised I loved my shoes and fags too much and that nobody likes a quitter, so decided not to give anything up.”

There were loads of surprises for me in 2010, many of which I never saw coming but all worked out for the best in the end. I met some lovely people, made some new friends for life, had some great dates, learnt who my true friends are, discovered that I am a lot tougher and resilient than I ever realised. Gained more confidence and self belief in myself, stopped suffering fools, did some voluntary work which I loved, discovered a passion for blogging, started building a few bridges and cut a few ties, plus much more. Now if all that can happen in just 12 months it's impossible for me not to be excited about 2011.

New year is also a great time to say everything you wanted to say, so that the year starts on a good note. So, before the clock strikes midnight don't worry too much about the resolutions but see it as a time to make any apologies that need to be made, clear the air and tell people you love them (yes I know these will all be drunken calls and text, but it's the thought that counts).

As Big Ben chimes let's all raise a glass and make just one resolution; to make 2011 our happiest, healthiest and most successful year to date. I'll drink to that.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

My Instructions For Life

In my flat I have a book called Life’s Little Instruction Book, which the author wrote for his son before he went to university. It is full of things you should do to make your life better, easier and happier. Whilst flicking through it the other day I got to thinking about what my instructions for life would be, so here they are, in no order of preference.

1. When it comes to romance if you like each other always give it a go. Don’t worry what other people think, don’t think about where it will lead and whether you’ll end up married with 2.4 children, don’t be worried by the superficial (are they hot enough, funny enough, clever enough etc). If you get on, fancy each other and enjoy spending time together, sod everybody else and go with the flow and see what happens. Who knows it could be the start of something beautiful and if not you’ll hopefully have fun and maybe they’ll have fit mates.

2. Nobody cares when you’re ill. Unless you are seriously ill nobody really gives a toss that you have a cold. When people ask how you are they don’t want a run down of all your symptoms and most of all if you’re that ill don’t be a martyr and turn up at work as nobody wants to hear it and most of all nobody wants to catch it.

3. A quick drink is rarely a quick drink. When invited for a ‘quick drink’ you should always be aware that this will more than likely result in a minimum of two drinks. It could ultimately end up as a night of carnage involving drinking, clubbing, kissing of inappropriate people, curry and maybe throwing up. The one thing it will rarely be is a ‘quick drink’

4. If you think you’re going to get screwed over, you probably are. As the saying goes ‘if it seems too good to be true it probably is.’ For example if a Nigerian Prince emails you asking for your bank details so he can deposit half a million pounds in there for safe keeping, chances are you’re going to end up stony broke, that is unless, you know a Nigerian Prince. Ok that’s pretty obvious, but you get the gist.

5. The only way to lose weight is too eat less and do more. I’m not really sure why so many people don’t understand this one. You can try all the miracle diets in the world but the sad truth is as much as most of us would love thinner thighs just by eating chocolate and sitting down, it ain’t gonna happen. I am not a great follower of eating less and doing more, but at least I know that’s what I need to do when I can be bothered to try and lose weight.

6. Only lend what you can afford to lose. My dad hasn’t given me much advice in life, but he did tell me this and boy was he right. Whether it’s money, clothes, your car, whatever if you can’t afford to lose it don’t lend it to anybody, because you don’t always get back what you lend to people, fact.

7. What you want and what you need are often two different things. I have a few examples of this I want enough spare money to buy a pair of Jimmy Choos, if/when I acquire the money what I need to do is pay a plumber to come in and sort out my bathroom. Example two, I want a man just like Jude Law, what I need is a man who will balance me a bit and not sleep with randoms behind my back (this unfortunately is not going to come in the form of Jude Law)

8. Know who your friends are. This one is important, but unfortunately it can take something bad to happen before you find out who they are. When the shit hits the fan (lose your job, somebody dies, big break up) take a look around and see who’s there helping you sort through the carnage and who scurries off into the background only to return when the mess is cleared up. Trust me most people will find acquaintances a plenty, but you can count your true (I mean the ones you can call at 3am on a Sunday morning) on one hand.

9. Give second chances, but not a third, fourth and fifth. Whether it’s a relationship or a friendship, always give people a second chance. We all mess up from time to time, we all say things we don’t mean and we all occasionally behave in ways we’re not proud of, so ultimately we all sometimes need a second chance. If somebody is brave enough to apologise and admit they were wrong, what’s not to forgive (well other than violence). The second chance could be the start of something great and a chance to clear the air. If things don’t change, don’t give a third chance, nobody respects a mug.

10. Tell the people you care about you love them. For me this is the most important one, as people don’t say it enough. There’s nothing worse than realising that somebody you cared about didn’t know it either because they have died or you have just lost touch. Even if the love isn’t returned nobody ever minds been told they’re loved (well unless it’s by a stalker type). So go out there people and spread the love.

So there you have it my instructions for life. What are yours?