FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THIS WEEK
Not doing simple tasks which take a short amount of time can really annoy other people
Not until you get it yourself (ref another department updating one line on a pdf document on another part of the site owned by them) TBC
I am still a whinger….sometimes
Coming from one of my best friends during what was a fun-filled weekend in Limerick for the lovely LA-based celebrity crimper, this was a bit of an eye-opener. But I have taken it on board and will be observing my every move over the coming weeks to try and cut out the remainder of my old negativity. An essential change.
The Life is wild, the Life is beautiful
Arguably the most fascinating month of my life, total joy all the way, hiccups galore, not sealing the deal, but still meeting and getting to know some of the best people I have met in my life to date. If the next 11 months of this year are even half as good, half as much fun and full of even a quarter of a similar level of joie de vivre, this is gonna be one helluva year. The key now is to make the magic happen consistently! That means learning from all the multitude of lessons so far this year and pushing in hard in every way and that means this blog is about to get more factual and less personal…
We all come down to earth with a bump eventually
…however the last two days of that month were full of anything but happiness….a dull day in Limerick after a great weekend, an alcohol-related comedown, dishwasher spectacularly leaking and packing in, no desire to hit the gym, a job interview I was almost too ill to attend but which went quite well in the end….just goes to show you can’t have it all eh….there is a lot of hard work ahead…. But what a testimony to just how amazing January 2012 was that these relatively small incidents were the greatest negatives of the year to date.
When a bad day is a good day
Sunday, yesterday, was not a good day. I had another hangover, an argument with my friend on his birthday, cocked up dinner arrangements and argued with my date that evening, plus it was freezing cold. My date said that this did not make it a bad day by any stretch of the imagination. And I realised that if this was a “bad” day, then I am very privileged indeed as few others would consider it as such. How life has changed since early September when most days were bad days and a good day was when I didn’t feel depressed….
FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THIS WEEK
Dealing with the aftermath
I really did not think I would be able to deal with letting one of best friends go from my life. I wondered if I would change my mind or fudge the issues. Well I was in for a surprise. We met on Wednesday lunchtime and after a long conversation lasting an hour which involved smiles and jokes among more serious fare, I finally managed get the message across. And then
After Friday afternoon, there had been several long facebook conversations over the weekend when he was full of disbelief that I had finally called his bluff. I have and it is final. I may have made the wrong decision in one way but overall I got it right. Now that I have told a lot of friends about it, including our mutual best Brazilian friends (who also saved me), there are no comebacks!
After many fascinating conversations with a friend at my current role, the consensus has been that I am her oracle!
On Friday night it was my turn to get some Oracular Spectacular (link/youtube vid) when my old Mongolian friend Ochi came over for dinner with his girlfriend Basaa. I made them a degustation: sausage penne with onion, courgette , thyme, chilli and cream sauce. We met a decade ago when I was teaching English in the Mongolian capital Ulaan Baatar and Ochi is now over here for 18 months studying in Manchester. We have now come full circle as Ochi and Basaa last came for dinner when he arrived in September when I started to change my life. I Think HE Is MY Oracle !!! More on this in the future
How to judge a person’s character properly, right first time
The past week’s events would suggest I am getting rather good at judging character. First there was meeting someone amazing who my hunch about turned out to be correct and who then only went and proved nearly every single thing I had worked out about someone else to be right on the money. And then there was a multitude of fascination occurences in Ireland to contend with, meeting new people, catching up with old and observing their characters. It was seeing both the bad and good sides of people in my life which helped me realise the most important thing is picking up on the nuances, taking a backseat, a little analysis. Here lies the key to judgiung character effectively.
Cushy Job Syndrome
Last year was the same though as this year…leaving cushy job early doors for a big challenge. Getting the boot after a month and from the kind of role I had always wanted so that by early April I was in dire trouble….I dearly hope the mistakes, the pattern, won’t be repeated and to be honest things are going just a bit too well…but then again that is karma and unlike last year, when they motored along for three months before spectacularly crashing and burning, this period of feelgood begun in September and 4.5 months plus later is showing no sign of abating! Game on!
The realisation that it is YOUR time!
I have a seriously good number of amazing new people in my life right now, and our best times as friends lie ahead as I am getting to know them. They may read this and smile and it’s all good if they do. You can probably guess if you are included here as most of you I have met over the past year or two and we are still getting to know each other. So this, existing friends, job interviews lined up, gym going well, climbing in the pipeline, FwBs, potential dates, a wicked weekend away, with many more to look forward to…it all adds up to the realisation that at last it quite probably is your time, that finally things are going right for you and providing you work hard they will keep on going right as this time your good luck is here to stay….
FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THIS WEEK
The bigger and/or the elder must make the move
Quite frankly here is yet another no-brainer. I often go for people a few years younger than me when I look for potential partners and thus I am frequently the “big” older guy so unsurprisingly I am often expected, it would seem, to make the defining move.
Last autumn however I did not follow this otherwise rather sensible rule. I had my chances and did not really take them, either fudging the issue or merely hoping that those I desired would come after me. And so what did I get come 31 December? A big fat nothing. With this in mind I resolved to be more forward, to grab the bull by its proverbial horns and thus ensure it would not be me who would miss out in future. So far this year the statistics are good, manifesting themselves in numbers, with the all-time classic friends with benefits being a particularly successful policy!
And I’ll leave you on this point with one thought. After last autumn’s lengthy near-pursuit (mentioned in a previous post): having thought about the whole situation it is entirely possible, that the boy (the guy I so wanted last autumn and the subject of several blog posts so far) may not even be aware that I am actually interested in that way as the pursuit has been along friendly lines. Indeed he may have just assumed that I am a friendly (which I am) person who likes him and wants to get to know him because we have things in common. It is just as well I woke up and realised that it needs to be me who has to make the move. Game on I say!
What are your experiences like?
Where have your long lost friends Killer Instinct and Ruth Lessness been all these years?
I think it is time to (re?)develop the killer instinct as it appears not to have been there in the first place….The killer instinct is a vital cog in anyone’s armoury however it appears to have gone missing from mine, indeed AWOL would be a more appropriate phrase.
To succeed this year and beyond it is going to be need to be at the forefront of everything I do and I think the realisation, nay emancipation, of this aspect on Wednesday last week is gonna be so important. This was an exceptionally timely reminder of what is needed to rise up and above the challenges ahead and exceed the targets which I have set.
The killer instinct can be applied to any number of situations. Since my own personal glasnost last September that there have been a multitude of situations where I have been found lacking. In dating alone this included sealing the deal, a lengthy date pursuit, not grabbing the opportunities when they came, club situations together with failing to take advantage of events as they occurred in real time. Even on NYE/NYD my killer instinct was half asleep. And how about those five job interviews in the first week of my new role. In being too half-hearted and almost prioritising a temp role over the kind of jobs I had spent my entire working life working towards, the kind of roles I had always wanted, a vital facet of my own personal holy grail, I set myself up to lose. Add to this being stronger when dealing with the workmen who left my flat in a pigsty and dragged the work out, leaving parts unfinished, allied to a failure to force through the kind of rental income I wanted, and a clear picture is emerging.
Ruth Lessness too did not show her hand when I most needed her last autumn and she will be much in demand in the times ahead. However on Friday they both came out to party together, joining me as I made quite possibly the most ruthless decision I have made in all my 33 years, that to end a six year friendship and companionship of one of my closest friends. On Wednesday we had had a disagreement which caused him to terminate our Skype conversation in a rage, saying he did not want to see me again. He had done this before many times. I was not impressed. Fast forward to Friday. I had five friends booked to visit me that weekend, all Brazilians, including this particular friend. Two sadly could not make it for family reasons, however by Friday evening it did not matter. Another negative message from him and this time I decided enough was enough. I did it his way. By text. Our six year friendship over, just like that. After years of him continually threatening to remove me from his life I had called his bluff. I thought I would feel sad, remorseful even, but there was nothing, only a cold cold heart that seemed to finally have learnt how to deal with tough situations.
In hindsight I had little choice in the face of continued hypocrisy, lies, continued unwarranted criticism of yours truly and his failure to make the most of opportunities which I had created at great personal cost to help him move out of the situation he had created. In short Friday was the start of some long overdue pre-spring branch pruning time. And Friday 20 January will always go down in my life as the day I finally learnt to get ruthless. No emotion. No regrets. No comebacks. If you know me you are gonna have a hard time equating this post with the Paolo you love, but rest assured it is for the best and after 33 years it is high time.
Let’s be honest. I don’t hate the guy. I have changed and he is not able to. Three times he had promised to make a particularly big change in his life and three times he did not even try. This together with his hypocrisy made me realise the time had come to move on. Ruth Lessness was now my friend again.
You are amazing. Don’t let any anally-retentive recruitment consultants or pompous HR Department (link to Art Department facebook page for irony) tell you otherwise. Our day out was one of the most fun days I have ever had and with a random person to boot and our shared connection one of the most surprising, not to mention intriguing, of my life. Small world! I have to go back to Sydney in 2001 for an experience of similar magnitude, now that’s showing my age 😉
Hurry up and get a job and come back to London dude. The Olympic Summer will be so much more fun with you!
Business is Business
So to finance. No this post is not about the economy, but that commodity which makes our world and our economy move forward in a positive direction. Let’s call it business. I have not been too good at business…so far. Multitude of past failures aside, including 2007’s share dealing debacle, the most recent example is not clarifying the rent agreement on my flat.
Whenever you rent a property or a room out you need to treat any agreement as business and business only. A good personal example is not being more forceful with my flatmate when increasing the rent, indeed not contracting him at a set amount for a given period. I will spare the details save this: I explained when he moved in the rent would stay at the amount we had agreed until the flat renovation works were complete. When we finally renegotiated instead of making it clear that the rent would go up to my desired amount, end of story, I let him get away with less, argh!
Well next flat I buy and do up the rent will remain at this level and then will go up after the renovations are complete. I do not want to be mean to my friend but business is business. I am learning.
FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THIS WEEK
w/e 15 January 2012
Seal the deal
“He who dares wins”- David Stirling
When it comes to getting to know someone you like, this is the nost important part of the process, if that’s what we must call it! You need to nail them down for a drink before you a) Start to think and b) Start to fall for them. This pre-emptive strike policy gives you the added advantage of gaining a monopoly on their attentions quite possibly before anyone else – crucial as competitions are not ideal!
This is extremely important as it applies equally to potential friends and partners – follow-up is so important. It needs to be done fast, while the warm glow created by the shared enjoyment is still there, still inside you, still fresh in your mind. Those moments in the days after you meet someone you get on really well with can often be the most exciting days of your life, periods when all the usual little worries go out the window and are replaced by a strong sense of optimism.
Quite frankly it is easy to want to meet up with someone or a group to get to know them better and yet often quite hard to implement in practice, particularly when you meet them at a party and in the cold clear light of day the doubts kick in. Like “yes I got on really well but what are they like in normal quiet, downtime?”. So that is why you have to be courageous, trust your convictions, seize the moment, as you may not get another chance and even if you do, the special moment may have passed…
Bite that tongue!
After all that has been said, I still cannot resist the temptation to do that risky pisstake or make “enquiries”. I should, could, would have had all the good friends I ever wanted a long long time ago if I had been more careful with what I say. I have lost so many friends in the past through negativity and while that is no longer a part of my life, I still come up with stupid, crass comments and dig into issues, both of which so often backfire! This is pretty much the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn and yet after several attempts to change I still haven’t learnt it. It’s 2012 now, so the question is when this year will I finally seal this deal?! Looking at the evidence from the past week, the signs are that I have learnt my lesson, as there was only the odd slip-up or two but one or two slip ups with something so important is one too many! I welcome comments from you guys on this one as I think we’ve all got a lot of tales to tell on this front…
Don’t think too deeply…
… about anything to do with the people in your life. Any circumstance, any situation. This is going to lead to that killer of all passion, over-analysis. The events of the last four months have taught me so much about just how important this concept is, beyond doubt.
It is fine to analyse things, indeed it is often essential to use your brain’s inbuilt computer to feed some facts in and process them in order to make sense of a given situation. But what you don’t want to do, and indeed should never do, is delve into every little facet of evidence in your quest for an explanation. This will, from bitter personal experience, make you far more nervous about whatever it is that you are thinking about. Since last September this is what I have been doing far too often and it has cost me friends and may well also have cost me a relationship with a guy I really liked, someone who I get on with like a house on fire and whom with I share many things. By thinking too deeply and analysing even the smallest piece of information I formed a picture about the person – or should that be their persona. This picture fitted what I felt was what I wanted, but in hindsight, to some degree at least, I was just making the facts fit the jigsaw puzzle. This had the effect of making me nervous, which then made it so much harder to relax and communicate and thereafter any missed or unreturned call had a negative effect. So I had to learn the hard way…if this guy was to be collateral then I had to lose him to find myself and so it has proved….and now I am so much freer in this way, the clarity of thought I have unparalleled in my life, close to being truly free at last after 33 long years!
9.5 is the danger decimal – or is it 3.5?
After the events so far this year, we have now gone half way through the first month of 2012 and the cupboard is looking rather bare when it comes to potential suitors who are available and fitting the increasingly – ahem – rigid criteria. We are now less than two weeks away from what will be nine and a half years since I was last in a relationship. The date of this most unwanted anniversary is 31 July 2012, ten years on from that unforgettable evening when a tearful 24 year old me left Amboy crying in Sydney Airport’s departure lounge as I exited Australia for what would prove to be the last time after my two year travel trip. Serial dating polygamists look away now! Given that it often takes three months of dating someone before you can commit that means I have until the end of April before the relationship equivalent of a car’s fuel dial red light appears. So three and a half months to find someone who not only ticks most of the boxes, acts like the boy they are, likes travelling but who also can put up with me! Much improved I may be, but still…that is one tough ask. Well at least you can read all about it here and cheer yourselves up with a laugh at my expense and I mind not one jot! 🙂
Straight-acting? Gay acting?
A brief and rather random conversation yesterday has stuck in my head and shows no sign of abating. While walking down the street to a friend’s house after escaping the cesspit of trash masquerading as a nightclub that is Beyond in Vauxhall, I remarked to a friend I was with how “straight acting” the lads we were walking with were, particularly in the way they walk. Fired back at me was the line “But he’s not straight acting, look at him”, and yet I could barely see anything camp in the slightest. It made me think about the whole concept of straight-acting. What is the point behind it, why do we need to label people in this way, shouldn’t a boy just be a boy, and thus it is that gay people surely must get over themselves…. Well for the rest of the year and beyond I am gonna try not to use it. I think its use has run its course… Your view?
FIVE THINGS I’VE LEARNT THIS WEEK
w/e 8 January 2012
Playing it cool = playing it safe
People in general are social beings and yet when confronted with the kind of opportunities they crave, be it meeting new people who we like, opportunities to better ourselves or simply projecting the right attitude to others, we often get the whole rigmarole of any given social situation wrong. Thus this weekend after some soul-searching, it dawned upon me that I personally have developed a new trait which I don’t like now, albeit one which I would have loved to have developed when I was the uncool, almost geekily sad, kid in school, namely that I have come to play it cool too much.
Playing it cool is equal to playing it safe in many ways. This could rarely be better illustrated than on New Year’s Day when someone who I get on really well with, who if I had dared to dream would be the one person I would want to see on the first day of the year, rocked up my friend’s club night and instead of sealing the deal either which way, I was merely cool and friendly. Direct questions rather than a good attitude are often necessary essential to get what you want out of life, particularly where people are concerned.
By way of illustration, try listening to the refrain line from Embrace’s sublime 1998 masterpiece Fireworks: “I thought I found my place, Before I knew how much it cost to play it safe” and you will understand:
I saw Embrace live at Glastonbury 98, my first. If you have never been, I would heartily recommend you consider going next year (there’s no Glasto this year. as they take a break every five years). The guys I was out with last night are my Glasto crew, they are among the most “adult” of all the people I know and we are almost all over 30, but still know how to get ruined in the most time-honoured fashion, camping out in a muddy field under the stars!
The ups and downs will always be there no matter how positive you are, it is how you use the highs to manage the lows that counts
Last autumn I let go of the past and freed myself from the cloak of all my previous failings. In this remarkable period I changed my attitude from “maybe / soon / I’m not sure / I can’t / I’m depressed” to a potentially life-defining one of “definitely / this week / I am sure / I can / I am happy”. From early September until the end of the year I had only five periods when I did not feel positive and all but one of them lasted less then fifteen minutes. That is an astonishing statistic but is quite honestly true.
And this to a backdrop of hard partying almost every Saturday night and all day Sunday, usually the ideal breeding ground for the buzzing mosquito of depression with her infectious midweek disease comedown. Maybe 12 out of 14 weekends this continued. The preceding summer I had not partied much due to the state of my mind, health and life and each time I had, the “blues” had manifested themselves violently in the days and weeks after.
You need to free yourself from constraints to fly, you Bird of the Sun
“Come fly with me, bird of the sun…” Wilbur Smith, The Sunbird
Two emails I sent to my work colleague this week sum this up perfectly. More on this subject again soon.
“F*ck your conscience. New year, new you. You just need to look after your health – emotional, physical and sexual. Throw those goddamn inhibitions out of the window and see yourself soar. You can see what my own inhibitions are doing to me – the effect aint pretty right?! Get rid of them and the world is your oyster in every way. Constraints affect us and need to be eliminated from our lives as much as possible!”
“You and I share one major trait in common at present. We are both trapped in some aspects of our past and trying to move on and escape from that cage to make a better future. We can talk about this on the way to the pub but we’ve both got hard work to do, serious changes in thinking, attitude and approach if we are to see our dreams become reality and fulfil our potential and arrive at that holy grail of what I like to call destiny….
Don’t over-analyse a situation
You will often come across the kind of situations where you will go away thinking what you could or should have done better to deliver the result you anted. Even sometimes when the result is a positive one you might muse over what you could have done better. But while it is good to look back at key situations and work out what you could or should have done better so as to get it right next time a similar situation occurs, you really don’t want to get stuck into over-thinking.
As my friend Munroe Bergdorf once said, memorably so:
“Snap out of it and make yourself a cup of tea, have a wank, shower and pick yourself up coz no one else will”
It may be stating the bleeding obvious but this is particularly relevant insofaras relationships are concerned. My friend and I had a conversation yesterday, the gist of which was essentially that we are both over-analysing things and thinking too much about wanting to be in a relationship. She opined that it will happen as soon as you let go. The only difference was that I was never actually wanting a relationship at all….until last week when for the first time I started to feel lonely, like maybe I had reached a nadir in my life, that the time had come to find someone to share it with. This point was particularly important for me to have to take in as it was the catalyst for me to snap out of what had become excessive analysis of each situation and crack on with the important things; getting to know the new people in my life, seeing existing friends, making plans for what is such an important year, cracking on with the creative stuff like this blog….
There is even a Facebook page about this:
You can spend, minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened – or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.
Post-glasnost (as described in The ups and downs will always be there no matter how positive you are, it is how you use the highs to manage the lows that counts), I took the open-minded view of just meeting new people and seeing where that takes us and the above lesson this week has thankfully taken me back to this way of thinking, one which is far more likely to bring positive results…you just cannot force these things, they really do just happen!
Last but not least, there something I re-learnt this week, having forgotten it….
The button in the middle of the CD case is there to release the CD
This is massively embarrassing to say the least – at 33 I have to relearn how to remove a CD from its case, and yet they’ve been around almost as long as I have, since 1982 in fact. Say no more!
That sad, it is great to work so many diverse things out so early in the year: I am learning new things all the time at the moment and as a result this feels like an such amazing time of life!