Thirty-Five and Counting

So, here I am again. Another year older and wiser. By the time this auto-posts, I should be hungover and getting myself ready for round two of my celebratory birthday drinking sessions.

There seems to be this fear people hold in reserve when it comes to growing older. They fear the aging process because age has drastic affects on physical appearance. With age comes greater responsibility in the main, depending on one’s circumstances of course. There’s perhaps that facing up to mortality that comes with it too. I suppose, from a subjective viewpoint, getting older is quite scary.

Personally, I don’t fear the passage of time. I don’t see the point in stressing out over the inevitable, which is somewhat strange for me given as a lot of my anxiety is due to my inability to control the uncontrollable. For some reason, when it comes to my age, I bear little concern. Oh, for sure, I’d love to make a return to the halcyon days of my late teens and early twenties when I had an abundance of mates, I was sexually prolific, my weekends would last half the week (on a slow week), and I could turn up to work hungover having had no sleep and it not bother me at all. There were massive perks to being a young buck. The thing is that wishing for a return to those days won’t bring them back, so what’s the point? I might as well accept that they’re done and crack on.

I didn’t post anything for my thirty-fourth birthday as I was on a blog break at that point, so I don’t have a written focal point to base any kind of yearly assessment on. It has been a pretty full year for a number of reasons though. I’ve been adjusting to being a single man estranged from my son, which hasn’t been a serious issue due to the fact his mum has allowed me to have him every weekend and even see him many times through the week at her house too. Compared to many ex couples out there, I’d say we share a very good relationship. I’m grateful for that. I won’t say we haven’t had our arguments, but we ultimately always focus on the most important thing. We must be doing something right as Caellum dotes on us both in equal measure.

One major thing was being forced to accept, after years of stubborn denial, that I suffer from mental health issues. For so long I’d convinced myself that things like depression and anxiety were more or less fabrications that we convince ourselves of, that denial of their existence meant you didn’t have them essentially. It was ignorant of me to have ever possessed that mindset and I’m glad to have rid myself of it. I accepted I had a problem and went to seek help.

Since then, I’ve been on antidepressants—Citalopram initially, followed by Duloxetine—and have had a course of cognitive behavioural therapy. As much as I liked the therapist, Steve, I don’t feel CBT helped at all.

I also took the proactive step of taking a level two course in understanding mental health problems, which definitely helped me make a little more technical sense of things and has stoked my desire to learn more. I still covet pushing my learning further, psychology the primary aim. Sadly, the struggles with depression and anxiety resume and both continue to have a massive impact on my daily life.

Onto more positive notes: since the breakup of my relationship I’ve been eating much better. I’ve cut down on sugary, starchy snacks and included a lot more fruit and vegetables in my diet. I’ve also taken to drinking plenty of water during the course of the day. The result is that I’m now almost two stones (twenty-eight lbs) lighter than I was this time a year ago. I had been incorporating exercise initially, but… *murmurs indecipherably about lack of time and other such bollocks*

Moving on, I finally reached a conclusion with my novel, The Escapades of William Hart: Seas of Vengeance, that I was happy enough with to submit to agents and publishers. I duly did so. It was the first time I’d ever tried to submit my work and I’m pleased with myself for having finally overcome that hurdle. My submissions yielded no success and this did deflate me somewhat, despite having told myself numerous times this would likely be the case, but I’ve remained stoic in that I’ve continued to write, having steadily posted twice weekly here on my blog, and kept my hand in with longer fiction, such as A Survivor’s Apocalypse Story and others that I shan’t divulge the details of at this stage. I find having multiple projects to work on at once is the best way for me to work.

To supplement that last paragraph, if you read my latest edition of Living the Dream, you’ll know that I’ve pulled Vengeance back into the editing room and have started work in earnest on rewriting a large part of the story. This was an unwittingly wise move on my part. In recent months I’ve felt as though my writing was akin to flogging the proverbial dead horse. Regular readers of my blog, the support base I really relied on, have gone AWOL and I’ve had serious difficulty in pulling in new ones. It had me questioning whether I wanted to continue blogging, even contemplating dropping the writing dream altogether in my darkest, loneliest moments. My crippling self-doubt means I’m simply unable to ignore the desertion of these readers and plough on regardless as people have suggested. The decision to perform this rewrite could have saved the day.

If I could offer a quick message to those deserters: Some of you haven’t been posting on your blogs, so I’ll assume something has side-tracked you. Others of you are still active as evidenced by the email alerts I receive when you post. I don’t know what I did wrong or what happened in your life that meant you had to go away. All I can say is that I hope you’ll return because you mean a lot to me.

Going forwards, I have no plans to put the blog aside as I seem to be coping with the rewrite of Vengeance and creating material for The Adventures of an Average, White Man. That may change if I feel I’m overburdening myself at any point; however, for now, it’s so far so good. There are big life-altering plans afoot aside from my writing too. These I’ll share as they happen. A pretty big thing is Caellum starting school in September; my little protégé is growing up. I didn’t sign up for this!

Thirty-five years! It’s not even the blink of an eye in a cosmic sense. This earth has been orbiting the sun for about four billion years, which is less than a third of the age of the universe itself. To say that thirty-five years is nothing would be an understatement. Bring it down to a human level, however, and thirty-five years becomes a very long time, irrespective of how quickly it appears to have passed. A lot has gone on; I’ve lived a lot of life. I have a lot more of it to live. I might as well start as I mean to go on…

5 thoughts on “Thirty-Five and Counting

  1. Happy birthday my friend! I celebrated the big 3-5 a few months ago, and like you, growing older doesn’t hold that fear for me. The biggest thing I fear in getting older is when I’m in my 60’s and hoping my body won’t succumb to the myriad of issues that plague then. Appearance wise, not much worry, but pain, that’s something I wish to stay away from. P.S. I’m not going anywhere. 🙂

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  2. All the best Paul. I hope you had a great day. Sounds like you’ve had a tough year and I hope things improve for you. I’ll be going nowhere. I’m very entertained by your posts. You’re a talented man. I mean that very sincerely.

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  3. Happy birthday, sounds like your year overall has been better than the few previous years. I’m still reading, I’d just like to say. I think you know why I personally have held back on interaction in the blogosphere. But I’m still lurking and reading when I have the time to do so…

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  4. Happy birthday!
    I feel that this past year I’ve watched a warrior emerge from within you, and it’s been an honor to follow you. Your work is always something I look forward to, and it’s continually blowing my mind.
    I find you to be an inspiration- you’ve had some tough situations, but you always get back up and look for what it can teach you. That’s a rare and wonderful outlook to have and I’m honored to call you friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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