There’s something about a sunny day that makes me reflective and a little melancholic. I could say the same about rainy days, or snowy days, or most days, but sunny days tend to have that effect more so. I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a sunny day, because I’m normally worrying about sunburn, or wondering why I’m not making more of an effort to enjoy myself because of the weather. Sunny days make me a little bit sad I guess. They remind me of being ten and playing football in the park, and they remind me now that I haven’t played football since high school. I remember that it was a sunny day when I started this blog, twenty-two months ago, because I’d been reading a book and questioning why I wasn’t doing it outside. I’d just finished two years of college, and was at a loss, having deferred my entry to University by a year because I wasn’t sure if that was the road I wanted to go down.
In retrospect, they were the longest twelve months of my life, and I tried to think of some reason to justify them yesterday. I decided by November 2013 that University was where I should be, and I spent the rest of the year waiting, not doing a whole lot with it but lose a bunch of weight and volunteer in a charity shop for twenty hours a week and not get paid for it, between writing reviews on this site. For a guy with a year off, I remember that day in June being a weird one, one in which I already felt lost at home in Blackburn, with my parents at work, my friends preparing for Uni, my brother at school, and myself, knowing that things would be that way for a while yet. I guess I was lonely at the start of that Summer, and after finishing college I felt like I’d stalled, that I’d just given up for a year because it was easier and safer to be alone at home instead of carrying on elsewhere. I thought about all of this, sat in a field in Chichester, looking back in order to see just how much I’ve moved forwards.
Come September the people I knew from college had gone, and suddenly I didn’t have many friends where I wanted them to be. My girlfriend at the time moved down south for University, and for several months before we eventually split I was seeing her once every few weeks, which wasn’t ideal, and I worried alot about where she was and what she was doing. This was partly because I was often doing nothing myself. They were a long twelve months, like I said, and the first few were the worst. My self-confidence dropped even further, and motivating myself to do anything was difficult. It didn’t help that I’d had lofty plans of teaching English to young monks in China, or going travelling, but these were never really more than ideas, and when people ask what I did with my gap year I normally say ‘not a whole lot’, or lie. I hated myself for not seeing any of these ideas through, and I wish I’d made that year feel like less like a stop-gap between college and Uni – less like an filler track and more like something worth writing home about, Muse’s Stockholm Syndrome instead of their Interlude. I was a coward really, and that isn’t hard to admit knowing its true. I felt out of sync with things, constantly jaded, and once I’d got used to that fact things were a little easier, and I started looking forward to September instead of being disappointed in myself that I had to wait at all. I know that seems silly now giving where I ended up, and after writing this I’d prefer to forget that year all together. Home felt like half a home, and that feeling never really went away during that year.
I bought sad records and made it worse. I reviewed sad records and made it a little bit better. I got into The Smiths twenty years late and listened to little but Cemetery Gates before midday, most days, because that song made me happier than most things did. Asleep had the opposite effect, and the main thing I learnt that year was that Morrissey and co. have a song for however I’m feeling, which is a good thing to learn to be fair. Anyway, looking back I guess this blog was a distraction just as much as it was a hobby, and its more so the latter now. I never had any real aspirations for it, a milestone I wanted to hit, I just wrote because it felt like being in education again, like I was doing something positive with my time instead of watching it slip by. There was something familiar, albeit weird, about setting myself deadlines and making to-do lists, listening to music as I walked home from town and thinking about things to say about songs instead of letting my mind wander to darker ground. The fact that I use this site less now isn’t really because I have Uni commitments, or places to be, it’s just that I don’t need this as much as I think as I used to. It was enough to have something like this at all.
So how am I now? I’m alright; if I was to review my life right now (in fitting with blog consistency), I’d go for a 7.5/10, which is the same rating I gave to Being As An Ocean’s How We Both Wondrously Perish coincidentally. I think that’s a pretty solid record and rating, although I tend to rate too highly. I put the full deposit down on a house in Chichester yesterday with five friends I’m looking forward to living with. I’ve almost finished my first year at University, and haven’t found it too difficult, but very interesting. I have a job working thirty hours or so a week as an online shopper at Sainsbury’s, which isn’t a bad gig, and I get to listen to music for half of my shift before the store opens, which is a bonus. I suppose I should use that time to listen to music I want to review, and maybe I will over Summer, when things here slow down. I spent some of my first wage on some headphones which allow me to appreciate music more than I ever have before. I’ve started reading very regularly again; at the moment I’m half way through Albert Huxley’s Brave New World, and I’d forgotten how much enjoyment I took from reading until I started Uni. John Williams’ Stoner is next, and I’m looking forward to it. I have people around most days that I like spending time with, and that was never the case during that year at home. I volunteer five hours a week at a British Heart Foundation where I feel valued, which I didn’t in Blackburn, and in general, I’m very content with how things are right now. I haven’t been home since January, and haven’t minded, and I’m also looking at taking a semester abroad in France next year, and I’d say that’s an improvement on the guy who wasn’t even sure about moving to Sussex from Lancashire a few years back. I gave in the paper work for it yesterday, and I’m optimistic that it’ll be accepted.
Granted, I think there’s still something missing, and I know I’m not quite who I want to be yet, but I’m where I want to be, and I’m working on the rest. Hopefully it’ll all fall into place. I think I’ve grown in the last twenty-two months, more than I expected to, and when I think about it I don’t know why I had to be so worried about the future, or where I spent it. I’m pretty sure that I wasted twelve months of my life and all I have to show for it is 38,000 hits on a music blog, one hell of a Borderlands 2 save and clothes that are too big now, but at the moment I’m okay with that. Maybe even sunny days aren’t quite so bad anymore. Maybe this year I’ll tan.
I don’t know why I felt the need to write this, or even less why I felt like I should post it on here. Maybe someone reading this would like to know that someone else somewhere is doing okay again instead of stagnating, and if they do, then I salute that person. Maybe nobody will read this and I could’ve just saved it on my laptop and then revisited it in twenty-two months for some sort of comparison, when I’m 23 and have finished Uni. Maybe someone reading reviews of sad songs, and is sad themselves will find some reassurance that they probably won’t always feel as bummed out as they do right now. I’d go with the second option nine times out of ten, and that’s fine. Sometimes I just have to write something down and then do something with it to convince myself that it was worth documenting in the first place. There’s plenty of stuff like that on this site anyway; what’s one more post to add to the pile?