31st Dec, 2017
2017 - Well then.
A lot's happened this year, some good things, some bad things, my life's once again changed completely, sped up and there aren't a great deal of things that are the same since this time last year.
2017 started out in a hotel room with Amy watching Mr. Bean's Holiday. I know.. I was a bit drunk. Celebrating a number of things at the start of a new year, we both had new jobs to start in a couple of days, and life was good.
I started my new job as a programmer at Evolution Funding on the 5th, after having a couple of days off for the new year. The commute was long but boy am I glad I decided to go and work there. I've genuinely never been happier in a job and fingers crossed it stays that way. One year on and I'm still happy, the people I work with are great and the work I'm doing is interesting.
As usual, the start of a new year meant the start of practicing for the midlands area brass band competition. It was another couple of months of hard graft until the contest in march, in which the band played well, but we didn't get the result we were hoping for. Band competitions are one of those things in life where it's down to opinion who played better, and we were all happy with how we played, so I guess there's always next year. The contests aren't why I'm into banding, it's playing concerts throughout the year with my friends, for people who really enjoy listening to us that makes it all worthwhile. We go again next year.
In February, I finally got to do something I've wanted to do for many years, go to Italy. It was an amazing trip, we went to Rome and saw all the sights, and I got to test out my abilities with the language. I've been learning Italian for over 500 days now using Duolingo, and language learning has become a great passion for me. I hope to return to Italy sometime soon.
In April, I did another thing I've wanted to do for some time. I moved out of my parent's house with Amy. We went to live in a big old 3 bedroom detached house in sawley, right in between mine and Amy's parent's house, on a cosy street. At least something was cosy, because the house certainly wasn't.. Nonetheless, it taught us a lot about living independently, and I like to think I can /just about/ look after myself now. It was definitely a big learning curve, suddenly having to do everything, pay for everything etc. One thing I noticed almost instantly was that my relationship with my parents improved a lot, not that it was bad before, but instead of being there all the time no matter what mood we were in, we see eachother when we want to, meaning we get on a lot better. I think that moving out did me a lot of good, gave me independence and freedom, and made me learn how to look after myself and grow up a bit.
Another good thing about moving out was that I could now finally get my dream pet, a bird. I've been really into parrots for a few years now, and wanted to adopt one for some time. We did some research, bought all the equipement we needed and went to meet our friend Salvo the cockatiel. He's a really cute little parrot, he sings little songs to us every day, enjoys head scratches and loves getting seeds for treats. Someone once said to me that a parrot isn't a pet, it's a companion, and it's true. Birds require a lot of attention to be happy and healthy, and social interaction. Bonding with a parrot takes a long time, and it's a strong bond once you've made it. Cockatiels can live for 20 years or more, so I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time with Salvo over the coming years.
In May my sister got married to her fiancée Matt. It was a lovely wedding, the service went well and the reception was great. Everyone enjoyed themselves and seeing my whole family together was nice.
Having just moved house and not having a great deal of money, we weren't able to go on a summer holiday this year. Having been to Rome earlier on though, this wasn't too big a deal for us, we're saving up to try and buy our own house rather than rent at some point, and I'd rather have that for now than go on a holiday.
I started getting into fitness and keeping fit. The past couple of years I'd put on a fair bit of weight through having money to eat out all the time, and generally not being carefull with my diet. So I joined the gym, and lost 2 stone in a few months. I'm still trying to be active now, and while I haven't been to the gym in a while due to christmas, I'll be picking that back up in the new year, amongst the rush of people for the first two weeks of the year who go for a new years resolution. What happens to all those people?
The end of the year rolled around very quickly after summer came and went. The days started getting shorter, the nights were drawing in slowly, and the temperature started to drop. Our house started to get really cold, and we weren't able to keep it well heated as the big old open chimneys and lack of any proper insulation meant it just leaked all the heat we pumped into it.
Then September rolled around. September wasn't good. There are some things in life that I don't want to talk about on the internet, so I'll just say that these past few months have been a real difficult time for Amy and her family. We're all trying to stay strong and look after one another in the tough times, but sometimes life just throws a real curveball at you and nobody is prepared for it.
In October, we decided to move house again. From our big 3 bedroom detached house to a 2 bedroom end terraced house on the other side of town. We are a lot happier in this place, it's a cosy and most importantly warm house, it's easy to look after, and it's all we need right now. Amy's just got her dream pet, a snake. She's always wanted a snake, and decided to get a Royal Python. It's kinda cute, and lives in our dining room.
And before you know it, the year's done. Christmas rolls around again, I'm out every weekend playing christmas concerts with the band, and by the time Christmas comes around, we're all tired out and ready to just relax.
Christmas day was eventful, I went to lock the front door on my house and heard a clunk, and found out that the lock had broken and we were locked out. After several hours of waiting for a locksmith to come out and get us back in I was ready for a drink. Thank goodness we have such a nice landlord to help us sort all that out. Apart from that event, Christmas was nice. And that really brings us to where we are now, the end of the year.
Leaving this year behind I have a few things on my mind. I'm happy in my job, but in my spare time I want to keep learning more, with the speed at which my industry is moving these days, there's a lot for me to learn, who knows where I'll be in 10 years time. I want to continue advancing my language learning, I want to be able to get to some sort of fluency in the next few years. I really enjoy learning Italian. I also want to continue keeping fit, going to the gym, and I'm considering joining a Taekwondo club I used to go to years ago when I was at school. I've more or less forgotten everything I learned before, but I'm sure I'd be able to pick it back up again. In the new year I'm moving to Tenor Horn in the band, my first move in a couple of years and only the second instrument I've ever played in the band. I'm looking forward to the new challenge.
I want to write more on this website over the next year, although life catches up with me and it never seems to happen, I enjoy writing my thoughts down. Whether anyone reads them or cares is irellevant to me, it's about capturing my thoughts at specific times in my life, so that when I'm older, I'll be able to come back and revisit them. Who knows what will change in the coming years.
So in closing, it's been one of those years. Probably the year with the most changes in my life so far. There are a lot of things I haven't mentioned or gone into detail on in this that have affected me and those around me this year, and it's not been easy, but we keep going, and we have to work with what we've got.
I hope that 2018 will bring with it happiness, personal growth and good experiences. Life's short, and each year that goes by now I find myself typing more words to that sentiment. I'm trying my best to enjoy the time I have on the planet with my friends and family, and learn as much as I can to improve myself and live my life better. I'm glad to have my health, my youth, and I'm trying to make the most of it.
That being said, I'm now going for a curry with my girlfriend, and then I'm going to get pissed. Bye 2017.
~Dreaming Costs Nothing~