31st Dec, 2018
As I've done every year since 2014 I'm sitting down again on New Year's Eve and writing down a journal of the past year. It's important to me to keep a note to look back on from time to time, to remind myself how far I've come, the things I've learned and the experiences I've had over the years.
2018 started out with intense feelings of regret. Amy and I spent New Years Eve 2017 getting drunk at our friend Sharon's house with a bunch of friends. I was drinking some 'Vintage Cider' or something, no idea what it was looking back, but it really messed me up. I spent the next day feeling the worst I've ever felt after drinking, throwing up constantly for the entire day until the evening when I was able to eat something. I have no idea why that happened, and it hasn't happened since, but I definitely regret it. I certainly won't be making that mistake again this year, as I sit here at 10pm writing this, completely sober and at home. I'll be having a drink after this of course.
This year saw a change for me in the brass band. I moved from playing the Cornet, which I've done for about 12 years, to the Tenor Horn, an instrument that I'd never played before, but instantly fell in love with. I have been playing it for a year now, and I haven't looked back. i much prefer it and think that I'm better at it than the Cornet. I'm now playing in the position of Solo Horn at band, and moving to a soloist part has helped me greatly with confidence in myself and my playing ability. I wanted to jump at the chance to be able to try something new, and push myself to stand up in front of people and play, and I'm happy to say it's going great.
As with every year now at band came the Area contest. We practiced for months and there were many late nights in the band room, slaving over the piece, but it paid off as we came 5th, enough to stay in the 3rd section and a good performance from everyone. Couldn't ask for much more.
This year Kettering made the play offs, with hopes to be promoted. We were beaten at Slough, after a long journey down on a weeknight. It was a sad occasion, but you pick yourself up, and currently we're pretty much top of the league, with hopes of achieving promotion this season, so fingers crossed!
In June I went on holiday to Rhodes with Amy and her family. It was nice to get away for a week and kick back after what had seemed like an eternity, our last holiday previous was Rome in February 2017.
After we came back from our holiday, we started looking for a house. We decided it was time to get on the property ladder, and while renting was a good way to start living together, it was always a means to an end, and we were getting fed up with living life on someone else's terms. So we started looking, went to view a bunch of places and then put in an offer for one!
We decided to give up with the renting while waiting for our house purchase to go through, and go and live with our parents for a while to save some cash. We rented a van, loaded up our lives and put it all in storage. Amy took her snakes and went to live with her grandparents, and I took Salvo the cockatiel and went to live with my parents.
As much as it was nice to be home again, getting free meals every day, laundry done for me and having a nice warm clean house to live in for a while, once you've moved out it's hard to get used to living with your parents again. I'm very thankful for them for putting me up and helping me move again though, don't get me wrong.
After a few painful months of solicitors, mortgage arrangements and countless emails back and forth we are now homeowners! We moved to a small village called Selston, in Nottinghamshire. It's a lovely place, and a lot quiter than Long Eaton, which is nice. We love it here, the house is everything we could have ever dreamed of having, and we hope to stay for many years. I certainly can't be bothered to be buying another house any time soon anyway, it was an experience, but I'm glad it's all over, and we can now relax in our home. It's so nice to be the boss of your own house, everything is on our terms now, no more working around other people.
The first thing we did when moving in was decorate the whole place with help from our families. Now it's all finally done, we're back into the swing of living together, and we just hosted Christmas dinner for Amy's family.
This year I took up a new hobby. After a lot of thought about it, I decided to take up the Bass guitar. I've been learning it for a few months, with a dip in practice with all the house move stuff but still making good progress. I've been taking lessons from a tutor in Long Eaton, and I've really been enjoying it. It's nice to learn something completely new to me, I have a headstart in that I already have a sense of music, and can read sheet music already, but playing a string instrument and the Bass clef are two things I've never dealt with.
My love of music has grown a lot this year, with falling in love with two new instruments, but also discovering a lot more music to listen to, broadening my tastes. I've always loved music, but I feel like, just in general, I have gained a deeper understanding of it and passion for it this year.
In late 2017 and throughout this year I made a goal to lose some weight. I started at 16 Stone 3, and through some gym work and sports I got myself down to 13 Stone in about 6 months. I've put some back on now, but I'm still way below what I started at and I am really happy with what I've achieved. I hope to carry on with fitness as it's easier to sort it out while I'm still young and get into a good routine of being healthy before I get too old to keep it up. I must say, lately, with Christmas and before that all the house move stuff, I slacked off. But I hope to start it up again soon!
I've still been learning Italian this year, with my daily streak on Duolingo now on 872. I'm hoping this year that I'll try and immerse myself more in the language, as I've mainly been just practicing daily online, which is great to keep the knowledge in there, but I feel that I need to start speaking to people using it to advance much further. I just need to push myself! I'm going on holiday to Lake Garda in september, so I'm hoping to make some decent use of the language then!
My sister gave birth to her second child this year, Rosie, making me an Uncle twice! It's lovely to have new family members, and I'm looking forward to seeing her grow up like her sister Poppy has so much in almost 4 years now.
In September I got to do something I've wanted to do for a long time, watch Arctic Monkeys live, and twice! Amy bought me the tickets for my birthday for London, and we also went to watch them again the next week in Birmingham with her dad and brother.
Looking back at it now, 2018 has been a really eventful year! Although it only seems like a few days since I was regretting everything hungover on New Years Day, it's been a whole year already. Who knows what 2019 will bring. I have 2 holidays booked for the coming year, I'm expecting some changes to happen in other areas of my life, and I'm looking forward to continuing learning new things!
They say that 21 is the prime of your life, and I've certainly enjoyed it. I have my health, my friends, my family and everyone around me, and I can't complain too much. I'm not one to make New Years Resolutions, if I think something needs fixing, I don't want to wait until the new year to do it. Life can get you down at times, you can get frustrated with your job, your situation, but it's important to keep focus on what's important, and for me, when I sit here and write out all the good things that have happened this year, it makes me forget the negative things in my mind, and realise that there are ups and downs to every year, but overall my life is good, I get to share a home with the person I love, I get to do the things I love in my spare time, I have enough money to enjoy myself, and I am happy.
This has been a long post, but so much has happened this year that it needed to be. I've said it before, but life is constantly speeding up, and that can be scary at times. It's important to slow down and look back from time to time. I'm hoping to have more to talk about soon on this blog, and I know I said that last year too, but I do enjoy writing the odd thing from time to time.
I'll wrap this up now or I'll be at it all night. Here's to a fantastic 2019, and farewell 2018, another year in my life, consigned to the archive of this blog.