Tomorrow is my 35th birthday.
Halfway to 70! A tad dramatic maybe, but then I’ve always had an affinity for melodrama. While it may not be as significant a milestone as 30 or 40; it still feels like a definitive marker in my life for me. Personally its the point in which I feel I can no longer consider myself ‘young’ any more. A sobering thought in some ways; but in other respects I can’t say I have felt young in years – going bald at 22, becoming a father at 24, and increasingly gaining weight and becoming more unhealthy and depressed in the intervening years put paid to any feelings of youthful exuberance.
Looking at it that way, I at least feel I have made some immense progress this past year. Physically I am stronger and in better shape than I’ve been since my teenage years. I have a strong, stable home life and a handful of brilliant close friends. My singing voice has never been stronger. And I’ve finally released some music and have started putting a band together. A large majority of my initial goals that I laid out when I started this blog in May 2016 have been achieved, in the face of the same adversity I’ve always contended with. I can look back and feel pleased.
Being the kind of person I am though it is still hard to maintain the positive spin on things – hindsight is both a beautiful and terrible thing. I first started going to a gym when I was 13; I can’t help but look at the changes in my body this year and forlornly wish that I had kept working out back then. How different my confidence would have been when I was still in my absolute prime of youth. In a similar vein; when I first started tentatively writing songs and making music in 2002, if I could just have had a message from my 35 year old self telling me to be consistent and never stop then I would have been much further into a solid music career than I am.
But enough of that – life happened the way it did, and here I am. And there are plenty of things to be positive about! I will be spending the remaining 3 months of 2017 aggressively cutting the last of my body fat away through a strict diet and strength training. I will be finishing the physical copies of my EP and holding a launch party – I now have a definitive venue, Smoke & Mirrors. Just need to finalise the date, probably some time in November. I have been holding guitar auditions and I think I’ve found the right person. I am actively searching for a keyboard player to finalise the lineup. We are regularly rehearsing, ready to play some great full band live shows. I’ve had Carousel played on two radio stations, and BBC Introducing have listened to my tracks and are in the process of considering them for airplay. I have also taken the huge personal decision to step away from my wedding band as of 2018. I’ve had a fantastic 6 years with them but its time to step out on my own and make more original music, while hopefully building up some solo cover gig work too.
My 36th year on this planet is going to be one full of change – I’ll be sure to let you know how much of it ends up being positive!
One last thing before I go – as I write this it is the one year anniversary of my Grandpa Norman’s death. I wrote this song for him and I wanted to share it here: