New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve
Photo by Ian Schneider / Unsplash

I woke in the early hours of the morning with a cramp in my right calf, leapt out of bed and hopped around the bedroom like a demented one-legged race participant. Today my calf still hurts. Go figure. Perhaps this is a warning about sitting in front of a computer too much and a guide for the year ahead.

I needed to start running again anyway.

I’m going to be fifty in March. My children have already started joking about me being officially “old”. Even the government have gotten in on the act - giving me a free flu jab this autumn based on my rapidly advancing age.

The reason I’m becoming unfit has nothing at all to do with getting older - it has everything to do with working from home. The majority of my daily exercise consists of walking around the house picking up clothes, cups, dishes and various discarded rubbish while muttering under my breath.

It doesn’t help that I work with computers - so spend inordinate amounts of time sitting in front of one.

Do you know the crazy thing? I like walking, and I like running. I like my own company too. I’m just not very good at keeping at things. At the start of the pandemic, I started running regularly and quickly found myself running for half an hour every other day. I need to get back to that.

One of the huge attractions of running - for me - is that it’s so inexpensive. You don’t need expensive running shoes, shirts, shorts, or whatever else - all you need is an old misshapen t-shirt, some raggedy old shorts, and a pair of trainers. I’m not going to be competing in the Olympics - I’m going to be getting my arse out of the door, and getting some fresh air. Granted, I might look like death while doing it, but I’ll feel amazing afterwards - I know I will.

On the other end of the activity spectrum, I’m going to stop buying books at midnight tonight, and start reading the towering pile of books I have variously acquired and not gotten around to reading. It’s getting embarrassing. The reason for delaying until midnight tonight is that I have a book token that I was given for Christmas - I need to spend it today. A last hurrah - or at least, a last hurrah for now.

There are so many great books on the shelf behind me. Fiction, history, science, psychology, and sociology. There are even some books about chess. I’ve always been a bit of a chess nerd. I’m terrible at playing the game, but appreciate those that are good at it - it has a rich history too - filled with eccentric nutters.

Maybe I should make an exception to the book-buying rule, should I be passing a second-hand book shop during the year to come. I think that should be a waiver. Nobody can resist a second-hand book shop - I know I can’t. There’s just something about the smell of old books, the stories hidden within them, and the kind of people that read. It’s intoxicating and kind of wonderful.

In a related bent to reading, I’m going to try and write more during the coming year. Or rather, write more about me - my thoughts, dreams, and so on. I experimented with writing for a wider audience at Medium this year and ended up walking away. While I respect journalists, I think I may have become allergic to being lectured or preached at - with a little voice in my brain labelling people at the vaguest hint of being mansplained at.

I’m going to try and reach out more too. I’m becoming far too insular. Quite how I’ll do that is anybody’s guess, given that the “social internet” seems to be quite successfully cutting it’s legs off at the moment. Mastodon has become a shining light in many respects, but I suspect the federated internet isn’t the nirvana many had hoped for.

In the movie “The Incredibles”, the son - Dash - commented that “if everybody is special, nobody is special”. His words can be related to the changing internet. Where we have visited tent-pole destinations on the internet to connect with and find friends over the last however many years, if those destinations splinter into countless alternatives, the community will splinter and fragment too. The chances of finding needles in the haystack of people that fall into step alongside you become ever more unlikely.

I love the serendipity of the internet - or rather, of the people of the internet. I love that we can cross paths quite randomly with strangers, and occasionally bump into somebody that changes our course - that causes us to re-evaluate what we think, or even who we are. I love that we travel along together for a while - sharing thoughts, ideas, dreams, and fears - and then maybe drift apart for a while before crossing paths again. Is it fate, chance, or maybe a bit of both? Who knows.

Here’s to another year hurtling around a fairly normal star aboard our ball of mud, in the western spiral arm of a fairly normal galaxy, in a fairly quiet backwater of a fairly normal universe.

Here’s to another year of recording the little things, and sharing them with those that happen upon them. Here’s to unlikely friendships, and being the change we wish to see.

Anyway. Enough.

I think it’s time for a cup of tea and a mince pie, don’t you?

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