2017 – A year of ups and downs.

So if you’ve read my most recent posts, you’ll know that life has been a bit mental this year. I was made redundant from a job, someone I respected passed away, my gran became really ill. More recently I found out I was being made redundant again and my gran passed away this weekend. All in all this year has been a bit of a shitter.

However many downs there have been I think it’s also important to remember the ups too. Good things have happened this year and whether they’re big or small, I think they’re worth mentioning. So after four days away seeing some amazing people in Newcastle, I’m trying to refocus and re-evaluate life. Before I start spilling my brain all over this blog though, here are some of the big and little things that I’m grateful for.

The Big Stuff:

My Friends

The fact that I know I could go to Newcastle and stay with two amazing people any time I need to is amazing. The fact that so many of my friends have been checking in with me and have been kind enough to offer me beer, food, a comforting ear, a day of singing and music or a conversation to take my mind off life is massively appreciated. One of my friends is even spending Christmas with me this year and will be flying over from Australia. Most importantly though, none of my friends have made me feel bad about skipping out on social things to take time for my brain and my family.

My Family

No one likes their family 100% of the time but I really think most people genuinely love their families. I really do love my family. I don’t always show it and I definitely could do more for my family. But if this year has shown me anything, it’s that my family is great (not that I didn’t know it before). Whether it’s the family a few doors down or family from across the world this year has made my family even tighter than before. I appreciate my family a lot.

My Job

Okay so I’m being made redundant but one thing I’m really grateful for is how flexible they’ve been with me. I’ve been allowed to work from home whenever I need it and leave at 5pm and finish the day at home. My colleagues have been amazingly understanding and I’m really grateful that I ended up in such a good team.

The Little Things:

Video Games

So the little things might seem trivial but I’m going to start with video games. I love video games. I play with people I’ve never met online and I play games that friends have recommended me and I talk to them about the game constantly. It might seem silly for a lot of people but for me, especially this year, videogames have been a fantastic escape for me into a fantasy world or twelve.

Internet

Okay so I’m not talking about social media or YouTube or anything. I’m talking about broadband and WiFi. I was paying a silly amount of money for internet that was barely working. But I changed WiFi provider and I now have super fast super reliable internet. So yeah it allows me to enjoy things like Netflix and YouTube which is another great escape.

My Camera

I’m not the most active on YouTube any more and I’m not the greatest film maker or photographer in the world but fuck me, taking the camera out for a day of shooting video or doing a photography tour is absolutely amazing fun.

Sidenote: If you’d like to come along on a photography tour of London with me for the amazing Project Parent come along to the event page here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/181144485778845/

So as I mentioned at the start, 2017 has been a bit of a shitter, but it’s not all been bad. Thanks to everyone who’s made my 2017 slightly more bearable and occasionally a whole lot of fun. Still though, fuck 2017.

A Successfully Selfless Sunday

So as many of you may have read, it was my birthday at the weekend and my friends and I thought we’d do something different this year. Every year I end up going to a bar, drinking more than is usually responsible and regretting life choices for a long time.

This year we planned something a little different. You can read about the plans here.

Due to some questionable planning on my part, we didn’t make it through the whole list, but what we did achieve made me really proud. Proud of myself for making such wonderful selfless friends. Proud of my friends and my family for being so willing to get stuck in and for giving up their Sundays to make other people smile. Proud of the public for not only taking part but paying it forward.

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Some of Carl’s best cards!

The main thing that we did for the day was writing out lots of positive, motivational and inspirational messages and hand them out to people along with a flower and a few chocolates.

I knew from the get-go that we weren’t going to change the world with this small act of kindness, but it brightened an otherwise very grey London day, for us and the people we were handing gifts out to.

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My beautiful team of volunteers for the day

One of the most exciting things that I’ve seen is that friends who live too far to join in in person carried out their own acts of kindness wherever they were as well. I’ve been getting letters, texts, messages from people all over the place telling me about their random acts of kindness for other people. You can see some of the examples below! One thing, that I know is the case for lots of my friends, is that these random acts of kindness aren’t unusual for them.

So many of my friends spend all their time and energy trying to make other people’s lives better but it’s really rare that a truly selfless person will list out all the things that they’ve done other people.

They rarely  get to see the impact that they have on the world and that breaks my heart a little bit. So my final birthday wish is for you to be a little bit selfish so that you can make sure to spread more selflessness. I wrote a whole post about it ages ago and it’s important to me that you recognise the amazing things and impact that you have on the people around you and the world.

Good deeds don’t always get recognised, but they deserve to be. Often they do, of course and that’s great. But sometimes people won’t notice that you’ve held a door open, or paid them a really nice compliment or helped them in any way.

So to all of my friends and family, the worlds teachers, campaigners, activists, doctors, engineers, youth workers, fast food servers, bus drivers and everyone in between, celebrate your contribution to the world, give yourself a pat on the back sometimes. If you’ve helped someone smile today, you deserve it. Kindness deserves recognition, even if it’s from yourself.

Recognition today goes out to all of my friends and family who helped me to spread some cheer. Those who came on the day, those who donated items for us to use, those who carried out their own acts of kindness in response to this all deserve my gratitude and appreciation, as well as all my birthday well wishers. You helped give me the perfect birthday!

Every act of kindness will be appreciated. I appreciate kindness wherever it’s come from. I want to celebrate kind acts that you’ve carried out. Comment them on here, or tweet me. Have yourselves a wonderful, kind week.

A

 

Countdown to Selfless Sunday

So it’s Thursday right now and in a few days time, it’ll be my birthday! This year has flown by. Lots of amazing things have happened. Lots of awful things have happened too. As mentioned in a previous post for my birthday, rather than doing the usual night in a bar getting off my face drunk, hating life and regretting my life choices, I’ve decided to spend a day doing random acts of kindness.

Now I fully expect this to be significantly less popular than a bar and getting slaughtered. However, lots of people have been really kind, sent things that I can use to make everyone’s day a little nicer. So I’ll be joined by a few people on Sunday to do some goodness. #SelflessSunday

I’ll be tweeting on #SelflessSunday and@Albysaurus so if you’d like to follow the action, please get stuck in! For those of you who read this who are SUPER KEEN please feel free to join me. 🙂 I’ll be meeting most people at Victoria Station, London at 2pm. We’ll be starting from there. I’ll be buying as many flowers as possible in the station so that we can hand them out. I’ll be bringing books, pens, postcards, post-it’s everything we can get our hands on so that we can write out as manynice messages as possible. This was the original list:

  1. A meal for a homeless person
  2. Help an old person/person less physically able with their shopping or cross the road
  3. Sing for the sick
  4. Sing for random people to put a smile on their face.
  5. Write and distribute positive notes to strangers
  6. Tape some coins to a vending machine for the next person
  7. Give strangers a flower
  8. Pay for a coffee for the next person in the queue
  9. Community clean up
  10. Pop up yoga session for people
  11. Give Blood
  12. Give random people a compliment

We might not be able to do them all on the day but we’re going to do as many as we can and make it as fun as possible for everyone involved. 🙂

If you’re not able to make it please make sure that you just do a little good deed for the day. Tell your loved ones you love them. Help someone cross the road. Hold the door open for someone. Smile at someone!

A