As I look back at the past twelve months, I find myself tripping over because I'm not looking where I am going.
Although this year has been an incredibly good one for me, it has still been the usual roller coaster ride. I guess that life will always throw things at you, and every year we will each of us be tested in one or many ways.
I started the year in abstinence and determination. From January 1st until roughly June 2012 I went without a single piece of chocolate. I didn't even have any chocolate sprinkled on my cappuccino at Costa, and I avoided chocolate Labradors like the plague. THAT'S dedication. Of course, since June I have resumed my chocolate gorging ways, and even as I type I have a flake, a yorkie, two mars bars and several maltesers stuffed into my mouth.
Something I did manage to keep up with this year was walking. In 2012 I have walked over 1000 miles - most of them along a local route called The Trailway. For the first third of the year, I was walking on average 150 miles a month - much to the painful detriment of my poor feet. I'm not exaggerating when I say I can drive a car in reverse at over 200 miles per hour.
Okay, okay - I am exaggerating when I say that I can drive a car in reverse at over 200 miles per hour, but I'm not exaggerating when I say my poor feet suffered quite badly. Fortunately this year I met my wonderful girlfriend Adrienne Rogers, and discovered a much more enjoyable way of exercising (ahem). I still kept up my walking, but it was mainly restricted to my half mile walks to and from work and although my monthly mileage was greatly reduced, I was very pleased to pass the 1000 mile mark.
After a very long time (too long), this year I stopped being single, and embarked on a relationship with a truly wonderful woman and her fabulous children. Now before you all start reaching for your sick buckets, this is not a sickly sweet boasting of how perfect our lives together are.
Things between us are amazing, but it has been a rough ride at times. And I am ashamed to say that most of the roughness have been the result of my failings and looking backwards rather than towards the future. I have learnt that looking at the past cannot show you where you are going, it can only show you where you have been. And as you can't change the past, it serves no purpose to dwell on it.
Adrienne connects with me in ways I had not experienced before, and the love she and her children show me make me feel more complete than I have ever done before. Things are not perfect between us, but they are my future and I look forward to shaping the future with them.
Okay, So it was a one inch cup filled with blue, raspberry filled crushed ice (a little slushy), but it's done now.
In September, financial issues forced me to take a second job at my local Co-op. This has been a difficult choice, as I now work every day of the week in one way or another. It has also meant that I have not been able to keep in touch with my friends socially at all, and it has put somewhat of a strain on my relationship with Adrienne. However, the financial difference it has made has been a tangible one, and it has allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and has allowed me to buy the gifts I want for the people I love. I do not plan to work two jobs forever, but I have enjoyed my work at Co-op and have made some good friends there.
I am in a much better place personally now than I have been for a very long time. And the good news is that with every passing year I get better as a person. I get more handsome, funnier, cheekier, more charming, more helpful with every passing year. And yes, I get more humble.
And I promise that I will continue to be a silly, stupid, ridiculous, improbable, outrageous, lovely, nice, kind, generous, fabulous and generally "me" even more so in 2013 as I was in 2012 - because that is how I fight all the bad stuff that goes on in the world.
And I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same. Life is hard; life is difficult; more often than not your best efforts result in failure, and your hopes and dreams get broken way before they ever get a chance to become reality. We all have so much pressure and hardship in our lives and we all get caught up in just 'surviving'. As a rule, there is more doom and gloom in our lives with every passing day, and if you think about what is going on in the world for too long, it can really make you depressed.
So laugh as often and as loudly as you can. Be silly - for silliness sake if nothing else. Those of you who know on Facebook will testify that 99% of what I put for status updates is absolute nonsense - but what you might not realise is that I don't do it so that people can come up to me in the street and say "Oh Larry, you are so funny - here have £10" (feel free to do that guys), but I do it purely in the hope that someone somewhere might read what I put, and it might make them smile. Even if only briefly.
It may well be true that as individuals we cannot change or solve the problems of the world. But we can change the lives of the people we come into contact with in our daily existences. Yes, it is easier and more convenient not to, but that doesn't mean it is right to. In my job at Co-op I try to say good morning or good afternoon / evening to as many customers as possible and sometimes the customers look at me terrified, because they are obviously not used to such interaction. I will admit that also having my penis hanging out may have been a little off putting, but that was only once.
See, some of you at least smiled at that last sentence which of course wasn't true. And that is my whole aim - to put a smile on someones face (not do a shift at Co-op with little Larry on display). And if we all tried to put a smile of someones face in some way, think of how many more people would be smiling.
It's an idealist thought I admit, but as John Lennon once said "Yoko? No, she won't cause any trouble....."
he also said "Some say I'm a dreamer - but I'm not the only one" - and I agree with him. I am a dreamer, but I refuse to believe that no-one else is. Some of you may be closet dreamers, dreaming of wardrobes in Ikea (perverts!), but I say be a dreamer because when you dream nothing is impossible.
I'm walking with a backpack through the countryside now (rambling), and yet again I have not been able to be as articulate as I would have liked to convey myself adequately, so I will end this pile of nonsense with this:
This has been a tough year in many ways for me, but a wonderful one too. I hope your 2012 was a happy and enjoyable year, and I wish you all peace, prosperity and love for 2013.
Happy New Year!!!!