The Final Countdown – 1…

Well, my big move from Sweden back to England is almost upon us. There’s packing to be done. The apartment is littered with unfilled boxes, and a little procrastination seemed in order. So I made a cup of tea; told facebook I was procrastinating; told a few of my friends, and had a conversation in the kitchen about procrastination in general. It seems as though all that remains is to spend a little time with you people, and then I guess I’ll actually have to put things in bubblewrap. Incidentally, to make this all seem even more last minute than it actually is… I am actually writing this on Friday, though you will be reading it on Monday.

So… it’s nice of you to have stuck with me through all 10 of these. And, if you haven’t done… I’m sure you’re just as nice, just perhaps not as bored as the ones who have. By this time tomorrow I will have landed back in the United Kingdom. So I should give you one more example of something I will miss about Sweden, versus something I have missed about England.

As you may or may not know, I have never really been much of a people person. I’m not exactly anti-people, but I have never actively sought the company of other human-beings. I never got very good at interacting with them really. So many people over the years, having observed my awkwardness, would say:

“Just be yourself, and everything will be fine.”

After a few years I accepted that this might be a good plan and finally actually started not to try so hard… After observing this , those closest to me started saying things like…

“You do talk… a LOT! Perhaps just try not to give so much information.”

So, now I was confused, because that’s what I’m like when I’m “being myself”. So I tried not speaking, and people thought I was weird. It seems as though I was always struggling to find an in-between. And then… I met the lady who is now my wife. She remains the only person who has ever told me to be myself, and actually meant it. She knows I’m a procrastinator; she knows I sulk sometimes; she knows I talk waaay too much for a single human-being, and she doesn’t care. She knows I’m a perfectionist, and is well aware how often that goes hand-in-hand with procrastination, but she just laughs it off.

I guess what I’m doing here is being myself, and giving you far too much information about why I don’t seek out the company of others. However, when others find me, I’m usually very happy to have them in my life, just so long as they don’t expect a regular schedule of social interaction, or indeed interactions of any kind that take place before noon.

Why am I banging on about this? Well…

What I will miss #1: These People

Everyone

 

Some people drop into your life and drift out just as quickly. New family and friends usually come as part of a package deal when a new relationship comes along, and where my wife’s family and friends are concerned I have been fortunate. I love them all, and will miss all of them. Not that I won’t see them from time-to-time, but they certainly won’t be just around the corner any more.

But then… if you’re really lucky, you get a part of that package which was much more than you expected. For me, that is this person:

Tilda

She has been a friend to me in ways I could never have anticipated, and she means more to me than she knows. I might even go so far as to say… all I want to do is praise her. Sometimes she is a pain in the ass. We have our differences and I’m certain there have been many times when she would have liked to wring my neck like a chicken, if not for the fact that she would never do that to a chicken.

All of these people were unexpected benefits of being married to the lady I waited my entire life for, and I hope they know how deeply their absence will be felt.

Of course… as with all the other things on this countdown, there are compensations. In this case…

What I have missed #1: These People

UKpeople

There are one or two missing from here, simply because I have no photographs of them, but basically, the people in this photo are those around whom my life in England, to a greater or lesser extent, revolves. Some of them are a greater influence than others, but all are important to me.

Of course, none more so than these ones:

Me & Kiddies

…if you can ignore the elderly bloke in the middle. He’s only there to stop them from escaping.

My children are a couple of years older now, but this is still my favourite photograph of all of us.

But there is one missing. The boy who became a man… the man who became a King… the king who became… a GOD!

Richie

Whoa! Did I oversell that, or what? Alas… his plans to become ruler of the world have so far come to nought, but he did get married and become a father. And he remains one of the most important parts of my life. I’m looking forward to seeing him again. To that emotional, heart-rending moment when I knock on his door again, and he answers it with the words…

“Oh it’s you. Come in and try not to break anything.”

All of them (though I have seen them many times since moving here to Sweden) have been dearly missed, and all of them… more than the Springtime; more than 24 hour shopping, or the beautiful countryside… are the things pulling me back toward home.

I don’t seek out company, but sometimes it finds me and refuses to let go. Sometimes, in spite of myself, there are people who my world feels emptier without. Most of them are on this page. My beautiful wife of course, is going with me on this next adventure.

This next, will be my 28th address. When I was younger, I used to long to keep moving.  Every time I moved was a chance for new friends, and new adventures. The rootless life was something I craved, like so many other people in their teens, and their 20s. Nowadays though, I have much more of a solid idea of the people and places that I want around me, and – to borrow a phrase from Marvin the paranoid android – when people tell me that a whole new life awaits me, my response is likely to be…

“Not another one!”

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It’s complicated

“James! Wherever have you been? We have all missed you terribly! A few days without one of your blog posts is like an endless desert of…” Oh… OK… I couldn’t get through that with a straight face. Hi mum!

Joking aside… my mum does not read this blog. In fact… as my sister was kind enough to point out recently: Nobody reads this blog (it doesn’t sound as kind, taken out of context like that but, trust me, it was). Anyway… that being the case, I guess I can say whatever the hell I like.

It is perhaps obvious to those poor souls who have stumbled across this blog whilst looking for S&M porn sites, that my posts are often influenced by recent conversations. So, if I often say “A recent conversation has led me to the conclusion that…” please accept my apologies.

I have often been accused of over-analysing things, and this has worried me for years. “You think too much!” is an accusation levelled at me on a regular basis. Usually when I’m trying to talk myself into (or out of) doing something. It’s a habit I have tried to rid myself of in recent years, and, following several recent conversations (there it is! Give yourself a point if you spotted it… then deduct two points for my having drawn your attention to it… TWICE) and posts by fellow bloggers, I begin to see how you can shoot yourself in the foot through over-analysis.

This channel might fail! That job might not be all it’s cracked up to be! That car might turn out to be a pile of crap! What if you spend all your time on this novel and no-one wants to read it? What if this marriage fails? What if he turns me down? What if my children resent me for pursuing a career as an Octopus whisperer? What if we build this time-machine and it doesn’t work?

Now before you start asking me if I’m getting cold up here on my pedestal… it’s true; I have been guilty of all these things myself. One area of my life in particular has always scared me into simply not trying hard enough, but maybe that’s why I write this. Procrastination has stood in the way of my success/happiness far too many times.

If your new business venture fails, your children will not turn into zombies (Unless the name of your business is Umbrella Corporation). If your novel does not get published, the sky will not fall in. If the girl at the bar says “If I throw a stick, will you leave?”, the world’s puppies will not begin howling at the moon and avoiding silver objects. Let’s clear this whole thing up… Failure most definitely IS an option! But so the hell what?

I have been spending a little time with young Richard lately. He works in a bar, and it’s surprisingly easy to spend time talking to someone while they serve you alcoholic beverages. Still… it’s an expensive bar, so I never drink enough to stop making sense, and our most recent conversation made a lot more sense to us than it apparently makes to our family members, and other significant people in our lives. Richard wanted my opinion on something, and I found it very hard to disagree with his take on things: This is how I feel… what the hell is complicated about it?

He’s a bright young fella!

Anyway… Sleepless Knight is ready to spring back into action. We’re waiting on a few props, before shooting all the things we need to before Christmas.

This has been a public service announcement from the Sleepless Knight. However you enjoy your weekend… you’ll have to do it without a picture.