Today I turn thirty-nine.

Let me share a little secret with you. I don’t actually write these on the day of my birthday. So allow me to indulge you in a paragraph or two that I wrote a few months back. Promise it won’t become a thing. Trust me, it will hopefully make sense. Or it will be a rambling mess. One or the two.

You will see me

I begin this blog post in a delicate state, a month and 4 days before I turn 39, thinking about this year. We’re a long way through but feel like I want to focus on a few things that I don’t think will change between then and now. I may feel better but I end my 39th trip around the sun – quite unexpectedly – single. Like anybody in not the perfect headspace and delicate because of it, I’m listening to dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip’s “You Will See Me”, probably the greatest breakup song ever. Yep. Nurse. It’s happened again.

Seeing double

I write this paragraph a few weeks later, in a bit more of a reflective and – dare I say – sober mood. Reflecting on my 39th year about the sun. I’m sat in Brussels – I’ve a beer in my hand (okay, maybe not totally sober) – I’m having a wonderful time – and I’m reflecting with a bit on the past year.

I struggled with the beer. Maybe the hangover or maybe the fact it was more hoppy than Bugs Bunny on a pogo stick

Basically the next bunch of paragraphs is my thoughts on the past year, and reflective of the above.

Why have I told you this? Everything you will read below is written on these two days. Some of it was written on 31st January 2023, some written on Februay 16th 2023. Two days in my life that show me at my best and worst headspaces, in the hope that it meets somewhere in the middle. In a coherent moment.

Seeing in the past year

So yes, onto the year. It began with a holiday in Amsterdam as I managed to get abroad for the first time since COVID. I became very familiar with the Dutch capital (no sniggering) as I went to my first streaming conference in TwitchCon in 2022. Alas, that was my only conference as I didn’t make it to my usual jaunt in Brighton SEO because of train strikes. Boo the Tories!

So focussing on my love of travel, I made it to the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Belgium this year. It was very much a case of rekindling friendships with family and friends that live outside the UK this year, as I really enjoyed my summer vacation (on legit the hottest time of the year – seriously folks buy a fucking aircon) drinking beer, eating wonderful food (especially in Krakow at a family barbecue) and just spending time with friends and loved ones. It is time I valued immensely.

I got told to take the hat off.

I’ve also had two of my dreams thrusted upon me – Wales in a bloody World Cup and a WWE Pay Per View taking place in the UK. In Cardiff, no less! Like a dog who catches a car or a Brexit voter when they get Brexit, both I felt I didn’t how to process it and weren’t sure what to do when I finally got my dreams. In the case of the World Cup there were other issues which I shared here. That and the fact that the golden generation seemed to come to the end meant I don’t look back quite as fondly at the first World Cup I had a vested interest in as I would have liked. Thankfully, the other (WWE’s Clash at the Castle) I have revisited. Despite the fact I was absolutely twatted for most of it, it was as good as I remember. Fuck me that Sheamus vs Gunter match was special, and the Bloodline story arc that has still to conclude 6 months later? Magnifique. Utter chef’s kiss.

Having a car has also meant I’ve gotten out to random day trips, and given me the ability to travel to things a bit. I drove to Play Expo Blackpool, Arcade Club for this year’s Retro Asylum meetup, and North West Computer Museum (amongst others). You can see a theme there. I’ve driven back to watch my beloved Colwyn Bay FC a few times (and the parents, I guess). I’m still not the most confident (I’ve a drive to bloody Cornwall this year, which has me with trepidation), but I’m getting better.

Work wise things have been going well. Most of 2022 I was largely rammed with a few big projects, with the bread-and-butter of a few maintenance clients keeping the till ticking over. I do look at 2023 with a bit of a trepidation at the downturn, particularly in the tech sector, but I’m not hitting the panic button just yet. I sit here and whilst 2022/23 doesn’t match 2021/22 right now, it does match 2020/21 in terms of profit. Which pleases me.

Twitch streams have been on and off thanks to both busy-ness and other reasons surrounding my mental health. However, I actually met some of my viewers this year. That was fun. I’ve stopped the gameshows for a bit when I had a rough patch mentally in August (more on that later). I’ve threatened to bring them back but not done so yet. Been playing with a few more affiliate sites, in the Drive in Cinemas model and also released my first new WordPress plugin in donkeys years – Preload LCP Image.

Seeing the ball

But the highlight of 2022 for me was solving an age old question I’ve written many a year. Let me share a paragraph from last year’s entry…

….I’m also trying to think of things to do to improve or pick up a new hobby. I keep threatening to myself to try golf as there’s a driving range a short drive away from me, so I can see myself picking up a clubs. However I think I (also?) need a hobby to meet people. One of the highlights of aforementioned dating was actually spending time with somebody doing things (mind out of the gutter folks), and I feel I need to spend time with more people to form more relationships, as I fear I am becoming a bit of a hermit – but then again: how the hell does a mid 30’s freelancer make friends during the latter stages of a pandemic? On the plus side last year saw me drink less and eat a lot better, so I’m happy with that.

Me, last year

The next day, my good friend Shane messaged me asking if I’d want to pick up a cricket bat because Earlestown Cricket Club were starting a second team and he was wanting me to be involved.

Spolier alert – I did, and I enjoyed it.

I will freely admit I’m not great or even remotely good at cricket (though I got the compliment “you’re not the worst player I’ve ever seen…”), but being involved has given me something to do on Saturdays rather than just mope about the house. Even if I’m not picked, just being able to go somewhere on a Saturday (or a Thursday, or a Tuesday) and see friendly faces and have a natter has been an excellent tonic and helped me settle into a new town that – before 2020 – was “that weird stop before Newton-le-Willows that I always forget about if I’m getting the train home”.

But then, something kinda happened. A few people noticed that I wasn’t getting out of breath fielding. I still couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo, but I was able to do a bit better. I write this two nets sessions into the new season and I feel my batting is getting better. My bowling too – whilst not great – I’m confident to get it into the nets most of the time now. I can even roughly tell you where Deep Extra Cover stands.

If you had said that this time last year, I’d have not believed you. I have been consuming cricket content like it is going out of fashion. European Cricket Network? Sign me up. Women’s Commonwealth T20, being guided through it by the excellent if wonderfully shambolic No Balls Podcast? Yes please. A test match? Fuck yes. Give me all of it. Though maybe not if the Test Match is on TalkSPORT. Jesus Christ lads up your game, it’s painful to listen to.

Seeing better in myself

And I think that’s what I’ve been focusing on this message, and more on 2023. Feeling better. Getting better. I had a few knocks during my 38th trip around the sun. Home ownership is not as perfect as I would like as even now it feels more like a house I live in, rather than my home. The afformentioned relationships took their toll on me and also having COVID meant there were times I was extremely low.

I started therapy this year. I started in September after a rough August. It started as a way to get over a few things that had made me utterly miserable. However it’s since evolved into something that helped me cope with the last breakup I mentioned at the top of the post. Identifying what my trigger points are (I’m a social person), what makes me sad (loneliness), and how to avoid it (getting better at being alone). I’ve been learning to make peace with myself to enjoy my own company and not rely on others for happiness. Part of me really likes the quick witted, confident and quite frankly hilarious Rhys that comes out whenever I’m truly happy and at peace at the world. More of him please in 2023.

So that’s my focus for 39. Invest in myself. Be it within therapy or elsewhere. Find my happiness. It’s something I’ve touched on in my New Year Goals for 2023 to improve personal branding. If I can make the similar progress within work and other aspects of my personal life, then you will see me, and that me is at his absolute best.

The moment you’ve been waiting for!

As you all love it so much. Here’s my updated comparison with you know who.

Rhys (With a Spoon)
Rhys (With a Spoon)

Reese Witherspoon
AgeNearly 39 (Up 1)Nearly 47 (Up 1)
0 – No Change
(0 – No Change)
2 – No Change
Books Written1 (No Change)1 (No Change)
Marriages0 (No Change)2 (No Change)
Children0 (No Change)3 (No Change)
WordPress Plugins Written &
On the WordPress Repository
11 (Up 1)0

See y’all next year!

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