Today, I turn Thirty-Seven.
My 36th lap of the sun I thought would be dominated by Brexit, but reading last year’s update I talked about how much travel would take place in the first half of the year in a big fuck you to Brexit, but – on the first trip (a visit to Berlin to spend time with friends, a trip I value dearly looking back) – we got the announcement that Twitchcon, the reason I was going to Amsterdam, was cancelled. This began a massive domino effect that saw all 5 of those trips cancelled.
Yes, a week after writing the post, COVID-19 became a thing in Europe. And my “settling and slowing down” goal became a grinding halt. A big client left, and by April I had effectively no income.
Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
Thankfully, with the world moving everything online, a web developer wasn’t out of work. The work was different, it wasn’t always constant (I started side projects like Drive in Cinemas that actually got finished, and the wonderful Auction Request that burned bright and then exploded), but it was there. And it eventually got to the point where mortgage companies would take a second look at me.
So yeah, settling down. I ended up getting to the point where I felt like getting on the property ladder was actually possible. I got an idea on how much I could afford, but you couldn’t get much for your money in Manchester. However, one day in a WhatsApp group where Shane shared a few properties in the village he lived, which were 60k cheaper and included such luxuries as a garden, third bedroom and a garage, I ended up circling a few properties in Newton-Le-Willows.
The first property I talked myself into putting an offer in, it was accepted, and 4 months later (which apparently is super quick) I got the keys.
So, since then, most weekends has seen me covered in soil, paint, or god knows what was in my drain. It’s been fun! I’ve enjoyed having my own space and being a hermit, and whilst it’s not perfect the house yet, I’ve loved every second.
The business has taken a hit, I’m not going to lie. I’m probably about 10% down on last year, I feel some business decisions may have cost me a bit, but it’s purely down to not wanting to go through what I professionally went through April & May last year. Business wise I’m happier (the current grump I have whilst writing this aside), if not necessarily richer.
Of course, with travel out the question (so much so that on one day where I made it to Llandudno between lockdowns on a beautiful sunny day I cried), I’ve had to spend my time doing other things. Before leaving Manchester I found parks I never knew existed 10 years living in the city, I have discovered similar beautiful places (many of which you can see on my friend’s Del’s Instagram, usually with a description of “I LIVE HERE!?!”) in Newton-Le-Willows, I’ve been attracting the neighbourhood wildlife with all manner of bird feeding contraptions, and I’m hoping some of the garden things I’ve planted turn into plants or vegetables and don’t remain mounds of dirt.
Health wise drink was up and down (shout out to the Corona Pub), so I gave up on the drink free days (It’s a pandemic, duh!). Similarly because of the Corona Pub my diet fast became “a pizza in front of the webcam”. I’ve stopped the majority of this now, largely due to moving and actually having access to a kitchen when I want it. But maybe do have the odd pizza here and there. 6 weeks ago I also began DDP Yoga and whilst I can’t say I’ve lost weight (I tend to not track weight) I do notice my sides are slimmer (if not my belly), my arse is a little bit less flabbier, and I’m more flexible, so that’s good.
In a weird way, sitting here, a week before my 37th Birthday, I’ve begun to think about the past year, largely alone, largely in lockdown, and where exactly I am. Of course, there’s things I want to come back: seeing my friends, going to the pub, generally wanting to be able to travel are all things I want back. However, I’m also reflecting of the things I’d like to stay: I think masks when you are sneezy should be a thing in supermarkets going forward, working from home is likely to continue (I worked out I spent more time in Zubaz in my career than wearing a suit, that makes me happy), and also spending time in the community – one I’ve yet to experience fully – would be nice. Of course I’d love my business to pick up again, and see friends again (as well as meet new ones I’ve made on Zoom chats in the past year), but maybe this is the new normal.
And the new normal should be better than the old one.
So without further ado, here’s my updated comparison with you know who.
Rhys (With a Spoon)
|Age||Nearly 37 (Up 1)||Nearly 45 (Up 1)|
|0 – No Change|
(0 – No Change)
|1 – No Change|
(1 – No Change)
|Books Written||1 (No Change)||1 (No Change)|
|Marriages||0 (No Change)||2 (No Change)|
|Children||0 (No Change)||3 (No Change)|
|WordPress Plugins Written &|
On the WordPress Repository
|10 (Down 2) – I removed a couple||0|
See y’all next year!