All that matters – family and friends (and a little bit of music…)

Another relatively succinct post this week (yay shout the regular readers!).

I’ve reached a stage in life where it’s the simple things that mean the most to me. Amongst other things, I enjoy losing myself in a good book, listening to a long-forgotten album, the vivid colours of a sunrise / sunset (honestly – I even take photos of the good ones on a fairly frequent basis these days!), a new series of Strictly, and finding a spare half hour to play my guitar with no goal other than to play a few random tunes. But most of all, it’s family and friends that mean the most to me. This has been the case for some time though I appreciate it more and more as time passes.

In relation to the subject matter of this blog, I find this really beneficial as I often feel comfortable when with close family and close friends. Anxiety and low self-esteem rarely prove to be issues during these times – I tend to be at complete ease. Though where I do often get self-critical is that I rarely let these people know just how fortunate I feel to have them in my life and how their love, support, friendship and humour get me through the struggles of day-to-day life. Granted, that can be a little more difficult to do with a group of blokes in their 40’s but there are still subtle ways of addressing this rather than sending a group WhatsApp message out channelling my inner Sloth from the Goonies and blurting out ‘Mick loves you guys’! I don’t know if it’s a worldwide occurrence but we Brits seem to have a societal taboo whereby we simply can’t talk openly about feelings like this and it’s a little bizarre if you ask me. But there you go – my friends and family would probably think it a little weird if I suddenly contacted them all out of the blue and suddenly told them exactly how I felt! Perhaps one day I will but, for now and for those of you who are reading, please take this as exactly that – me thanking you for your love, support, friendship, honesty and humour – it means the world to me.

Here’s a challenge for everyone reading this. If any of this resonates, and if that same awkward feeling sits on your shoulder should you ever consider telling people how you feel, try to think of some subtle methods, or not-so-subtle methods if you’re particularly brave, of addressing this. It’s vitally important. More of this in a dedicated future blog post but I’m sure most people would really welcome and value understanding how you truly feel. Take the time to truly listen to what they’re saying when they talk and provide a shoulder to lean on, should they need it. Get in touch with someone if you feel it’s been a little too long since you last communicated. Have more meaningful conversations and let them be the focus of the chat rather than you. Praise their successes and support them when their weaknesses come to the fore. Buy them a meaningful gift out of the blue. There are many subtle ways of showing people just what they mean to you – think about what might work best for you.

Of course, this being me, I’m going to end the post with a music-related thought or two. Afterall, as reflected in the title of this post, it is the other thing which matters most to me. When I’m feeling thoughtful, reflective and/or emotional, I tend to listen to my ‘favourite songs’ playlist. A fairly generic title, it’s basically a collection of songs which are either ballads, laid-back / mellow tunes, or ‘softer’ songs where the lyrics usually mean something to me. One song which always figures is ‘If Today Was Your Last Day’ by Nickelback. Now this may raise a few sly sniggers as Nickelback tend to be one of those rare bands who, despite selling millions of records and performing sell-out arena tours across the planet, attract more than their fair share of derision, very unfairly if you ask me. To some this may be straying into slight David Brent territory but I don’t particularly mind. I prefer to find the positives in life these days, song lyrics mean a huge amount to me and this is a song which I love. Should you wish to, you can watch a video for the song by following this link: https://youtu.be/lrXIQQ8PeRs

The lines which really get me every single time are ‘each day’s a gift and not a given right’ and ‘every second counts ‘cause there’s no second try, so live like you’ll never live it twice’. This always gets me thinking. What would you do if you knew it were your last day? Would you live the life which deep down you know you really want for 24hrs? Would you tell the people who mean something to you how you really feel? How you absolutely need them, more than they’ll ever know? How fortunate you feel to class them as friends / family? How they help you get through life, in the good times and the bad? I know I certainly would…

Thanks again for taking the time to read this – I really do appreciate it.

Until next time.

Best wishes,

Mick

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