New Year’s Shenanigans

We don’t normally go out on New Year’s Eve, but that’s usually down to a lack of planning rather than desire. This year though, we had a message from the Charleesi, inviting us out with the ex-Lady M down The Plough.

We headed out, suddenly realising that this would be our first ever New Year’s Eve out anywhere. It felt somewhat daunting, but I’m not exactly sure why. It can’t have been the company or the place, but nevertheless it felt decidedly odd. Perhaps it was just the change in routine.

As it was, it was a lovely evening. The Charleesi covered her mother in lemonade, fireworks were detonated, and loud people were loud without being too obnoxious.

I also chatted a lot with various people online between conversations – and so laid plans to see various people, plotted story ideas, arranged to see films, and generally set up the next few weeks of shenanigans.

I also renewed contact with a friend I’ve not heard from for a while, and we discussed in passing some of the oddities of my life. He contended that this change in routine was a good target for the year to come, and should be an aspiration for continuing to shake things up. It took only a small while to convince him that plans were already afoot to keep shaking things up – and that was before we got on to domestic arrangements.

A good start to the year, and a reminder to embrace changes in routine and live as awesome a life as possible. I may have lost track of that until recently.

Danger In The Dark Write-Up

Well, I managed to get this week’s session written up today, in between taking the car in for its MOT, meeting surveyors and doing various household odds. I’ve been glad to be mostly back at home today, especially with how cold it’s been. As I was walking down the road from dropping the car off, I found I was bitterly regretting not bringing gloves and being moderately bemused by how pink my fingertips had become. It was as good an excuse as any to drop in to a coffee house to warm back up.

While I was there, I went into my usual people-watching routine. For the most part it was all business as usual – a bit quiet, but it was first thing in the morning – with one or two people at their laptops in dark corners, parents chatting after dropping their offspring at school, and then there was the conversation at the next table that I was trying not to listen in on.

A man, maybe a few years younger than me, talking to someone who may have been a debt counsellor or possibly a solicitor as a consultation. He was going through his monthly outgoings, and explaining how a mental illness that had just been diagnosed had made it very hard for him to sustain a working routine, leading to unemployment. A discussion about his medications and support network then ensued – talking about what medicines he had stopped taking, what was being changed by his GP, and so on. I promise, I really was trying not to listen, but we all know how hard it can be to do that when so many features of what you are hearing chime with your own past experiences.

After a few minutes I did the decent thing. I finished my drink, shut down my tablet and left to go see if they had finished with my car. They didn’t need me overhearing these conversations, and I didn’t need – as an act of emotional positivity – to keep listening and let my memories jar loose things that are in the past, done and dusted.

Keeping positive is a key part of my plan to stay awesome this year. Sometimes it’s easy, especially when we have amazing game sessions on a Monday where I not only see things going to plan, but have the joy and privilege of accompanying my players through an emotional and triumphant journey in the game. Other times it takes a bit more effort, and requires me to do things like remove myself from situations that really don’t need my presence.

Tomorrow, I have a slate of work to do for people, so awesomeness will ensue.