2015 seems to have quite a bit of historical significance when you look at the anniversaries that will be taking place. A hundred years ago the eyes of the world were focused on a small Belgium town called Ypres, for the second and sadly not the final time, as French, British and Canadian troops lined up against German forces and their new secret weapon, gas. A hundred years before that, not a hundred miles away the final fragments of Napoleons dream of European supremacy was shattered at Waterloo. Across the border in France and a further four hundred years back, 1415 marked the turning point in the Hundred Years War as Henry V triumphed over a superior French force at Agincourt. All pivotal points in Western history. On a personal note 2015 also will mark my 50th year on this earth, hence the play on words with the Roman numeral 50 or L in the title.
I don’t usually do New Years resolutions, but have been thinking about what I want to achieve beyond this also pivotal point chapter of my life. This is no major bucket list, not desires to swim with plankton or visit the wonders of Newport Pagnell have been the focus of my life musings, more a general tweaking of attitudes and ideas, after all I have proved time and time again that if I think too big the obstacle or challenge seems too overwealming and doesn’t get resolved. Small and regular edits, slight changes of tack are the way forward.
Forget all that “this is the year I join a gym and get fit” sort of stuff, that doesn’t seem to work for me and to be honest I have to think how much of that would just be about vanity and the desire to conform to the more youthful image that we are constantly bombarded with. That said eating more healthily is on the cards, less convenience meals and more fruit, vegetables and pulses. For someone interested in travel and the diversity of culture, exploring a more exotic and more natural cuisine when I am at home is the natural way to go for me.
But mainly what I need to be concentrating on is making the written word work for me. Ironically I am always telling the artists I work with via the record label is that the only way to truly give yourself a chance at being a self-sufficient musician is to consider it the full time job and treat it like any other 40 hour a week employment, regardless of what you actually have to do to play the bills. Do I do that as a writer? If not can I really call myself such. So the first change is to up the level of effort and when I am not actively fulfilling paid jobs then spend the rest of the time looking for new opportunities or raising my profile through exposure through writing platforms, paid or otherwise.
Also going hand in hand with this is learning to be more discerning about the work. Or more basically put, learn to say know. Whilst in the previous paragraph I stated that I should take more work on, the nature of the work has to be beneficial and within a context that I can do it justice. Writing yet another review of a screamo metal band or another Ellie Goulding wannabe isn’t going to be enjoyable or further my career, at least not in a direction that I want it to develop in, especially if the only reward is the gratitude from a band that you are never going to listen to the free album or take up the option of a free guest pass to a show.
Write that book. They say that everyone has one book in them, I think I have two or three but never seem to get around to starting any of them. The idea of dedicating myself to the long form when I am used to turning out short articles seems daunting but every journey of a thousand miles …etc etc and I’m sure once the plot line is established it is just like writing small pieces that just happen to have a common purpose.
I have achieved so much in the last year or so, going from a regularly employed, flat-renting person to owning a house outright and just about being able to describe myself as self-employed. With those major boxes ticked, the rest can be too hard to grasp.