It always feels good when you past an important milestone. Halfway through the working day. One hour gone in an eight-hour shift. Half time in a football match. Turning for home after nine holes on the golf course. The calendar moving out of February (by far the most miserable month of the year). The final few days of this general election campaign; please let it be over soon! Today, I pass my own major milestone.
It is the end of the first month of my year of daily bogging; 31 days, 1 month gone, 334 and 11 to go! So what’s the verdict so far? How is it going? What do we think?
As my old boss’ boss, the great Professor Sir Graeme Catto (former President of the GMC), used to say, don’t stop halfway through and ask the audience how the show is going – they may shout “rubbish!”. So instead I will tell you how I think it’s going – that may be safer.
I’m having a ball. I’m loving it. So glad I decided to do this blogging marathon – which many warned me was a massive undertaking. By the way, they were right but I’m really enjoying the daily challenge of deciding what to write about. Finding the words to express myself – not always as well as I would like, as I discover when I read it again a few days later. Looking for a picture – ideally one I’ve taken – to add some colour to the piece. And, just letting my pen (my Macbook) go where it wants to. It is too tempting to think too long and hard about what to write; about what you want to convey or what you don’t want to convey and start to censor yourself. I decided from the outset that I would write from the heart – the things that are on my mind the day I write them. I have so far reflected on my home and work life, events in the world and the news and some of the most important people and relationships in my life; some of which are a source of great strength and some a great and deep sadness. I have written what came from my ‘pen’, unfiltered and unedited.
The reaction has been very interesting – and at times very humbling. I’ve had lots of folk contact me with emails, messages and calls saying they have read something and liked it – or read it and disagreed – and sharing their views on the subject. I have been struck by the shyness with which some people say – it almost feels like they are admitting to a guilty secret – that they have been reading my blog; acting as if I would would think them a cyber-stalker for doing so. In truth, I am delighted it anyone – aside from me and Mrs J read it – and even more delighted when someone says, as they have, it got them thinking.
The experience so far has been hugely rewarding on another front; it is helping me to get off my chest things that might otherwise stay there and that is a healthy, positive process in itself. As is the discipline of writing for others every day – it feels like a treat every day rather than a chore – and the fact that it forces me to reflect on what is happening in me world and how I feel about it.
As regular readers will know, month one has been a month of lots of family time, a new bathroom, improving golf form (although from a low base – yesterday was the best round so far but I’m having a putting lesson person tomorrow – that tells its own story, even though every day is a school day!), a great trip to Ireland and some progress on the PhD front. Sadly, it has also been a time of desperately sad news in Manchester and again last night in London Bridge – where I worked and often socialised with Mrs J and friends.
As the world is falling apart around us, I give thanks that my world here in Southport – my world built around my two wonderful women – keeps me feeling like the luckiest man in the world.
As Graeme Catto was paraphrasing Morecambe and Wise, I am going to borrow one of their most famous lines to respond to anyone who isn’t enjoying my show so far. It may be that “I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.” If so, please bear with me; I’ve got eleven more months to get it right. Roll on month two!