Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas dear readers, is the turkey sitting nicely in your gut (or vegan equivalent? So as not to discriminate). I hope this year finds you all doing well and of course, wishing you the best for the year to come. As is becoming of yearly traditions, I am here to fill you in on my Christmas and a recap of the lead up to it, from my perspective, because that is what you are here to read. I am not a newspaper nor a company, merely a man with a blog that you all seem to take some interest in, however slight or strong it may be.

I will admit I have not looked forward to Christmas – unemployment, tight finances, dwindling social life and a constant stream of happiness from the world around me seemingly for everyone bar me has had me greet festivity with bitterness in my heart. As I write this, that bitterness begins to come forth once again, as it often does in an evening. I made my efforts though, I am not one to let my personal woes ruin the joy of others and so I participated in gift-giving, jumper-wearing and cheer-spreading, albeit with a somewhat pained grimace where a smile should have been. Today in itself consisted of the usual gift-unwrapping followed by films, Doctor Who, dinner and then everyone toddles off again to do their own thing, my thing being returning to my little cell of a bedroom to brood and contemplate on doing something creative until it is suddenly 2:34AM and all I have achieved is removing my trousers and staring at the utter lack of notifications I have to attend to on my Facebook.

Christmas, in a sense, has yet to actually come for me because whilst I have received cash from the folks and a new shirt from one of my brothers, the bulk of my gifts are coming from friends I have not had the chance to see yet and perhaps on those occasions I will feel more cheery. As it stands, home life is not cheery, tensions are high here and there has been far too much aggression in the air to call this a holly jolly holiday. Interesting, when one considers this might be my last Christmas like this – though I feel perhaps that was considered by everyone present and some perhaps greeted that thought with the silent response of “Thank goodness”, there has been no attempt to bury hatchets here and hostilities are either laid plain or knives are sharpened behind backs. Indeed, perhaps even this blog is my knife, though whom it would cut remains to be seen as my work is met with the most trifling interest by my family.

I apologise, I am a downer on a day of joy, such is my lot. I wish I had stories of charity and cheer to tell and whilst this season has not been an endless suffering on my part, indeed one party was attended and unexpected gifts have been assured to be coming my way yet as it stands, at this time on this day, I feel a black mist grip my soul and drag it back down like always. I look forward to the new year, if only because I have ambitions to drive me and feasible means of achieving some of them and the prospect of being in work again is seemingly more apparent – two employers have expressed great interest in me and once the world of work is back in order then they will hurry to usher me in and get me sorted out as either their new team player or latest addition to the rejection bin.

I have no right to complain, I spent Christmas in a warm home with turkey on my plate, no job to tear me away from my family and there was no actual family tragedy today, just muttered words and a general consensus of “Let’s do this for as long as it is bearable”, with some of us giving up an hour in and some sticking through to dinner before departing. Families do that I suppose, the Christmas card image of a family gathered and united in love is appealing but fairly untrue, especially in homes on the breadline like mine. Ultimately, you must think me a terrible whine, to speak of how poor I find myself and woe is me but you are not obliged to read on, this is merely a personal filling in and as it stands, this is the truth of it – a modest Christmas with a family divided and I am little more than a misery.

I do not know what 2016 will bring. I hope it will be the year that changes everything and intend to work hard to make it so and yet, I have said that much for each year of my life since I left school and here I am. On the upside, with a gym contract I’m obliged to for twelve months, at £9.99 a month, I can at least be depressed and fucking jacked up like a beefcake, I’m too much of a tight git with money to let the best part of £10 vanish from my bank account each month and not turn up at the gym – I’m lazy enough, I don’t intend to charge myself £10 a month to be so.

Still, Christmas is a time to be thankful so let me end on the lighter note as to what I am thankful for. I am thankful to my family for providing me a home and for the efforts they have made for me all year round, to my Dad for being willing to invest in me and help me take my first steps towards revolutionising my work by buying me the equipment. I am thankful to my friends for their steadfast loyalty, especially at this time and whilst the run-up to Christmas would provide many of them valid reason to make less effort, some have made more effort than ever to check that I am okay and provide me with some reason to smile or laugh. Lastly, let me give thanks to the unexpected friends I have found this year, old grudges washed away and casual acquaintances have made new strides to know me better, it is always something that can make me smile.

Merry Christmas everyone, I will provide a 2015 retrospective later this year and in it, I will look back on my year and my plans for 2016, for those who take interest in such matters

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Chains Of Avarice

Trigger Warnings – None

Christmas is coming, unless you’re Australian, it already came, or you don’t celebrate Christmas in which case I apologise, this article probably won’t interest you. As I was, Christmas is coming, it’s almost here for us here in the UK and so in honour of that occasion, I plan to do two little Christmassy posts, today and tomorrow. Yes, I am that dedicated to you my readers that I will be giving you all the gift of two festive posts, I hope it beats another ugly tie or pair of socks. Granted, your feet will be no warmer but perhaps your mind will be a little more open.

Right off the bat, I’m going to assume we all know the story of the Christmas Carol, if not then you either REALLY don’t celebrate Christmas to the point of not acknowledging it even exists or when someone mentions fiction, you look confused like “People write stuff that’s not true? I thought that was just The Sun?”. Zinger, I know. Anyway, as a brief recap the Christmas Carol is the story of a greedy businessman called Scrooge being visited by the ghost of his dead friend Jacob telling him to change his ways or spend eternity bound in the chains of his greed and so Scrooge is visited by spirits that show him visions of his past, present and future which upset, disturb and enlighten the old miser so that come Christmas morning, he becomes a jolly philanthropist like none other. I’ve sometimes questioned if Scrooge actually changed or if he was just scared straight, certainly in the actual novel he has a hellish time of it meeting his unwanted daughters, seeing his own gravestone and realising that everyone who has ever been important to his life resents him, but he keeps the spirit of the season well and being scared into good will by visions of chains is much akin to having the moral imperative of virtuous behaviour for fear of fire and torture in eternity.

Erhem, pretentious musings aside, I love the Christmas Carol story, it’s one thing I have always wanted to act in but never have (Incidentally, as either Scrooge himself or Bob Cratchit), my acting career has never really existed beyond some dynamic reading and a bit part in a school play. My favourite interpretation of the story you ask? Well, I love the one filmed in Shrewsbury but I most commonly watch the Muppet version, I like how it brings forward the core message of the story in a way children and parents can watch, it’s devoted to the story but not too seriously and it’s much more visually pleasing with colourful puppets and impressive acting than say, plain old animated versions for kids – we all know kids engage more with anthropomorphic characters than emulated realism. I bring up the Christmas Carol because I feel there’s an important part of the message people forget and that is just why Scrooge needed to change his ways. You’ll probably shrug and say “Come on Jake, he was greedy, all he cared about was money and he was a bitter old man ignoring those in need, that’s a bad guy, the story is his redemption”. Key point there, he was greedy, the story is about how his GREED is a curse, not his money. Greed has a much broader definition than a lust for gold and silver.

I often get called Scrooge for not being festive out the wazoo as I don no antlers, wear no silly jumpers and don’t constantly burst with excitement, nor do I sing along to any carol or song but I think a modern Scrooge would actually take part in those things, Scrooge is not a caricature as simple as “Don’t like wreaths of holly? You grinch!”, give Dickens more credit than that, Scrooge is a man made bitter by years of isolation and he lusts for money because money doesn’t betray people, money makes sense, money can be understood in ways you can’t apply to people. So why would a modern Scrooge enjoy Christmas? The focus of greed has changed in the past few years, money is something we all yearn for, even those who have it, so judge someone by their drive for financial success is plain hypocrisy but what is truer now than it was in Dickens’ time is a greed for consumerism, a desire for receiving gifts and getting what we want, ensuring our Christmas is the best it can be, a modern Scrooge is the guy who has a clear cut Christmas list you can’t deviate from or he’ll begrudge, a man who doesn’t always return kind gestures at this time of year, a man who complains when he receives the accursed wrong gift. I’m looking at you entitled children of the world, your parents got you the wrong make of iPhone? You’re the Scrooge now, your selfish greed will be your undoing.

At this time of year, some of us go overboard, in particular parents wanting to spoil their children rotten with brilliant presents, which can present a problem. I saw a Facebook post recently that made me think, parents shouldn’t label games consoles and bikes as being gifts from Santa because then less fortunate children might question as to why Santa got them some new jumpers and a couple of action figures whilst his best friend Timmy got an XBOX One and an iPad. Maybe this is the poor boy in me speaking but I resent such spoilt children and people who do so, it is excessive and only fuels this greed in the child, who will expect more and more as the years go on. I got games consoles at Christmas, sure, but it wasn’t mine, it was a shared gift and even then Dad would tell us “If you want something so big for Christmas, Santa will have to bring you less gifts to make room!”, which we agreed to, even by needy child logic that seemed fair. Do not make your children slaves to greed and if you must buy them big gifts, tell them it was you that bought it, not Santa, make it fair and help your child realise that the gift is not just a reward for good behaviour, but a sacrifice and an investment made by those that love them and should be revered as such. If you say Santa gets them everything, their love is for Santa that day, not the parent and they feel they deserve everything they get in life, which is a terrible lesson to teach because it’s not true – good work can go unrewarded.

Greed and impatience are cornerstones of our society really, aren’t they? That cannot be avoided but if it could, this is the time of year for it. We all neglect certain people in our lives, mostly those that are strangers to us, but let us not forget that it was greed that doomed Scrooge, not money, Scrooge didn’t find salvation in throwing every shilling he had into a lake, he found it in selflessness – buying a feast for his loyal clerk, rekindling the love lost in his relationship with his nephew, donating to charity – money in itself can be used as a force for good if the person that holds it knows to keep the spirit of selflessness in their heart

As always readers, thanks for your time and a Merry Christmas to you all! Please, spread the word, let us remember what this time of year is all about! Remember to like, comment and follow me on Facebook at my official page, call it a gift to me from you!

http://www.facebook.com/oldmanwolfeofficial

Dulled Edge

Trigger Warnings – None.

Blogging. Blog blog blogging. Bloggy bloggy blog blog. Erhem, my more astute readers will probably have already guessed that I am clueless about tonight’s topic, this whole no computer deal is a pain in the ass, I tell you. I’m worried this will actually have a seriously damaging effect on my blog and my writing on the whole to be honest.

I really don’t have much to talk about today, today has been a rather dull day in all fairness, the highlight was going for coffee with a friend. Granted, said friend instantly brightens up any day. However, other than that momentary joy, today has been uneventful. Things being what they are, I am a man without a purpose for the time being, so to speak. I’m sorta drifting really, I’ll get back into work soon enough I’m sure, my CV is certainly much more impressive than it used to be and as it was it already attracted good attention so who knows hey?

I like working, not for myself though, I’m never really that good at doing something purely for my own benefit which makes me naturally selfless but can bite me in the butt at times. Charity work is appealing to me for that very reason, I’m not working solely for me or for some corporate jerk-off, I’m working for the benefit of those less fortunate than me. With that in mind, I have come up with a solution to my Christmas crisis.

As covered yesterday, my issues is I just can’t get with the hype, it’s never been my strong suit. If you look around on here I did an article at great length talking about the over emphasis on the excitement of Christmas which dies off pretty damn quick after the day itself. I don’t want to be the constant downer at the party, I like the idea of getting into the spirit of things and I’ve found how to do it – gifts. Not receiving, giving, giving what is requested and what isn’t expected, to see faces light up. I’m generally quite giving as a rule but this time of year, this year at least, I’m getting into the festive spirit by buying gifts. I’m not quite done yet, I have way more people to buy for this year compared to the last but it is nice looking around thinking what loved ones would want. Not to toot my own trumpet but I think I have done a good job this year. Let’s see hey?

I’m generally happy with life I think, my mood doesn’t seem to agree but I am. I think I know some of the big issues holding me back from real full on happiness. Still, good family situation, for the most part, good friends, hair is slowly coming back proper and I seem to have lost a little weight. I would diet but Christmas. I’ll wait until the new year. Anyway, here’s to hoping I get on with my life sooner rather than later!

The Gift of Receiving

Trigger Warnings – None

In a week’s time, it will be my birthday, in fact today is my sister Nicola’s birthday and a shout out to her, hope you had a great day of it. I’m not drawing attention to my birthday in the vain hope of receiving messages of love and adoration from my readers to commemorate the fact I am now twenty years of age (Yes, Old Man Wolfe is misleading on that front) but on how the event always comes out of nowhere for me and I find myself being the least prepared man for it of all, which is funny considering, I thought it was beyond age thirty you were supposed to stop caring about your birthdays, or rather wanting less of them, not twenty

I visited a friend of mine today and she read out this list of things I’d mentioned I wanted as gifts and she asked me about everything on the list so as to maintain the element of surprise, I knew my gift would be from the list but it could be any of them and I found myself amazed at her for considering me so intently. Granted, she’s my best friend of the past eight years but even so, I have to commend her, I’ve seen family members give less effort, even I have given less (I generally listen to what people say they wish they had and buy it for them when possible). I felt awkward though, I barely draw attention to myself on celebrations but I have such good friends and family that won’t accept me doing anything short of streamers and cheering. Come to think of it another friend of mine has already been spoiling me with gifts before my birthday has even come and these gifts do not look cheap, some hand-made, it is rather touching and I’m of course very thankful for what I receive from such considerate folk

I don’t know why I always feel awkward about receiving gifts or asking for things though, something inside me feels really shitty whenever I ask for something I want for myself, be it a game, a favour, a bite to eat, I’m a pain in the ass for it. I think it might have to do with how when I was younger my Dad never had much money so whenever I asked for something, he usually couldn’t afford it and had to disappoint me, except on the odd occasion when it was something I needed or it was a gift for a special day, but otherwise we lived a life of making-do, not indulgence, and recently my Dad said that we’re a bit better off now than we were so that’s less of a concern than it once was but still, I absolutely hate to impose. Have me for a guest sometime, you’ll see, I’m very meek and quiet and just stand there not asking for anything and not even moving, unless it is to follow whoever invited me in. I don’t know why, I can’t break the habit, even with my oldest friend I still stand in her kitchen like some poorly chosen ornament

Apologies to her by the way, I didn’t mean to be awkward, I’m very much a fish out of water when not in my own space. Incidentally, you are a gracious host and don’t think I don’t enjoy coming over, I think I was just overly conscious of being polite as a kid and it’s stuck ever since, still breaking out of that strange self-enforced code. To my friends and family who are making a real effort for me on my birthday, a huge thank you, you all seem to love me more than I love me and that can’t be easy.

On the same token, I find myself gifting people a lot more, particularly the aforementioned friend that has sorta been central to this article, no doubt she will not let me live this down that tonight’s post is pretty much all about her. For the record, it’s not dear, if it were it would take an entirely different tone, I assure you, it would be a long winded investigation into how we’ve survived eight years of driving each other insane for shits and giggles… Erhem, I mean uhh… it would be about how amazing you are and how much I love you of course, please don’t murder me. In all seriousness though, I think I just enjoy giving and feel some strange aversion to receiving (No innuendo intended). I’ll break out of it and actually I’m rather excited for the planned birthday celebrations to come, some people who can’t make it to certain dates are determined to do something, if only small, and insist on seeing me another time for a drink. I never thought I inspired such strong bonds but it would seem so and that truly makes me a rich man… like, in character, my friends don’t have much more money than me or I really wouldn’t have an aversion to receiving from them. There you go, go get rich you lot then we’ll celebrate my birthday by all of you pitching in to fly me off to New Zealand in a private jet, that suits me fine.

Erhem, dickbaggery aside, I’m truly grateful for what I have and I’m looking forward to my birthday now, I hadn’t been, I’d been dreading it being a lack lustre celebration of people finding excuses not to show up or acknowledge me but in fact it’s the opposite, friends new and old are all showing a keen interest in making me feel wanted and valued and I’m lucky to have such good people in my life. I will repay such kindness in return when the time comes, some of you are really in for good things this Christmas

Ah fuck, I mentioned Christmas in November before my birthday, I’ve defiled myself. Bleh. Anyway, that’s that, another little personal post as I had a brainfart with regards to proper topics so instead just went with what was on my mind