Tuesday, 31 December 2013

ARTICLE: 2013 Year in Review

So. We’ve come here. The end of another year.

So let me get the clichés out of the way quickly;

Oh my, the time does fly as we get older. I wish I had more hours in the day. Time is precious, use it wisely! I wish I had a time machine, or at least a time-freezer, so that I could freeze time at times and do more with my time!

Now, I can’t promise I won’t deliver a few more choice clichés, but let’s admit it, clichés have become cliché for a reason, even though that itself is cliché, anyhoo.

What a whirlwind year. And here I thought 2012 was ground breaking in positive and negative ways, I was wrong, 2013 was one long tempestuous romp of positivity and negativity equally split among many times of utter bland and mediocre moments.

Now as much as I hate the clichéd resolutions we all make come this time, I do think it’s very healthy and cathartic to reflect personally on the year that was, sit back, let it sink it, and then, from those experiences, mistakes and lessons, build a strategy to improve your life, keep the positives, and prevent the mistakes and negatives from reoccurring.

So what can I reflect on this year? Many things. I’m not going to do this in a particular order so as to not place more importance on any aspect, that being said, I will actually start with the most important, then just freestyle from there.

Biggest change in 2013. I’ve become a father. And if you follow me on Insta/FB/Twitter, you would know this with the countless posts I’ve shared. I always said I won’t do stuff like that beforehand, but once the baby is there (especially since she is genuinely cute and doesn’t look like an alien or a potato) any one, especially a constant social media poster such as myself, will post many things.

It’s absorbing, it takes over your every being. Everything you do and work for has a new, realigned focus. There’s nappy’s to change, milk to give (currently not my duty, muahaha) lullabies to sing (something I do with much valour and grace) and restless nights to have.  You’ll never be ready for it before, you’ll never be 100% sure what you’re doing during, and only time will tell how we fare as parents after the child becomes grown, but as much as I’m teaching little Luna how to live, she’s teaching me too. It’s a wonderful experience and I’m enjoying every moment of it!

Next up, in no particular order..

I moved out this year. Finally, after wanting to for so long, I finally, what I see as the final step in being an adult, moved out. And although my mom thinks it’s about moving away from her, it’s actually about moving away from my doubts and fears about moving and growing up. Being at home is a safety net, it’s almost like you don’t have to grow up coz the childhood home is always there for backup. I always felt that to be an adult, I had to move out and experience what the world away from my mom would be like, and so far, it’s been ok.

I’ve not moved out alone, it’s actually a bit more complex than just a normal move out scenario. I moved in with my girlfriend, Lauren, on the premise that it’s the best thing for the baby, as she lived far from me, and we were far from work and far from the hospital that the baby had to be born in. and it’s all worked out quite nice so far. Baby is healthy, baby is happy and so are we. And although society dictates to us how to live our lives a lot of times, I’ve never been one to bow to popular opinion, so we’ll continue to carve out our own story and see where the wind takes us, one nappy change at a time.

Another change that happened was a change in fitness, now this one is a bit interesting because my weight has always been up and down, but this year it was up, like 90kg up. The start of the year I looked at myself and I was like WTF, how did I get this fat?!

I’ve documented my change in detail before, but I’ll give you a quick synopsis. I joined the Men’s Health Belly Off campaign, and although I couldn’t win, because I work for Media24, I could still do the Belly Off, because, I’d still win if I lose weight right? It was going just okay for a long while but 4 weeks before the end of the contest, I done something called the SleekGeek reboot, it’s a hectic paleo diet thing where you basically leave out everything that’s unhealthy and you’re left with just green veggies and lean meat and a few other stuff that you can eat. It worked really well with the Belly Off, and I struggled through it to go from 90kg to 80kg in 3 months. I continued on another SleekGeek 8 week contest after that and went from 80kg to 76kg, but it was not really where I wanted to end up. I could feel that my goal weight of 75kg should actually be 70kg as there was still a lot of fat to lose! After that I kept the exercise going, and slowly my eating habits started to creep in again. But I picked up running and football cardio as a habit and that really kept off the weight well and I was meandering on 78kg for a long while.

Then I had Unisa exams, (which went ok btw, midway through 2nd year BA in Communication, but I gave myself till I’m 30 to get it, that’s 4 years from now if you didn’t know) and even though I exercised through my study leave, the exam stress and stress eating seemed to be too much for the exercising to counter, and I picked up a few kilos, then after being 80kg for a while, Luna AND the holidays came all at once. A combination of NOT sleeping enough at all, and no time or energy to exercise and a terrible holiday diet, means currently as I type this, I’m at 85kg (and this is after getting a stomach bug last month where I dropped 3kg in ONE NIGHT, I call it extreme weight-loss, lol) 5kg heavier than an ok, can-be-better 80kg, but also DANGEROUSLY close to the dreaded 90kg mark. I’m only 1.76m tall, so being such an average height, I need to be closer to 75kg than to 85kg to be in a good space, I don’t really want to be super ripped and toned, if I must be honest, I’ll never be able to gym that much and eat that clean for a sustainable amount of time, but I’m just looking for that balance of working, running and weight training, eating and time-management that is conducive to a HEALTHY life. Really looking to play a lot more 5-a-side football as well in 2014, I became relatively  decent at it this year, and it’s a really fun way of hitting your fitness goals! Anyhoo. 

We go on about weight a lot, but the bottom line here is health. I can feel my boep on me now, it’s heavy and it’s not cool, that’s how I know I need to lose it. It’s not healthy, and the scale just underlines it for me.

(funny side note, I had a fat ass as well, but after all the  exercising and weight training and stuff it disappeared, but hark, my stomach comes back so easily. It’s a cruel world, yo)

Another amicable happening in my life this year was the dawning of Makeshift. Makeshift is the band I’ve been jamming with this year, and although we’ve been very experimental and just jamming a lot together, not really performing just yet, mostly just impromptu performances in chill social gatherings, Robin, Riaan and I, pulled off something REALLY cool with regards to studio recording, and proved to ourselves that we can cut it as fully fledged musos. It’s a double pity though, 1) I can’t share the music we’ve done there just yet as it’s part of a bigger project that’s yet incomplete 2) all of us work full time, so the fully fledged muso thing is just a dream for now. It’s cathartic though, so even though it’s still on a very mellow scale, it has proven to me that I’m a very decent singer when I practice week in, week out, (something many of my doubters put past me as something I can’t do) and that I’m a good song writer that can structure a song very well. (something deep down I knew, but self-doubt is a bitch, ya know) Only a few of my social followers know this, because they took the time and made an effort to listen to my older stuff as a whole, Kalourd, talking particularly about you, my one true fan,  but I actually did an entire solo album when I was still trying to do music for record-deal-getting, try-to-make-money-from-music kinda thing, but ironically the music and sound I tried to create was deemed non-radio-friendly by all the radio stations I took it to. That, at that time, many moons ago, really sakked my plak, with regards to music and I went into a lull for many years with it, but kudos to Riaan for approaching me to join his project because now I’m once again flirting with my one true love, music, and the love affair is blossoming because there’s no pretence or barriers such as the afore-mentioned things, as we’re doing it just for the love of music.

Expect us to perform more next year, as we were putting in a lot of effort into the studio recordings and neglecting our own Makeshift set a bit, but yes, there is a set of at least 12 songs, a mix of originals from all three of us, and covers, so 2014 will be the year we really enjoy the music because we’ll be sharing our gift with you all.

2013 was also the year I went viral on Youtube, almost accidentally. Before I loaded the now infamous riot video to Youtube, my video making was in a dormancy akin to Excalibur, not loaded new videos in ages, and the videos that were loaded, were just for uploading’s sake, no creative slant or input, just footage or something boring. There was a time, when I was still working for a production house in Cape Town as a 3d artist, that I made many 2d/3d videos that I loaded onto youtube, but almost none of them got more than a 100 views, only two of them really got more than a thousand views, and that was over the space of a few years. It’s every Youtuber’s hope to go viral, some of them do it with loading 100s of videos to Youtube, others, get lucky!

With me, it was such a case, the riots that hit the CPT CBD just happened to reach its apex JUST BELOW OUR OFFICES, and me being the camera-toting person I am, it didn’t take long to get my camera out. I made the error of keeping my phone upright, but I’ve seen many videos like that before on YT, so that didn’t bother me much. I didn’t even notice how much I was swearing while the things below us were happening, but I was, because it was genuinely terrifying what was happening below us. People, in an animal-like fashion, raiding stalls and just marauding through the street, eliminating everyone who dared step in their path, with their homemade weapons that they either brought along with them or found along the way. The running commentary, is kind of like I am during a day to day basis, if you know me, and you’ve seen me irritated before, you’ve heard a similar dialogue to the video. This, coupled with my colleagues being co-stars in the video, the timing of it, its newsworthiness, and clever sharing on my behalf, and viral sharing by social media thought-leaders on twitter and facebook, meant that my video catapulted like a rocket from 0 to almost 20 000 in the first day. It grew from strength to strength with each passing day, and around about 40 000 hits, I thought it had peaked, but then someone somewhere must’ve shared it to a lot of people because from then on it skyrocketed, finally reaching  127 000 plus hits, where it now resides.

The comments on this video were also what fuelled the mass amount of views. The News24-style comments joined in with their racist banter, but the fan-boys and girls also joined in, saying that I should do more videos like this commenting on things in a similar manner, and how cool the swearing is. Lol. Told my mom about this and she was like, yeah, the world rewards all the wrong thing with fame these days, so true if you think of Miley, and Kim K ne. Anyhoo, I don’t mind. I’ve always wanted to go viral, and if ever I needed a kick in the back side to do more videos for youtube (I have SOOOOOOOOO many ideas for them) this was it. 2014, you’ll definitely see at least TWO top quality, well thought out videos from me, I must!

Then a few other things, I managed to do a few talks/presentations this year, turned out to be a great learning experience and it was very cool to see how easy things like this can be if you prepare yourself even just a little bit! Maybe later on in my life this can be a great way of making ends meet, but now, I’ll keep going on with current workings. Just imagine. Work 3 or 2 days a week, travel all over the world, talking in little bursts and making hatloads of money, sounds perfect ey, it takes a while to get to that level though, so that’s why I say later on in life, once I’m more experienced in things of such a nature.

Then lastly, something you might not care about very much, but it means a lot to me; before working at Media24, I was a 3d artist, but I became very unhappy there and was searching for work for about a year until I got hired by M24, and then the 3d activities became nothing more but a hobby in a plethora of hobbies. While working as a 3d artist, I sold many of my models online, and although it’s not millions of rands, it’s something to keep the paypal ticking, now, I had a base iPad model to be completed for almost a year up until very recently, after almost a year of procraaaaaaaaastination and working on it for like 5 minutes in a week then leaving it, I finally finished it, and popped it online. It was a testament to myself, about a quality of myself I hate the most, can be cured, the habit of starting projects and not finishing it because other stuff get in the way. I’m sure a lot of you have that as well to a certain degree, whether you’re creatively inclined or not, and my message with this paragraph is to remind you that it’s not impossible to get your projects done, you just need to cut out all the bullshit and excuses and start working. Don’t think this is me preaching to you, because this is just ONE of literally hundreds of projects I have, so I’m merely encouraging you to be better than me, and slay your projects like a knight slaying a dragon, with valour and honour!

So with the year drawing to a close faster than my hairline is receding, let me tell you two interesting things that happened to me in the last two days which have given me two great analogies to share with you to take with you into 2014.

I just finished my workout the other day, and because I’ve been out of the exercising for a while, every workout is like starting from over. I came to the stairwell at the apartment where I live, and it goes down for a while, before you go up the stairs to the flat. The mini-down stretches about 3m down at about a 20 degree angle, not that much, and I told myself I’m gonna jump down to the bottom. Because I’m cool and I should be able to. I stood still. Breathed in and out. Jumped on the spot a bit. Psyched myself up. Took a few steps back, forward, took a mini dash to check how far I need to run to jump to get there, told myself, dude, this is easy, you can do it, you’re a parkour master and this is just the beginning, come on, finish the workout strong, let’s go, the more you wait, the more you gonna get cold feet, it’s just one jump, 5 seconds of pain if you land wrong, another few steps back, mini run, stop and reverse, ok, here I GOOOOOOOOOOOOFuck fuck fuck I can’t do it, I stopped midway through my run-up and just jogged down the stairs quickly.

I failed.

It was testament to the fact that I still get cold feet when I need to say JUST FUCKIT and run with something. A wrong decision is better than no decision right? In 2014 I will try again to improve this, I have improved it a lot in the last two years, but as this mini-fail displayed, more cahones are needed this side!

And then, that same evening, my sleep-pants-that-looks-like-those-douchey-weight-lift-pants’ strap-tie-thing came out, you know, those crappy-to-put-in-if-out strap-things. I didn’t have lus to do it, but I knew that without them, the pants were rendered useless. Then, it what seemed like an eon of eternities, I arduously started to put this strap in. It felt like it ate away at my soul with every poke and press and it felt like I was getting nowhere.

I closed my eyes and just kept doing it, the whole time, and even though initially it felt like I was going nowhere, when I looked again, I was halfway through. 10 minutes later, it was done. Now, I can think of MUCH better ways of spending 10 minutes, but this particular 10 minutes reiterated to me an easily forgotten axiom of life. Nothing in life comes easy, and anything worth your while, even something as practical as fixing my pants’ strap-thing, takes patience, practice, and sometimes, what feels like mindless, repetitive ardour is actually you laying the foundation of a greater success, during the work, it feels terrible, but once you have reached the ascent of your journey, you have gained success and a nice snug fitting pants.
If you get anything out of what you just read. Take from it that 2014 must be a year of hard work and patience, but also knowing when to take action and do something fresh and ballsy. It’s a balance that needs to be struck, but only can do it, stop living vicariously through other peoples travels and fun, and stop hopping on the hate bus when  people who seem like they did nothing to garner success, make it big.

Focus on what matters.

Focus on yourself.

Compliments of the season and a safe and prosperous 2014 and beyond!

No comments:

Post a Comment