Day 0

So it looks like the world didn’t end then, whether it helped me going to the top of a mountain in Sweden by myself we probably will never know. But I appreciate that you’re all incredibly thankful nonetheless. Firstly I should admit I’m typing this before the clock ticks over onto the 21st, primarily because when the clock hits midnight I’ll be standing at the highest point I can with a cup of tea in hand acknowledging the awesome year I’ve had and looking forward to what the next one will bring

Very rarely have I ever celebrated my birthday. The 21st of December is notoriously bad for trying to arrange anything with anybody and this I can appreciate. As such I’ve never booked time off work because theres generally no point. This year I made an exception. This year I made the decision to do something for my birthday, but that I would do it by myself. I’ve always seen a birthday as a celebration of being born and of still being alive, instead with my birthday falling on the supposed end of the world it became a target date to achieve some lifelong dreams. I wanted to learn to skydive despite my fear of heights and I wanted to see the aurora borealis with my own eyes

Although not fully qualified as a skydiver (I’m still 5 jumps off my A license), I decided that the fact I had completed 14 jumps to date (2 of which were genuinely solo jumps) that by anybody elses standards I had succeeded. I would have loved to get more jumps in but my busy schedule made that difficult Secondly was the aurora borealis and my trip to Sweden. I arrived in Abisko yesterday and had my first night up at the sky station, a tourist observation post higher up the mountain. Although the sky was filled with clouds and I had limited hopes of seeing anything other than snow, I got to see the hints of the northern lights. I’ve got some very vague pictures, but it was always about just being able to see them. Even if it was only the faintest of glows. With that, anything that happens tonight while I’m up there will be a bonus (and I finally learned how to use the camera better, woot!) though if I get a chance to see a flown blown aurora then I’m not passing up the opportunity (Note: As you’ll have seen from the pictures, I got my wish ^_^)

If I look back at my birthday last year, I was sat in a hospital with my grandad after breaking his neck following a fall and as grim as it was we were pretty much just expecting him to go. Only he didn’t, and hes still going now albeit not quite his old self. I wondered if he ever thought his last days would be spent like that, clawing at his neck brace refusing to wear it despite a fractured vertebra and unable to remember that he had a big head wound from going face first over a door step. 2012 was our supposed last year, and I didn’t want to get to today and think “why haven’t I done anything with my year”. I didn’t want to have to question that at all, instead I wanted to be able to turn around and tell people what I did. I wanted my birthday to come around and to be confident that I had achieved something, if I could go a year and do things that made people smile then it had been a good year

My birthday became less of a celebration of another year of living and more a celebration of what I am capable of doing. I have achieved so much in these past 12 months and have grown so much as a person. My confidence has grown tremendously and I genuinely feel like I am living and making the most of my life while gathering stories to tell along the way. It has been such a landmark year for me that I can’t possibly put it into words. I’ve done some amazing things and I’ve met some amazing people and it means such a lot for meNow to link back to the title. So the world hasn’t ended, and what actually happened was the Mayan calendar rolled over and essentially started from 0 again. Having had an amazing 26th year on this planet, I now have the opportunity to continue this but starting in a different way. I want to approach my birthday like I approached it last year. I want to set myself goals, or maybe milestones would be a better name for them seen as my goal of skydiving became a bit vague. That way every birthday can be like this one, a day for me to stand proud on my birthday and think “I did it”

Thus! My 3 milestones for the next year:

  • Gain a B license in skydiving: This entails completing my remaining A license jumps and gaining passes for FS1 (Formation Skydiving: jumping with other people) and JM1 (Jumps Master: being able to do mid-flight checks of equipment and dropzone) as well as completing 50 jumps. All of this ‘should’ be achievable by March when I’m due to go to Florida with some guys from my dropzone
  • Stop biting my nails: This one has been a longtime coming. Its probably time I put some serious effort into bringing this to an end. By December, I want to have gone at least 3 months without biting them
  • Take up swordfighting: Swords are fucking cool. I’ve always wanted to be trained in something sword based and moving to London has presented opportunities for me to be able to pursue this finally. I’ve been looking into it for a long time but its maybe time to start doing something about it. Not sure how to measure this one so this will be a bit vague until I’ve gotten into it more

No doubt there will be other things along the way similar to this last year, I have tickets to view the Shard on its opening day and I should be ale to try my hand at snowboarding relatively soon (potentially this weekend, but if not before summer). So plenty of things for me to aim for, even if that other longtime dream of jousting is still elusive. Maybe I’ll make headway into that, who knows! One thing I’ve learned this past year is that by throwing yourself into situations and just saying yes to something you would normally have fretted over can lead to awesome things, and I want to keep with that mentality

So, heres to my 27th year! A preemptive thank you to all the birthday messages, I’m soon to be on a train for the next 16 hours so will be near internetless. But mostly thank you to everyone for making it such an amazing year, you’ve all played a part in some way or another and I can only hope I’ve had some sort of positive impact on your lives like you have on mine

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