New Year, New Plans

I’ve got a rare day off. Actually, I don’t know why I say “day off”, because there are still plenty of things to do – admin, invoicing, photo editing, marketing, organising podcast guests etc. I suppose in my mind it just means that I don’t have to be anywhere today. No meetings, no driving, nowhere to be except where I want to be.

Except that’s not entirely true. I *should* be going to the gym, as it’s been far too long since I went. I *will* go to them gym. Just….err… later, okay?

In my defence I’ve had some sort of virus kicking the shit out of me for a good couple of weeks. I think it’s gone now – I certainly felt more like myself yesterday, and I’m almost back to normal today. It was a weird pseudo-cold thing. I felt like I was about to get a cold for about two weeks, which never came, but it zapped my energy levels completely and everything ached.

I’ve realised that I’ve been both consciously and subconsciously reorganising my life around wrestling training. I never thought this would happen when I started going – I genuinely thought I’d go along for a few weeks, get the shit kicked out of me, and then move on with my life having proved to myself that it was never to be. Truth is, I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s huge credit to both the trainers and the trainees at EWW for making me feel like I really can do this. I’m under no illusions – I know I’m unfit, not strong enough, and not blessed with athletic ability, but despite being well off the pace of the others I feel like I’m improving each week. Considering that before I started back in September I had never even completed a forward roll before, I’m constantly surprised by the things that I find that I can do – with the support of those around me, of course.

Guy pulling a stupid face at the gymI had a physio appointment on Monday which was very helpful. For years I’ve been unable to ride a bike for more than a few minutes without my legs apparently switching off. It’s the same when I do squats, and the week before last we did a duck walk thing and it happened again then. When it happens it feels like my thigh muscles have given up, so I thought it best to get it looked at, particularly because my legs stick out from my legs at slightly the wrong angle, so I was expecting to be given some sort of way of modifying the exercises to make them work for me. Turns out that I wasn’t entirely wrong. My thighs have been doing all the work, because for some reason my glutes haven’t been taking any of the load. They’re lazy. Probably due to me being lazy, I don’t know. I don’t really know how glutes work. The physio has given me a series of exercises to get them working properly, so I guess we’ll see how that goes.

If I have a regret, it’s that I waited until I was 39 before I started doing this. Everything hurts just that little bit more, and recovering from each session takes longer that I would like.

I can remember the exact moment that I realised that my body was beginning to hate me. It was in Edinburgh in 2015. Friday 7th August 2015 to be precise. I was walking hurriedly between shows and I got my foot caught and slipped on the cobbles outside Underbelly Cowgate. My instinct told me that it was a bit embarrassing, but to get up and keep walking. My body, however, had other ideas – it demanded that I stay on the floor for a moment to regain composure. I’d landed quite heavily on my arm and knee, and as it turned out I was bleeding quite heavily from both of them. A member of the front of house team from the Underbelly came over to check on me and asked if I wanted to go in for some first aid. I declined, intending to get up and head straight to my destination. Then I tried to stand up. He looked at me sympathetically. “Actually, that might be a good idea”, I said.

They bandaged me up and I went on my way, but that was the first time I hadn’t just bounced back up from a simple fall. I remembering noticing the pain was more intense than I’d felt before, and concluding that as I was now 35, this was my body’s way of warning me what was to come.

This is a large part of why I was so worried about starting wrestling training aged 39. I can’t deny it hurts, but I do feel like I’m getting used to it. I remember reading Mick Foley’s book when I was younger and him saying that wrestlers don’t hurt less than other people, they just get used to it. I guess it must be the same for anyone engaged in combat sports.

Who would have thought at the start of this year that I’d be this excited about getting hit in the face and thrown about a gym?

New Year, New Plans

I’m going to try to rearrange a few things in the new year. I want to be able to go to the gym more, to train more, and to focus more time on my photography business. This year really has been great for me professionally. Being fully self-employed for the second year running (and this time without Working Tax Credit too – whoop!) has really helped me identify what it is I want to do next. I say “next”, because I was going to end that sentence without it before I remembered a realisation I had the other day.

I think I have a year-long attention span for work-related activities. Come the end of a twelve-month cycle, I’m usually getting itchy feet. I need fresh stimuli to keep me going, otherwise I can slip into a mild depression. My admin day job is starting to seriously bore me now – I think once I identify annoying customer behaviours and then have to deal with them too many times I start to resent it. I then find myself struggling to find empathy, which isn’t good for me or the customer. This contract I’m working on only runs until March, mind. I guess we’ll see what happens then. It’s a constant frustration knowing that your job is – quite literally – to turn up and give people free stuff with no strings attached, only to be unable to get passed the gatekeepers because they think you’re trying to sell something. I mean, I get it – I’ve been that gatekeeper and I’d be just as suspicious – but when you have a deadline and people refuse your calls it’s incredibly frustrating.

That said, it’s reasonably well paid and flexible work, and I shouldn’t be this ungrateful when it enables me to do everything else that I am doing.

One Author in Search of a Title

I’m still writing my new comedy show, and I still haven’t come up with a suitable title. It’ll definitely debut in the new year as a work-in-progress, and I’m looking to book a date fairly soon. I need a deadline otherwise I’ll end up writing it the night before the first Brighton Fringe date.

I’ve had a great poster idea too, but I think it might be at odds with the content of the show. I’m very conscious of marketing myself properly this time, as I think attendees of Professional Arsehole in 2017 expected silliness and nonsense, rather than the sorry-folks-you’re-going-to-have-to-engage-your-brain style that I actually used. That said, this one might contain more silliness and nonsense – I haven’t decided yet.

What I have decided is that I’m not performing at weekends. I’ve heard too many comedians I respect talk about how idiotic weekend comedy audiences are, and in all honesty I don’t think my style suits the “let’s get shitfaced and shout stuff” audience.

That said, I’m still working out what my style is, although I certainly have a much better idea for this show than I did for Professional Arsehole.

Acting & Podcasts

The podcasts are still very much an ongoing work in progresss. I’m still booking in guests and I’m now planning to launch How To Be A Man in the new year, when I hope it will have more impact anyway. I missed my own deadline previously but I’m confident that I can make this one. Namely because I’m not putting a specific date on it….phnarrrrfff.

Finally, I think I might take next year out of acting. Aside from a couple of ongoing projects that I’ve already agreed to, and maybe the odd day-shoot here and there, but this year has helped me see that I’m not currently in a place where I want to pursue acting as vigorously as I have previously done.

There are so many bitter people in the world of acting, and I always said that if I became on of them then I’d get out. While I’m not yet bitter I find that I have less and less interest in theatre with each passing day, so unless something really grabs my attention and the script lives up to the synopsis (something that I find rarely happens), I’ll be doing less acting work next year. I’ll probably cancel my Spotlight, Actors Centre and Actors Guild memberships – which is actually heartbreaking given how hard I worked to get them – but people come and go from the industry all the time and I’m sure I’ll be back.

Right, I’m off to try and find my glutes. And maybe go to the gym….