17 things, thoughts, people or moments that mattered

1. Smoke & Lavender

Grandad sent the poem I wrote about Nan’s Alzheimer’s into the local paper. I also started writing more short poems and gave blackout poetry a go. It’s not a consistent thing yet, but I enjoyed playing with words.

2. Magaluf

Collectively, we raised £80k for Anaphylaxis Campaign on a hike across Mallorca with a large group of very wonderful people, to remember Maisie.

3. Human Rights Watch Film Festival

I tweeted Human Rights Watch to see if they needed a digital hand on their London Film Festival. I was subsequently handed the lead role in digital content and audience outreach. There’s never any harm in asking, so ask. I also met Andrea, a Guatemalan activist from one of the documentaries.

4. Bucharest & Bran

Alex and I visited Romania. It was cold, and we found Dracula’s Castle.

5. Metallica on cellos

Dad and I saw Apocalyptica play at the Southbank Centre.

6. London > Bristol

So many things could have backfired; it was a big move for me. Somehow, though, everything has worked out. This is my bedroom view and these are my housemates. We go on day trips together to pretty places on the coastline and I finally feel like I have a home. ❤

7. Be boring to be wild

Stolen from Flaubert, via Austin:

“Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Structure in my life — diet, exercise and sleep — means I can spend more of my ‘spare time’ doing the things the person I’d like to be would do. Also, I bought my first diary, so that I stop forgetting stuff and start filling in the blanks.

8. Be humble

Kendrick had a similar effect as this Bear’s Den’s line from When You Break:

Spoiled, selfish little child went out to play out in the wild. I found you shaking like a leaf underneath your family tree.”

There is fragility in talent, as it can lead to complacency, laziness, and then a lack of commitment to craft, which leads to wasted talent. Do your talent, if you enjoy it, for the love of it, not for status.

9. Minna

I met Minna on the Magaluf hike (№2). A few weeks later, she clocked 3:08:26 at her first London Marathon and became 145th fastest woman in the world. In fitness, I’d never been so inspired, so I started running properly.

I’m also fortunate to have contact with Emelia, Matt, Stef, her fiancé, Joe (my best friend at primary school!), and Dad (a couple of times now) to lead the way and direct me a little, even if indirectly. VIVOBAREFOOT sorted me out with some barefoot running shoes for a 2018 fundraising challenge after I fell in love with McDougall’s Born to Run (and Jenn Shelton).

10. My leg

My third tattoo was featured at №2 on a BuzzFeed post.​

11. Disease

Sinusitis + thumb infection + another thumb infection + calf infection = four courses of antibiotics between January and June of 2017. Perspective of my body changed, therefore diet, exercise routine, and location (№6).

12. Failure x 3 and Fit for Purpose

Reverieview was film stuff. Define Move was travel stuff. Body of Dan was fitness stuff. I start a lot of things and struggle to follow them through. I realise that, I accept that, and I want to change that.

The only one that’s stuck is a combined effort of fundraising and fitness, Fit for Purpose, and it’s led to sponsorship and giving my life a little more purpose. It wouldn’t have come if I hadn’t failed the others first.

13. Blog

As well as here, where I’ll write a weekly diary of reflection, I built my website to talk about all manner of books, film, things I enjoy and a place to send people should I be looking for freelance work.

14. Edinburgh

I didn’t get the job I interviewed for, but I got to travel from King’s Cross to a beautiful city, and even stopped by Robert Louis Stevenson’s home.

15. Jekyll and Hyde

No person is pure good (or evil). Reading it here gave notable calm:

“I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both.”

It was also the first book I took notes on to track new words, or words that I wished to research a little more, which I now do with every book I read.

16. Viral

I won Twitter:

17. Family tree

My Nan in Barnstaple sent me a copy of the only existing photo of my great-grandfather, Gwynora Hampton ‘Jimmy’ Jones, who had served in the military before taking his own life. She also sent a lovely one of herself, Sylvia, and late Grandad, Peter (as well as the latter playing for Cheltenham Town F.C.). As a result, I’ve started looking into the family tree and found the source of my middle name, London gangsters, and lies aplenty.

And finally, bonus three:

18. Fiction & non-fiction book of 2017

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman / Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

19. Performance, film and documentary of 2017

Ellie Kendrick in The Levelling, 2017 / A Ghost Story, 2017 / The Good Postman, 2017

20. Song & album of 2017

Hospital for Souls by Bring Me The Horizon, 2013 / Sur la Route by Zaz, 2016