I turned 33 in April 2017. On the face of it, it’s an unremarkable number. I can’t think of anything special about it, other than the fact it’s a palindrome (same forwards and backwards), and that it’s the only number I’ve ever guessed twice as the next number on a lottery draw. Why, then, does this year feel so different to the rest?
Most of my 32nd year on this planet, in my current form (I say this because these atoms have been around a bit, you know?), was spent living with my future in-laws whilst Kate and I saved for a mortgage deposit. It was no luxury – least of all for the in-laws, but it was home. I’m afraid I have no gossip or funny anecdotes to share from that period. Except for this tweet, which was sent before I had the idea for this post:
The most awkward thing about living with the in-laws for a year was the constant fear of morning wood. Sorry, but it's true!
— Mark Thomas (@Honest_Father) June 13, 2017
But that’s about it.
Every other birthday that’s passed, including my 21st, has done so with all the eventfulness of a Cliff Richard gig. There’s a sense that something just happened, but damned if anyone gives a shit. I think the end of being 32 was a kind of turning point for me, though.
I’m in a well-paid job. I wouldn’t say the job reflects me or my personality (that’s what this is for, I guess) but it’s tech-related and it means I can geek out most days with acronyms and gormless keyboard-bashing. Does it leave me fulfilled? Well…I don’t know, but it’s a job, and I try my hardest regardless. Every single year I’ve made a jovial pact with a friend – “this is my year!” I say, every year. I’d say it on January 1st, then slob out for 4 months until my birthday, where I’d announce it again – “no, THIS is my year”. At the back of my tiny mind I always had this memory of when I was a child, playing some stupid game and losing in the initial seconds, only to shout “starting again froooom NOW”.
That’s the thing about birthdays, they’re limited. Granted, they’re good for you – it’s a proven fact that the more birthdays you have then the longer you live, but at what cost? Each year chips away at this fresh “right, let’s get this shit sorted” attitude. Every month that passes following a birthday sees an ember of a dream or ambition fade. I think there are very few people out there than can disagree with me on this. We all know this, and we’re secretly envious of the people who nurtured that flame.
Well, I’ve had enough of that.
So what next?
I want more; I don’t mean more money, or more luxury, or gadgets, or material goods, I just want MORE. More experiences, more fulfilment, more out of life. Turning 33 made me very aware that I’m getting on in life. If you tell a child “life’s short” or “it’ll fly by” then they look at you with that cocky grin that youth affords, they don’t give a shit – they have time on their side after all.
It’s difficult to know exactly what will fill that gap, though. But…I think I’ve found it.
I started this blog in October 2016, I started it because I found a discount code online for a course – “How to start a blog”. It was £7 and I thought “meh, go on then”. I did it, set it all up, then sat at my keyboard with nothing to write. I strained to choose a niche, then thought “well, I’m a dad – it doesn’t matter how GOOD a dad I am, that title is mine!”, and so The Honest Father was born. Since then I’ve started doing more video work, which I bloody love doing. I can’t get enough of it – people seem to be enjoying it but the whole creative process and editing thrills me, truth be told. Shameless plug, here’s the latest one:
Side note – if you subscribe to me on YouTube, it makes me happy. Please click here to do so if you don’t already!
So, being 33…
The day after my 33rd birthday was the same as any other day before that. But in the months that followed I found my self asking “what are you going to do now?” and “are you actually happy with what you’re achieving?”. Mostly I’d say “shut the fuck up, Mark, it’s Tuesday” but there are occasions where I thought “well…you know what, I could be doing more, I guess”. I’ve had hobbies over the years, including, but not limited to:
- Roller blading
- Salsa Dancing
There are more, but you get the point. I’ve become good at these things and then moved on, either bored or into a new phase. I became known for it, and mocked for it. I loved it, though. At the moment, I’m loving blogging, vlogging and social media. I mean I really love it, and I can’t see that going any time soon – that’s kind of a relief!
I can honestly say that I feel my age. This entire sentence sounds ridiculous, but I can feel my knees going. Christ – I’m 33 and I’m talking about bad knees! I found a white hair too, but the least said about that the better.
What’s your point?
Well, I guess I don’t really have a point here. Treat this as a brain dump of my existential crisis. It’s that half-second “ah shit, what now?” thought we all get, but in prose form. I’m to be married next April, I have a beautiful fiancé and an inspiring character of a daughter – none of this is about that. It’s about me, as a person, and what I want to achieve.
In the short term, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. I hope people read and watch what I produce, and I hope they enjoy it. I hope it leads somewhere, I hope it gives me more freedom, more control.
We can only hope, I suppose.
I’ll leave it there.
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And of course, YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/MarkThomasVlogs