Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Wrapping Up 2013 With a Splash of Gratitude

With 2013 wrapping up nicely in just a few short hours I have dragged myself away from the food and festivities for a moment to reflect on the year. And what a year it has been. From extreme highs to not-so-low lows, 2013 has been one massive steamroller of successes for me. I came within touching distance of my idols, realised the career I wish to pursue, made a decision to give up on a goal that was no longer sought after and most of all, I made thousands of precious memories.

Because that’s what it’s all really about, isn’t it? The memories. Funnily enough,  it’s not the things I did this year that come to mind upon reflection, more so the people that were by my side through it all. So this one is for them. A sort of thank you, if you like. A token of my appreciation. You made my year fabulous, now sit back and gloat to your hearts’ content as I show you why.

To my family ~
Now, there are quite a lot of you so I won’t be naming any names here. This is to all of you. Firstly, the Dawson side. I’d like to thank those of you that were so kind to have hosted parties this year which I was invited to; they were very enjoyable. Seeing the whole family together is an extremely rare happening and one which I cherish dearly. Nothing tops a family reunion to celebrate the birth of a loved one (or in our family’s case, the free alcohol). I wish to apologise if my beautiful face has been missed in Westport, as I have not been able to pay as many visits this year as I would’ve liked. Summer was hectic, with work taking up the majority of my time and the need for a social life a close second. I wish to see more of you wonderful people in the coming months.
As for the local fam, quite frankly I see you all too often and this will have to cease. Of course I’m joking; it’s rather lovely having you lot three minutes down the road. Christmas Day wouldn’t have been the same had I not been in your presence. Two brief specific mentions: Conor, I have missed you. Eoin, congrats on the new blog, welcome to the clan. I shall now promote it here à http://braidedineoin.blogspot.ie/

To my friends ~
In case anyone feels they have the right to include themselves in this restricted category let me make it clear – this is to the Lissivigeeners. Yes, we have named ourselves and yes it feels a bit odd sharing it publically but no I am not ashamed. There are around eight or nine of you that have filled this year with laughter and life. I am very appreciative of all of you and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for accepting me for who I am – a townie. I may have been born in Woodlawn but I was bred here amongst you wild culchies and that has shaped who I am today. I would be lost without all of you. Especially on a night out when we hit the town in numbers and I can always rely on one of you being somewhere in Mustangs. I love that our friendships were sown at the river and have blossomed this summer as we made our way slowly but surely into K-Town. I am blessed to be a part of such a welcoming, accepting bunch of alcohol… amigos. I look forward to many more memories being made with you all this year.

To my girl ~
What can I say? Another year comes to an end with you by my side. Who would’ve thought it, eh? We’ve come through so much this year and we’re stronger than ever. You’re my rock but you already know that. I just want all of these other people to know that too. Other people, I wouldn’t have a blog if it wasn’t for this girl! You’ve made this year perfect for me. When I think back, all of the best days I’ve had were with you. We have so many incredible memories to take from 2013 and I’m not going to attempt to list them all because I couldn’t. There are far too many. You know and I know, that’s the most important thing. I’m so happy you’re going to be here with me to ring in the New Year. A year ago we promised we’d be together for it and we’ve kept that promise.
Trust me, I know how lucky I am to have you in my life and to be quite honest, it still puzzles me as to why you came so willingly into it. I wish I could say “the day I first met you” but that wouldn’t be entirely true as I probably didn’t even know your name that day, so I’ll stick to the truth. The day I got your BBM pin was the day I really started to live. I wanted to live. I had been given a reason to live. Since then you’ve changed my life completely and given me something no-one else ever has – great fashion advice. I’m kidding, you’ve given me your heart and I swear to God I’ll owe you forever for that. I’ve tried to keep this soft side of me hush hush from everyone for quite some time now but with this clear admission of emotions, I have caved. I love you; always have, always will. Let’s start 2014 as we hope to end it – together.

 So that’s it, my final post of 2013 has come to an end. I asked of myself this time last year would I still be writing in a year’s time and the answer is of course yes. I have plenty more words of wisdom I would like to share with you all, though they will certainly be dispersed throughout the year (Leaving Cert and all that jazz). For now though, I’d like to say farewell to this year of blogging and wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

See you tonight, alcos. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

My Greatest Fear

For those of you that have been so kind as to read this, you may be expecting a typically clichéd fear. You know spiders, insects, height, et cetera. It would seem fitting to write about such topics with the 2013 series of ‘I’m a Celebrity’ having just drawn to a close. However, my fear is not something you can see, as such. It’s far greater than a dread of flying or being terrorised by crocodiles. This fear of mine is not one that I will ever be able to conquer in my lifetime I should assume, nor do I ever wish to have that opportunity. So here it is, my deepest secret revealed. What’s my greatest fear? Cancer.

It has occurred to me in recent weeks that this disease has claimed the lives of three of the four relatives whose funerals I have attended. The first of which was my grandfather who died when I was eight years old. My ambiguous recollection of him leaves but one clear image in my mind: him and his pipe. I guess you could assume it caught up on him. In the past six months I have lost another two relatives at the hands of cancer. They say it can be hereditary and that worries me. The thought of dying old gracefully does not scare me, but one mention of chemotherapy or finding a lump and I freak.

Cancer is so commercialised these days that it’s almost become the norm. Any successful soap will at some stage have incorporated cancer into its storyline and chosen a character to deal with the incurring predicament they are faced with. But how can any actor, no matter how talented, portray realistically the emotions of a cancer victim? Unless they have previously battled the disease and know first-hand what it entails I find it hard to see any such performance as plausible. Plus, what person in their right mind would agree to pretend to have cancer after going through that traumatic ordeal already? I would imagine once is more than enough.

It frustrates me that there is yet to be a certain, verified, official cure for cancer. I accept that there are different treatments available and that not all cancers are terminal but what I can’t accept is this seemingly worldwide belief that this disease will forever be irrepressible. How is it possible that we have sent people to the moon and yet we have not made a definite discovery in the area of carcinogens?  People are employed globally to work full-time towards finding this long-awaited cure yet they never prevail. To say I am angry would be an understatement and to suggest that I am afraid of becoming ill makes little of my turmoil. I need there to be some finding, some revelation that will ease my worries. In reality I will never awake to such news. What I can guarantee, though, is that I will attend many more funerals of fatalities of this disease and it could one day even be the foundation of my own.

I am not so much afraid of being diagnosed myself as I am of others nearest to me receiving such news. To even consider any of my loved ones being diagnosed brings about an overwhelming sensation of numbness. How would I cope with such news? No words could describe it. I would break in that moment, my whole world would shatter into a thousand jagged fragments and that would be it. No more would become of me. I see programmes on TV where people have been told they have three months to live and they step outside, guns a blazing, ready to make the most of what time they have left. The strength that must take is beyond my comprehension. I know personally that I could never show such courage. But, dare I say it, perhaps that is one positive which can be taken from such a life-altering experience. You learn to appreciate life for what it is, not what it might be or what it could’ve been. Cancer does not have time for “what ifs”. Cancer does not wait around until you feel you are ready to say goodbye. You can rely solely on what the doctor said but at the end of the day, unless this doctor can see into the future or is in fact God Himself, I would strongly advise against predictions. Doctors told my family that my uncle, who died Thursday last, had but a few weeks to live. That was five years ago.

I guess my reasoning behind this post is that I want to get people to be more appreciative of what they have and what they don’t have. Cancer is not restricted to any one age group or type of person. Just because you smoke doesn’t mean you’re going to get cancer. But at the same time, just because you eat well and look after yourself doesn’t make you immune either. My uncle was what you could consider a grade A human being. He ate well, kept extremely fit, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, and went for regular check-ups… Cancer spread all over his body and all he could put it down to was chance. What was the chance he’d be diagnosed with cancer? What was the chance he’d fight the battle for over five years? And what was the chance that after five years of waiting his death would still cause so much heartache?

Like I’ve said, cancer is unpredictable. It’s a disease which will loom over each of our existences for as long as we will live. The only time we will truly have defied cancer is when we die; how ironic. Don’t wait until the news gets in that you have been affected by this disease. Do something about it now. Visit a relative, say a prayer, for God’s sake even write a blog post. Just don’t let it creep up on you like it has done to me. I can assure you that none of us will escape the wrath of cancer. No-one is that lucky, regardless of what the doctor says.