If there’s one thing that I love doing it is laughing. Not the polite stuff of dinner parties or corporate introductions, I’m on about the full-on, tears down the face, side splitting, aching, can’t talk properly stuff. The things that bring it on can be ridiculous in the sublime. A misheard phrase, a memory of something daft you did when you were younger, or better still, just being lost in the moment and not giving a shit about the fact that you find it funny. That stuff is gold.
It’s been missing for me in a good while. Whether it has been from loss, introspection or dwelling on things that need to be moved on from, it needs to be rediscovered. A majority of the world I can blag. They will see my smiling mug grinning in a photo or joining in at a get together, but those closest to me will know.
It’s the eyes that give it away.
My wife accuses me at times when a smile or laugh hasn’t made it as far as my eyes. She calls me out on it because she knows me better than I know myself. You can’t kid a kidder after all.
So, in light of me using this platform to be honest both with you and myself, I’d like to apologise. I’ve been down for a good while. Factors are too plentiful and painful to go through in detail so I won’t. But I will apologise to a few people who will know exactly who they are and why I’m so sorry.
First off, friends. I’ve not seen you in the longest time. Partly through life just getting in the way and partly because I just didn’t want to. While I wasn’t in the laughing mood, to turn up and see you and then bring you down was not a fair thing to do. So instead of talking about things with you, it was easier to do what I’ve always done and head in the other direction. ‘I’m busy. I can’t make it to that event.’ Birthdays and anniversaries missed, children growing up, invitations to come over skipped, memories not made due to being in a dark place. I am deeply sorry.
Then there is family. The memories we’ve made have been some of my most cherished. We’re not getting any younger so take this as notice that the intention is to come see you. Soon. Laughter and smiling with you is infectious and long overdue.
Clients. Where do I begin? Amazingly you are still with me. Only just in some cases. Processes have failed, living on the road and editing without internet connections has proved painful and to my last wedding party, I am deeply sorry for the inordinate delays. Brands where we’ve started strongly and then hit issues, we’re there. We got through it and we’ve learned. Thankfully, together we made it all work.
Colleagues. Thanks for the support. Believe me, it is massively appreciated. People who don’t have to give me their time or camaraderie but do, you have made a difference. A world of difference. And for some of the opportunities you’ve given me, just wow. Thank you.
And finally, my wife. The one who has to put up with the ups, downs, the moods, the moaning, the highs and the terrible lows. When the confidence goes, you are dealt a miserable, cranky, angry arse who acts like anything between a petulant child and king of the world. To you, I owe everything. All my apologies and all my gratitude are yours.
It isn’t easy writing and admitting this kind of stuff because it can either appear self indulgent or a bit whiny. But the reality is that the life I’ve lived has been amazing and I’m now in a period of change. As with all changes, it doesn’t happen overnight and can be painful. Maybe this is my mid-life crisis. Maybe it isn’t. Either way, I apologise to you all most sincerely for not having brought the laughter that I used to.
But the good news is that having been in the dark for far too long, the light is returning. The confidence is starting to swell and the smile is reaching the eyes. And the laughter is back.
It happened in a public place. A public convenience as it happened. In my moment of thinking about something else, it was to my great surprise that I discovered that the hand dryer in the gents wasn’t working. But then, why would it? I’d had my hands under an empty towel dispenser for twenty seconds, much to the enjoyment of the guy stood watching me.
It would appear that I’m still the same pillock I always was.
It is good to finally be back.