When I journal I always fill out a gratitude template of 6 things I’m grateful for but reading Tynan’s recent gratitude blog post has inspired me to follow in his foot steps and write my own yearly gratitude post. I want to develop as a writer and content creator for personal development and to help better understand my own thoughts so hopefully I will see you this time next year as well!
I’m really grateful for having a stable home. I tried hard to make Madrid work but after a painful breakup followed by the lockdown in 2020 it didn’t feel like a home any more. After re-learning to drive and spending 6 months living out of my car whilst travelling Spain, eventually I moved to Valencia and got a long term rental. I’ve been in Valencia for just over a year now and my flat is the longest place I’ve been able to call home since leaving England in 2014.
There’s art on the walls, rugs on the floor, books on the shelves, blankets on the sofa and Lego tucked away in different places. I’m writing this from Morocco and when I get home, everything will be as I have left it and I even describe it as a ‘home’ as opposed to ‘where I am staying’. My car is even parked in the car park!
I don’t really have much family so I am extremely grateful for the friends I’ve made and kept. I’ve been described by others as an introvert, which I’d agree with. Making, and keeping, genuine connections is extremely important to me but it is incredibly challenging to maintain those relationships with all the travelling that I have done over the years. I consider myself lucky to still be in contact with great friends in England, Norway, Thailand and Vietnam!
I’ve been in Valencia for just over a year now and have a fantastic circle of friends who, like me, travelled there at the tail end of the Covid pandemic to make a new home. Together we’ve had boardgame nights, barbecues, travelled all around Spain and to other countries like Morocco, we’ve even invested in each other’s businesses. Last year my birthday party was described by many as the best party they’ve ever been to, in part thanks to one of my new friends, Kenn, offering to DJ it. Two more friends got married last month and other’s are talking marriage and babies. These guys have helped me get over the lonliness of the pandemic, being hospitalised with pneumonia since getting Covid, several breakups and an irrational fear of public transport thanks to the media. I am truely blessed.
With the world opening back up I’m really grateful to be able to travel again. Driving around Spain was fun but being able to fly is even more fun. The original plan when moving to Spain was to visit more of Europe, which is back on the cards, but I’ve also discovered how accessible Morocco is! There’s a metro stop right outside my flat and it only costs €1 to get to the airport. Flights from Valencia, Spain to Agadir, Morocco are as low as €8, so for €18 it’s possible to get to Morocco and back again!
Since getting diabetes I’ve been forced to make a lot of decisions which are good in the long term but hard in the short term. I’m extremely grateful for those decisions and my health. I’m on insulin therapy now but my recent bloodwork show me to be in good health and blood glucose testing kits and insulin so far have been available easily. I have both feet, I’m able to see with out glasses and everything still works.
My business endeavours and teams have grown year on year. When I left the UK on 1st September, 2014, the original plan was simply to go to Thailand to get my health back and create a clean slate to relaunch my life from, before traveling to Poland to train with the European Security Academy and become a private military contractor. Deposits were paid, background checks were completed and I was due to start training 1st June 2015, before getting diagnosed with diabetes and having to cancel the courses on 11th May 2015.
Since then I pivoted and focused more on business, leadership, teams and marketing and in that time have been able to scale multiple businesses, have a successful acquisition and more recently invest in other people’s businesses, ideas and artwork, whilst still being able to live and work remotely. I am able to live the kind of life people dream about and write about and am incredibly grateful for that.
It might sound silly, but I’m grateful I started this blog. Originally the blog was just a fun coding exercise with a CRM I’d built for a job board. I wrote my own ORM before I knew what an ORM was and an MVC that used XML and XSLT to generate HTML, before APIs and SPAs were a thing back in 2002. The first post was 5th January, 2008, when I launched the code base as a blog to simply document my notes from work.
Since then I’ve migrated to WordPress and published 237 posts, of various quality, which have allowed me to reflect on my journey. Yesterday I found this old post from February 2013 where I dissed Pat Flynn (sorry Pat) and made the proud proclamation that I’d made £0.33. You’ve got to start somewhere and it’s quite humbling looking back and seeing some of the steps that lead me to where I am now.
Lastly, I’m extremely grateful to you guys, my readers. I know a lot of you come here to learn about changing the DRAC password on Dell hardware or how to create an NPM repository mirror, and I’m glad I’m able to help you solve the same problems I encountered during my IT career. Hopefully my writings might also help other disillusioned system administrators or software developers find a way out, if you need or want one, to a healthier way of life. After all, shift work is associated with higher rates of diabetes.
The featured photo is from the surf camp in Morocco I’m currently staying at. Being able to visit here, get surf lessons, warmth and sunshine is incredibly valuable for my mental health, and it’s hard to not be grateful whilst writing this with this view.