Nostalgia……It’s not what it used to be.

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I have often found myself drifting off to the past and reliving times of days gone by and more often than not I do so with fondness and affection.

Songs, words, sights and smells often take me into my memories and I slowly drift off into the past and a smile crosses my lips as I remember events at school, church, college, football and home.

With the memories of these times comes the memories of the people that I shared those golden days with.

Why is it that in my memories every day in the summer was red hot????

Memories of primary school sports days, trips to ‘Carlton camp’, football at the Astro or at St Josephs, Moving to St Michaels, Skiing trips, great memories of St Michaels, snowball fights, teachers and general laughter. Memoreies of Sixth form at Bede, moving to Lichfield and then onto Southport. Argyle Rd, The Cellar, Cream reserves (Double cup winning team), Scoring the equaliser and setting up the winner at Haig ave, Trips around the UK and Europe with Uniited, Great nights in Waverleys, Shoreline church and the memories of 12 fantastic years living and wrking in ‘The Port’. All of the people that I met and share memories and experiences with from those times. The friendships that have came from those times and more recently in Sedbergh and Lancaster.

Not all memories or positive of course but as I indulge myself and take another trip on the nostalgia express I find myself ever more thankful for the times that I shared with some fantastic people.

As always there is a hint of sadness at missed opportunities or at the fact that my adult self would approach things differently, and may have enhanced my experience or limited the hurt I may have caused to others.

As they say ‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing…….’ They do say that don’t they? Who are they? Whoever they are, I certainly find it to be a true statement.

Looking back brings a comfort and often it is like putting on an old familiar jumper, that makes you feel warm and snug. As I have said there is sometimes a hint of sadness or even regret as the times have passed and cannot be changed, ultimately they have led me to the place and person that I am today.

In this day and age of social media it is a great thing that nostalgia is no longer such a brutal companion as those people that we ‘did life with’ in the past are easy to connect with and keep updated on.

Through Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc it is easy to stay in touch with the people that I have crossed paths with in this journey of life.

I love the fact that with a few clicks of a button or even without at times, see how those that I was once close to (in proximity or affection) are getting on and where life has taken them. I can comment on their statuses or like their updates and I genuinely feel that the link between the past and the present is much smaller.

It helps me to get a glimpse of how the story is continuing and feels less like one of those annoying films that finish without a satisfactory conclusion.

With all of this said I do still look back a lot and usually with a lot of fondness, and event though contact may not be what it once was between us, I am genuinely thankful for those people who have had an influence on my life.

To those people,  whether we are in frequent contact or not, I want to say….Thanks for the memories.

You stay classy

Get them told……….

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“When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.” Zig Ziglar

“Get them told…..” is a phrase we often hear when somebody has upset or hurt us. We are talking to a friend about an injustice that has happened to us and what comes back may be “Get them told” or words to that effect.

I think the same should be true of people that make our lives easier, people that help us practically, that encourage us, that make life more fun, bearable, stable, pain free etc.

It is easy to assume that those people know how we feel about them but maybe today we need to “Get them told….”
You know who those people are in your life, whether it be family friends or colleagues, partners or relatives.

In life I often encounter people whose life has been affected by the words that people say to them, they have been told they are “failure”, “not good enough”, “ugly”, “stupid” etc. They have not had people tell them how great they are or how much they mean to someone.

I see it in the counselling room, with young people i have worked with, colleagues, friends and everywhere else that people are.

In my role as a Youth pastor I get the privilege of working with some tremendous young people. They inspire me, encourage me and challenge me each and every day, so I “get them told…..”.

I am always telling them ( and anyone else who will listen) how awesome that they are. I don’t do it for effect or because I think I should. I do it because it’s true. They are a talented and intelligent bunch but they are also thoughtful, caring, considerate, driven and creative people who are just excellent to be around.

I endeavour to let people who make my life better know the value that I place on them and the person that they are. I do feel though that I can be better and that sometimes I think I should get in touch with someone, but i decide to put it off until later.

I would like encourage you to think of those people in your lives who make it better and “Get them told”. Call them, text them, tweet, facebook or email them just get them told…….

Some people who you know, who you spend time with, who you may be friends with, are unaware of how great they are and possibly how great you think they are, and that just won’t do.

So stop what you’re doing and “Get them told…..”

What do you want to do?

“Who are we, if not measured by our impact on others? That’s who we are! We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be – we are the sum of the impact and influence we have, in our lives, on others” Carl Sagan

What do you want to do?

I don’t just mean right now, I mean overall?

This is a question I have asked myself over the years and continue to do so.

When I was younger, it was focused on what I wanted to achieve. Things such as career, relationships and qualifications used to regularly feature in the responses of myself to the question I was asking of myself.

I wanted to be a footballer, a ninja, a turtle, a ninja turtle, Rocky Balboa, a Thundercat and many other things….

As time went on it became more short term and the question maybe moved from “What do I want to do?” to “What do I want to do next?”

This was due to life being busier and the day to day mundane things then inhibited me from answering “What do I want to do” and it was more of a case of “What do I have time to do?”

Asking myself the question again lately has led to some pondering. Yes I am now of the age where I ponder. I don’t just think………I ponder.

Anyway, I was pondering the question and at a time in life where I am busier than I have ever been and have so much more going on, I feel that I have the answer to this question.

I want to be a positive influence on others!

It sounds simple, and it sounds obvious, and maybe it is, but wherever I find myself I want to be a positive influence.

I want to be a positive presence in the lives of my family, friends, colleagues, the young people I serve and anyone else that I have the pleasure of coming into contact with.

I have a deep rooted desire to help people achieve, to grow and to squeeze out of themselves every drop of God given potential.

I hope and pray that I can be an influence, however large or small on people and helping them in seeing just how awesome that they are.

One of the biggest problems in today’s world is that people do not realise how significant, tremendous and awesome that they are. We accept other peoples value of us, we accept their limitations and labels whether it is due to social class, demographics, qualifications or a million other sticks that can be used to beat us into the box they have for us,

I want to be the person that says “Hey you, yeah you, you’re awesome”.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking less often of yourself”

Most of all, I want to be a person of integrity and of example in the lives of those that I get to share time and space with.

At thirty something years of age I have finally figured out what I want to do and also that I want to do it for the rest of my life.

I was watching the film ‘Gladiator’ the other night and it really is a superb film with many great quotes, which one of my favourites is….. “What we do today echoes in eternity”

So, What do you want to do?

Well hello there…….

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style”  Maya Angelou

I think a lot!! Sometimes I think that my thoughts are too good to keep to myself so I share them. I then realise that in some cases I am correct and in others, they aren’t that great.

For that reason I decided to start this blog so that more people can decide which thoughts are good and which parts of my stream of consciousness are simply, nonsensical drivel.

The quote at the top of this blog is a mission statement that I have adopted for my life.

I love life, love to have fun, meet new people and to be a positive influence in the lives of those people I have the privilege of being around.

In this blog you can expect honesty, funny stories, witty anecdotes and occasionally maybe even something insightful.

If you are reading this, then I thank you, and I hope that you stick around to help me realise whether indeed I should keep my thoughts to myself.

Keep it real and stay classy,

Ian