Earlier this year I decided to change my life forever. On 30th January 2014 I made my way down to Dorset to attend the funeral of my Grandmother May... her passing reminded me of two facts: life is too short not to grasp every opportunity and life is far too long to regret the big choices you didn't make.
In my eyes adopting a child is one of the most amazing things someone can ever do. To give a child a loving and stable family life is a gift beyond compare. For England's 6,000 children hoping to be adopted, every day is a desperate wait. Another day spent longing for the love and support that, through no fault of their own, they are currently being denied. Everyone involved with these brave children wants to see them all get the family they deserve. To make sure each of their dreams come true we need a system that gives them the chance at a new life as quickly and effectively as possible.
In the working population, the word retirement generally conjures up wistful thoughts of long lie-ins, lazy days, unlimited opportunities to pursue hobbies and the chance to finally get around to doing all of the things that you've never quite had time for. Is that really the reality of retirement though, and what can my 30-something generation expect in later life?
I never neglected my babies, they knew they were loved and they always had everything they needed but I certainly wasn't hands on. I did a great deal of remote control parenting. You know the kind of parenting I mean right? When you're too tired to move from your position on the couch so you shout instructions from there and generally say yes to anything your offspring request just to make it easier on yourself.
Try to find some time for yourself. Oh right. Golly, I hadn't thought of that! You are sooooo right. I do need sleep. And food. Who knew? If I could have more rest/time to eat and sleep, then believe me, I sodding would. With or without this incredible insight, top tip and humble permission of yours!
I'm so appreciative of my mom's hard work, the generosity of our guests, family flying in, and my wonderful step kids, but I just need a break from the craziness. I've shut myself in my room to write this right now and am longingly staring at the trees swaying in the wind. I yearn to be calm as they are; I long to be at peace in nature. I need an escape from the noise.
My family, it appears, are a 'bunch of ugly, sad losers'. My wife is so 'desperate' to leave me that she will '**** the next man she has a drink with'. My beautiful children are, variously, 'pathetic... spoilt... probably adopted' because I am 'unable to get it up... a waste of space... a miserable, untalented tosser'. Worst of all though, my kitchen is 'hideous'. So this is what being trolled feels like... The other week I wrote what I felt was a thought-provoking, if slightly tongue-in-cheek, confessional about my enforced 12-month sabbatical as a stay-at-home dad trying to set up a new business after sudden redundancy.
Like an ever-increasing number of people, we have a growing interest in our families' origins. But also because, as journalists, we can't help but be aware that migration is one of the biggest challenges facing the world we live in. So it's only natural that as the son and grandson of immigrants, we're irresistibly tempted to use our own families' pasts as a way of examining the present and the future.
Losing friends or family always makes you contemplate about life. Maybe it's also about being older and having different priorities, understanding that it's not the material things that really make a difference or bring happiness. When I was told the news that my friend had passed away I remember my immediate reaction was 'I thought there was more time.'