It's 2019 tomorrow, and time for me to list out the best moments of 2018.
The nice little tradition I partake where I stroll through my social media history as I don't remember everything. It's like finishing the bottom of the peanut butter jar.
2018 was a transformative year, with organising a wedding with my wife to keeping fit in the gym. I look back on it and feel quite proud about keeping to the goals I wanted to achieve. Not like every other year where I list out what I want, eat too many koeksisters and download Xbox games.
Actually, I still did that AND set to my goals.
But in light of being now married and happier than ever before, it's still good to look back and see what happened. To reflect on the actions, acknowledge what I managed to do and look forward to what is ahead. Like selective surgery, a fight night and a one-man show.
- Reached one year without smoking
- Got married
- Played at the Cape Town Comedy Club
- Got fit at boxing
- Released "The Proposal"
- Hung out with the UK boys in Cape Town
- Attended the Cape Town International Film Festival Premiere
1. Reached one year without smoking
This was the second biggest highlight of my whole year, ensuring I hadn't given up giving up. And the temptation was all around, from quick rollies to cigars at poker nights.
My biggest regret has always been taking on this habit. I remember it well when I did, back in England. I was at the British Queen in Wanstead, working with a pony-tail guy called Nicholas. He offered and I wanted to make a friend, so I obliged and he taught me to roll my own.
From then on, 17 years of trying to stop once more. And it's not easy, regardless of what anyone says. To the non-smokers, you have a great life. But you haven't achieved anything if you didn't hit rockbottom to come back up and take a deep breath again.
2. Got married
Well of COURSE this is the biggest highlight of my year. Me and Samantha are happy, we're in love every single day and I push myself harder than before. Because I'm compelled to be better, not expected or forced to.
The year threw some good challenges with planning the wedding, but we pulled it off. My one highlight was planning my wedding gift to her, playing guitar in front of everyone on the night. But she didn't know, and the sarcasm that came from her each night I left to practise was hilarious.
As for the experience, so mind-blowing. The venue, the Jack Black Taproom in Diep River, was the correct setting and the staff were brilliant. They enjoyed the alternative catering option of preparing meals outside. The ceremony with Tim Attwell was delighful and short. CrossCurrent, three young guys with original music played us great tunes. And Joe worked his magic as MC, we were proud of his professionalism and keeping under pressure.
3. Played at the Cape Town Comedy Club
After my previous relationship, I was fearful of performing comedy on a bigger stage. In spite of that, Samantha has believed in me and given me better strength than I ever had alone.
And so, when the opportunity arose to perform once more at Cape Town's premiere stage, I took it. And I loved it. It was so much fun and I nailed every night I had. Roll on March 12-17 2019!!
4. Got fit at boxing
What helped quitting smoking was a goal to look good for the wedding, and choosing boxing to get fit was right. The guys at the Armoury Boxing Gym are excellent and helpful.
There's also a great sense of comaraderie I hadn't felt anywhere else. I guess comedy should've been that. It might have been due to the constant repetition and "keep at it" attitude that has helped.
Sufficed to say, I've improved my stamina and fitness, and look better than I had in years. Christmas added a few of the kilos back on again, but it's not a bother. I'm heading towards a new goal of lasting 3 rounds on Fight Night in March, so fingers crossed.
5. Released "The Proposal"
That ass-hat of a film was finally finished, and it took a long time. Time to learn how to work with the high-end RAW files I received. Dealing with low-quality sound. Incomplete scenes as we weren't allowed back thanks to one of the actors stealing money. Heads cut off at the top.
And no help from anybody else in the editing process despite repeated requests. It left a bitter taste in my mouth, but I'm resolved to continue on. Later this year I will retry yet another go at filming again.
In spite of it, I'm proud to have completed it.
6. Hung out with the UK boys in Cape Town
In conjunction with the wedding, three of my oldest friends came through from London. Keith, Ben and his nephew Arron flew down and we had an amazing experience exploring bits of Cape Town.
From the game reserve at Aquila, to shark cage diving at Gansbaai. The boys lapped it all up and then some, and enjoyed every minute of their time spent here.
I also felt grateful for their generosity at paying for most things using the British pound. But more for taking the time to be here and spend a holiday with us and attend the wedding. Thanks guys.
7. Attended the Cape Town International Film Festival Premiere
Oh, this was a fun one. Sam is in the film industry and received tickets to this exclusive event. And we dolled up quite well, she in her wonderful piece and me in a tuxedo.
We sauntered down the red carpet and even got into the promotional video, it was glitzy. The only spoilage was having to defend my fiance from a jibe for wearing the same dress. "Sad" does not describe my Samantha.
Special mention: Losing a lovely friend (not the best moment)
January started with the news that an old colleague, Simon, passed away at 35 from a heart attack. He was a fantastic designer with a quirky sense of humour, loved odd books and adored fonts. It broke me knowing that poor guy won't be designing again.
I attended his funeral, saw old colleagues again and wished everyone well. I still have his face on my wall, reminding me not to falter any longer. I think his loss gave me more motivation than I realised, which is why I've included this in the list.
And in fun tradition, here's a gallery of the best highlights from 2018. Enjoy.