Or rather, Older Me but with new knowledge and wisdom compared to a year ago. This time last year I was wandering along a warm beach on the West African coast with my wife and children.
Exactly a year later and I am sheltering from the rain in my parents’ box room, in my pyjamas, sitting on the same bed I slept on for a decade during my formative years. Single. Alone. Broke.
I really shouldn’t have bought myself an iPad Air Christmas pressie – 128GB with 4G no less – to cheer myself up.
But, actually, it’s not so lonely. I have three baby nieces – ranging in age from 2 months to 2 years – to look after. Screaming, vomiting, pooping. I’ve done it all tonight.
They’ll be gone tomorrow, though. So I can be lonely again.
It’s been a year of firsts for Jay Islaam:
- First Divorce
- First Date in eight years
- First African Holiday
- First Trip to Thailand
- First Stand-up Performance
- First Gig at Edinburgh Fringe
- First Blacklisting by a promoter
- First Paid Gigs
- First Comedy Prizes
- First Blog – the one you’re reading now
And just yesterday, I received my first nomination for a Comedy Award. No, really. Apparently, I am a “Rising Star” of the Midlands Comedy Scene. Which, to be honest, given my five months on the comedy circuit is ludicrous, as the “Rising Star” is a category for people who have been going a few years but recently found a new gear performance-wise. A more appropriate category would have been “Best New Act” but even that would be a bit too early a recognition considering my sub-six month apprenticeship as a stand-up comedian.
(There are a lot of good names on that New Act nominations list, by the way, but Russ Mulligan will probably get my vote as I love his willingness to experiment. He’s like the Heston Blumenthal of comedians.)
So what do I want to achieve over the coming year? I can sum that up pretty simply: I want to be a better person than I am. I’ve come to the realisation that all of my failures, and ironically all of my achievements, over the past twelve months were down to my serious character flaws. I need to be healthier, in mind and body, for me to find true self-actualisation. (Sorry – been hanging out with shrinks.)
I started performing comedy with the expectation that it would fill a gaping hole in my personal fulfillment. And it did. Temporarily.
But, having spent most of 2013 alone, I now realise that happiness comes from real relationships – friendship, family, love – and the laughter and applause of strangers is a saccharine substitute.
Having said that, my hopes for the end of 2014 are:
- To be healthier than I am right now.
- To be in a happy relationship with a non-mental.
- To have seen a part of the world that I’ve never seen before.
- (Which basically means South America or the Pacific Islands.)
- To have performed at three different festivals.
- Oh, and a little national recognition would be nice. 😉
Not asking for much, is it…?