Sports – Films – Reviews – Life Stories – Video Games It's all here on The Rif Files.
‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.’
– Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
Yesterday I was 29 years old.
That whole exciting period of my life, that whole decade, when I’m learning to become my own person, is now behind me. Within that time, I learned that life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself. All of that has prepared me for this one day.
Today, November 20th, 2016, I turn 30 years old.
Wow. How did it go by so fast? Where did all the years go? Time seems to move much slower when you’re a kid. A year or a summer seemed to go on forever when I was young. The 90’s felt like a century, whereas anything past 2011 seemed like five minutes. As you get older time seems to pass you by. It’s a reminder that you really need to live for the moment and make the most of your life.
I’ve been doing some reflecting on my life over the past few months, especially since September when my friend from Primary School turned 30.
As the minutes counted down to midnight, I had all these thoughts running through my head. It didn’t hit me just how blessed I really am until that very moment when the clock struck midnight. A floodgate in my mind burst wide open and a wave of emotions took over me.
Tears were shed, I admit.
‘I’ve seen things you people won’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.’
-Roy Batty (Blade Runner)
This may sound corny, but it was as if my life played out before me as I waited for the clock to hit 12. It didn’t flash before me, not at all, it stretched on for what seemed like forever. It was like watching a movie full of the best bits of my life.
For me, those best moments included moving out of my family home for the first time, aged 18, to go and live with my mates, damn I miss those days so much. We had some laughs. 24-hour party people, that was us. I remember we all used to pile into this one car and drive all over Sunderland. We would drive to a late-night screening at the local cinema, and we just used to stay up late sharing stories, playing music on the radio, and laughing so hard that it hurt. There was this one time where we all skipped school just so we could go to the cinema to see 8-Mile. My parents didn’t know about that……unless they read this (sorry, mam). Every Christmas and Birthday spent with my family. The magic of Christmas never leaves you. Christmas becomes more and more special as you get older as you want to savor it all and save it in your mind forever because you never know when your loved ones won’t be there anymore. That’s why I always take time out to think about my cousin Liam who died in 2012. My first girlfriend, that was sweet, or just this year when I went to Dallas, Texas with my brother to attend WrestleMania. My ultimate goal in life accomplished. It makes it even more special that I did it in the year that I turn 30. There were many more but those were the ones that really stick out.
The one thing that people fear the most is missing out. The meaning of life, in my eyes, is all about fully experiencing everything you want to experience before it’s time to go. You don’t want to end up on your deathbed thinking ‘what if’ or ‘I wish I did this’. No one should ever feel like that. I’ll never feel like that. I’ve lived my life. I’ve lead a great, interesting life. I’ve accomplished things that I never expected to accomplish. I’ve lived an extraordinary life, and that’s all down to you people. This blog isn’t just about me; it’s about you guys, too. You guys have shown me a lot of love over the years, and I felt it, and I’m sending the love straight back at you. I really can’t put into words just how much your love, support, friendship, words of encouragement and laughter have meant to me. Your contributions to my life are thankful beyond words. You guys are my mentors, my teachers, my guides, and my favorite people. You’ve helped me become the person that I am today and for that, I am forever grateful.
‘It’s only love, it’s only pain. It’s only fear that runs through my veins. It’s all the things you can’t explain. That make us human.’
– ‘Human’ (Civil Twilight)
Since this blog is all about my life it’s only right for me to open up about my past and talk about my regrets.
I live my life with a ton of regret. There was a time where I used to be a bully to others. I’ve hurt a lot of people along the way, people who did not deserve to be treated the way I did. Acting the way that I did give me a sense of empowerment over others, but at what cost? It’s not fun being that guy, believe me. It’s something that haunts me to this day. I’m not proud of it. Perhaps feeling this way is my punishment. If I could turn back time I would. I would go back to those days and ask myself what the hell are you doing? Why are you being this way to others? I can’t change what I did in the past. It’s impossible to do so. I would love to have the opportunity to talk to the people I hurt and ask for forgiveness. I would love to right the wrongs of my past, I just fear the rejection the most. Perhaps I deserve it, who knows. Even if they don’t accept my apology they’ll know where my heart stands.
My love life has been up and down over the years. We’ve all been through it, right? Love is a crazy thing. I haven’t been in a relationship since 2011. It was a solid, loving relationship between two people who loved each other very much.
Then I went ahead and ruined it all.
I was unfaithful in the relationship.
The look of hurt and betrayal on her face when I admitted my guilt will forever be etched in my mind for as long as I live. Why did I do it? Because I’m a dickhead. Plain and simple. It caused a massive rift between us for years. I often wonder how different things could have been had I not been so stupid. Perhaps we could have ended up getting married. Was she the one? who knows? Thankfully we patched things up, and that’s more important as I would rather have her in my life as a friend than not have her in my life at all. She’s moved on and is now married with a young son, and as I write this, I’m pleased to announce that she’s expecting her second child in March of next year, just a few days short of her 30th. I’m well made up for her. I wish her, her husband, and her kids, all the happiness and luck in the world.
My experience with girls has taught me that you only get one great girl in your life. You might have other good girls, but only one great girl that you will never ever forget about for the rest of your life I promise you. Do not let that great girl go, and do whatever it takes to keep her cause you’ll forever regret letting her walk away.
It’s been five now since my last relationship and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I will never date again. It just isn’t going to happen.
I take full responsibility for every negative action I’ve ever committed in my life. I had the choice to do the right thing, but choose to go down the negative route. I wasn’t forced, bullied or peer pressured into doing anything. I choose to do it, for reasons I just don’t have or give, and I paid the price for it. You learn from your mistakes. I’m living proof of that.
My twenties saw me come face to face with my demons and I came out a winner. There would be times where I would look in the mirror and hate the person in the reflection. When you get that low the changes need to be rung.
I stopped drinking alcohol in 2012. It was New Year’s Eve, just as the New Year was being drawn in, I made a vow to give up drinking and taking various narcotics. If anyone says that drugs are good for you or if this type of drug won’t have any side effects, take it from me, it’s all divvy talk. I know what I’m talking about, trust me.
I’ve been clean and sober for four years now and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t say I was an alcoholic, I just used alcohol as an excuse to block out negative thoughts and various incidences which occurred in my past. Nearly fell off the wagon in early 2013, but managed to hop back on thanks to help from various professionals.
If you have problems or troubles in your life, please speak out. Don’t keep it bottled up, that’s just a recipe for disaster. There are people out there who can help you out. Your friends and family won’t think any less of you if you just speak out. If I can do it, you can do it.
‘When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes and heartache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, learned lessons, and pride in myself’
If there’s any young people or people struggling to find their way in life reading this, or even if I had the chance to go back in time to talk to my 20-year-old self, I would say this to you. Since I’m officially an “old man” (yes, I admit it, I’m old) I should have some advice I want to pass down to the next generation.
*Don’t worry about the future. It’s pointless. Yes the future is a scary thing, no one knows for certain how Trump’s America will turn out, or if Brexit was a smart idea. No one knows for sure what’s going to happen in five years’ time, six months’ time, or even in five minutes time. Worry about the present. Your future has yet to be written. Plant the seeds now for a positive future.
*Don’t listen to the naysayers! Don’t be discouraged by their criticism. Don’t pay attention to the fear of failure. Just because you fail the first time that doesn’t mean you should give up. Just remember that FAIL means ‘First Attempt In Learning’. The naysayers are only there to put you down, plant seeds of doubt in your head. Their job is to put you down, your job is to get back on your feet and prove them wrong. You can do it!
*Forget the insults, only remember the compliments. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. If you do succeed in doing this, you are the strongest person I know.
*Do your thing, and do it unapoligetically. Take ownership, take chances, and have fun. And no matter what, through all the ups and downs, don’t stop doing your thing.
*Go out of your way to make someone happy. Even it’s something like a simple complement. Your actions and words can change that person’s day for the better.
*Treat others the way you would like to be treated. If everybody did just that, most of the world’s problems would be solved.
*School truly is the best days of your life. You may not see that now, but trust me, they are.
*Don’t let the small things in life pass you by. Learn to appreciate them. Sometimes the small things can make the big things happen.
*Friends come and go, but only a special few will hold on. Treasure your friendships, don’t take them for granted.
*Take steps every day to be a positive influence to everyone around you. Treat people the way you’ll like to be treated. Show tolerance and respect. Be a star! Win every day!
*Be respectable and reliable. Don’t be concerned about getting respect, flip it over. Give respect, receive respect. Being reliable also gives you respect. Be on time, trustworthy, and accountable. When you say, do, and when you promise, deliver. That’s what champions are made of.
*Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
*There will be a time where you’ll look back at old photographs of yourself. I’ve been doing a ton of that in the build up to this blog. Just look back on them fondly. Just think about the time that photo was taken and take back to how much possibility laid before you.
*Don’t feel bad or guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. It took me till the age of 26 to finally work out what I wanted to do with my life. I actually know people in their 30’s who still don’t know what to do with their lives.
*In the words of Huey Lewis, it’s hip to be square. You know what? It’s true. Don’t be ashamed or who you are or change your personality to fit in with others. It’s cool to be different. You’re original, embrace it.
*Maintain a positive mental attitude no matter what happens around you. Continue to search for that silver lining that will turn your negative into a positive.
*Allow others to see you at rock bottom. Don’t be ashamed to cry.
*Don’t waste your time on jealousy. You can’t live your life in bitterness.
*It’s okay to remember the past, but always remember to keep on living in the present and keep an eye open on the future. Life is about moving forward, accepting changes and looking forward to new experiences that will make you stronger and more complete. The past is exactly that. Learn from what you can from it, cherish your memories, and move on. Stay focused on the many great things that are going to happen for you in your future. Living in the past, there’s no future in it.
*Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
*Travel! I can’t stress that enough. The world doesn’t start and end in your backyard. It’s a big world we live in. Get out there, and experience the beauty this world has to offer.
*Drop the negative people in your life. Drop caring about your past mistakes. Drop the past. Drop the false image of yourself. Drop feeling sorry for yourself. Drop saying yes all the time.
*Get to know your parents, you’ll never know when they’ll be gone for good.
*As one door closes another one opens but we’re too busy looking at the closed door to notice.
*What goes around does come around. Life isn’t always fair. Live everyday like it might be your last because good or bad, you never know what’s around the corner.
‘I Can so all things through Christ who strengthens me’
There you have it. This is me. That’s a summary of my life. I’m still trying to get over that fact that I’m now 30. It just creeps up on you, right?
There are a ton of people I want to thank. I’m not going to name names in fear that I leave someone out, but you know who you are.
Growing up happens in a heartbeat. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. As a kid I had big dreams and I lived through them. I’m still here, not broke, not broken – but a ton of scars remain.
I’m here at the present of my story.
I say “present” not the “end” because I don’t believe my best years are behind me, and I don’t believe that we’ve reached the “end” of anything.
Think of this as a step back from everything that has happened over the past 30 years and to acknowledge and reflect on everything that has come before.
As we move into 2017, I encourage you all to do so with an open heart. Go after those dreams and attack those goals. I dream huge and it has gotten me this far.
Like I said, here I am. Not really where I expected to be, or even necessarily where I hoped to be, but then, who is?
It’s actually pretty much all right.
Everybody worries about something, it’s a natural part of life. At aged sixteen, eighteen, my greatest anxiety in life was that I’d never achieve anything pure, or noble, or true in life.
But that was when I was a young ‘un.
I’m 30 years old now, and I like to think I’m a lot wiser and cooler about these things.
Life has been kind to me.
Thank you guys for everything you’re ever done for me in my 30 years. It was much appreciated.
Here’s to the next 30 years.
Andy “RIF” Sheriff