Smile Like You Mean It

It’s the end of another bad day at work. Standing on a freezing cold platform in a train station in the heart of London, I’m finding solace in the old tunes of The Killers.

Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town were two albums that were basically the anthem of my 20s. Just listening to The Killers again has re-ignited memories of those days… Simpler days, spent scooping popcorn in a multi-plex cinema and hanging out with friends.

Low pay and menial work. But good friends and cheap alcohol.

I’ve come a hell of a long way since then. A house. A family. A career. But it’s different. I mean of course it’s different. More responsibilities lead to more stress. And stress makes it easy to forget all the happy things in my life.

Family. A warm home. And Christmas on the horizon 😊 These are the things I want to remember, not stress and negativity.

So here’s what I’ve been grateful for recently 🙂

Bach to Baby

My wife and I took our son Zack to this musical performance for children.

This ‘concert’ is a small but lovely affair where toddlers are free to roam around, dance and sing. It’s a great way to expose them to some classical music in a public venue without anyone getting annoyed by toddlers being toddlers.

Zack seemed to be less interested in the music than he was in the giant buggy park. Nevertheless, it was a fun trip 🙂

Meeting Santa

Zack also visited Santa Claus at a shopping mall. This was his second year doing it, so he was far more aware of what was happening this time.

Alas… while he loved the decorations he wasn’t too enamoured by the jolly man himself!

Hyper Japan Winter

This is a much smaller version of the main Hyper Japan expo that takes place every summer.

When I say this is a smaller version, I really mean it’s a fraction of the size. But I still had fun here. Japanese food, free sake, and some cool merchandise to admire. What’s not to love?

I even spotted some designer cups related to my beloved Final Fantasy series.

Alas… no cup can be worth £75 in my opinion. It’s a metal cup, not the Holy Grail!

Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival

And speaking of Final Fantasy, this MMO had a fan festival in Las Vegas recently 🙂

Okay, so I didn’t actually attend it… Flights and accommodation aren’t exactly cheap 😝 Fortunately the game’s developers had the good sense to livestream the conferences on Twitch, so fans all over the world could tune in.

Naoki Yoshida (known affectionately to the gaming community as Yoshi P) took to the stage to announce the game’s newest expansion arriving in 2019.

This was the announcement I was hoping to see at E3 earlier this year. And honestly… it blew my mind! The story is progressing in an intriguing direction I had previously pondered over but never really expected. I’m incredibly excited for this to get released! 😀

There was also a concert performed by my favourite band, The Primals. Unfortunately this was not livestreamed for legal reasons. But I did see a few screenshots on social media and it looked epic!

I remain hopeful that one day I can see the exceptionally talented Masayoshi Soken and his band of Primals perform live.

Christmas Decorations

Elle and I have begun the process of decorating our new home for Christmas 🙂

It’s going to take a bit longer than usual… in the past we only had to decorate our one-bedroom flat. Now we have an entire house! Nevertheless I am excited for the festive season.

Will all my excitement be negated by work stress? Almost certainly. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let that kill the precious memories I’m making every day of my life.

So bring it on, life. I’m still here. And I’m still fighting for my right to be happy.

Thanks for reading, folks! 🙂

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