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So today is the last day I write this blog for over 2 weeks.
As I said on Monday, I’m off on holiday – and while I’m sure you find this incredible, given the amount of time off I’ve had this year – the fact is it’s true.
I leave tomorrow, return 9th December, then 2 weeks after that we have Christmas holidays then New Year holidays and then – literally a couple of weeks after that – Chinese New Year holidays.
And to think some people don’t actually want to move here. Fools.
Anyway, as it’s the last post for the next 2 weeks [and it will be, because Jill will kick me in the head if she so much as see’s me use any technology while we’re away] I want to leave you all with a bit of a sentimental post.
“Oh no” I hear you cry.
But I’m asking you to bear with me on this. At least for a little bit.
I was recently in another city for work.
I was sat at the desk in my hotel room, looking out at the bustling city as the sun was starting to set on a beautiful – if bitterly cold – day.
Some nondescript music was playing in the background when my attention was suddenly drawn to a Facebook message that had just come through.
I looked down and saw it was a message from someone I had literally not seen – or spoken to – for 19 years.
Now I need to give you a bit of background on this character.
Many, many years ago, I was in a band.
We were quite good, had quite a following and big things were expected of us.
Anyway, along the way, we acquired a bunch of mates who all helped us out in different ways.
Some with transportation. Some with publicity. Some just coming to every gig.
One of these mates was our bass players flatmate.
Despite being quite a bit older than us and having experienced a rather ‘textured’ life … he was a good man and really wanted us to do well.
Anyway, one day, I went to our bass players house only to find that his flatmate had gone.
He’d packed his stuff and left without a note.
He’d also left with one of my guitars.
It wasn’t an overly expensive guitar, but it was still mine.
I was obviously fucked off, but it was apparent he had bigger issues in his life so just accepted it was ‘one of those things’.
Zoom forward 19 years and here he was, messaging me via Facebook.
I responded warmly, because  I was genuinely interested to hear why he had got in touch and  despite the incident with the guitar, I had always liked him.
Within seconds, I got a reply.
It was an apology.
A request for forgiveness.
He said he had always felt terrible about stealing my guitar but he had found himself in trouble that required him to leave Nottingham in a hurry and to do that, he had to get as much money as he could as quickly as he could.
He wanted me to know this incident had always played on his mind and he felt he just had to reach out and say sorry and face the consequences, because he honestly felt he could not move forward properly unless he addressed this issue.
I read this email a number of times.
Over and over again.
He he was, a man of 50, pouring his heart out to someone he’d not seen or spoken to for 19 years about an incident that – while wrong – was relatively small in the big scheme of things.
I wrote back to him.
I said the only thing I was really upset about was that he hadn’t felt he could tell me about his issue so I could try and help. And while I’d of rather he’d not stolen my property, I knew he would not do it unless he literally felt trapped in a corner.
There was a big pause between me sending this and him replying.
When he did, it was short, but no less powerful.
He said, thank you. He said he was grateful for my response. He said the weight that had lifted off his shoulders was unimaginable.
This made me happy.
Sure, he’d made me angry when he stole the guitar, but the price he paid for this act was 19 years of slow, nagging, guilt … the worst kind.
Now I know you might think I’m going over-the-top with this given he’d managed to get through 19 years before making contact, but the fact is he did. He didn’t have to. He could of kept quiet because the chance of us ever running into each other was almost zero.
And here’s the thing, as good as he felt that he’d come clean [which I genuinely believe was more important to him than me forgiving him] I also felt good he’d admitted to it.
Sometimes in our work lives, we forget we’re dealing with people.
The pressure, the speed, the expectation results in us focusing on the destination, not the journey.
Tempers can get frayed, arguments can happen, tears can occasionally flow … it’s all shit to be honest, given it’s only a job and it’s only bloody advertising.
Which is why I think if you’ve done something wrong, it’s always worth holding up your hands to it.
Sure, sometimes someone thinks you’ve fucked up when you don’t – and that’s another thing altogether – however there are many times, where you know the way you acted or responded wasn’t right and yet you try hard to forget about it, or write it off as just ‘the way work sometimes makes us’.
But the thing is, you never forget.
And the ‘victim’ never forgets.
It niggles and prods away in the background and as much as you can try to act like it’s not bothering you, you know it does.
Which is why when it happens, it’s always good to come clean.
The respondent might not be as forgiving as I was with my ex-bass players, ex-flatmate, but after you’ve done it, you’ll finally understand why people say ‘honesty is the best policy’ because even if there are ramifications, the sense of emotional freedom you get can never be underestimated.
Though obviously the best thing is to try and not fuck up in the first place. That is an even better policy than honesty, so to speak.
I know the guy who took my guitar doesn’t read this blog. But if he ever does, I want him to know I always thought highly of him, but now I feel he’s even more of a good man.
See you in a few weeks.
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