2014 – The Life Defining Year

It is the last day of 2015 and I am writing a review of 2014 (and 2015). After moving out of the flat I lived in for over 7 years back in October 2014 I stopped updating this blog until recently. But with all of 2015 now gone I can look back on 2014 and appreciate how pivotal the year was. My blog has always been a nice way for me to record my thoughts, and I am glad I once again make the time for it 🙂

There are major events in life that can shake things up and redirect the course of your life, such as when you graduate, get a job, get into a romantic relationship or an unexpected family/friend death takes you into a new path. For me that path started in November 2005 with the sudden death of my father. My father was a very big influence on my family (and his own family in the village). 2014 was the year in which my family made the first crucial step of recovery from the shock of that event, and nearly 9 years later we have moved on to our separate and independent lives living away from each other. 2014 was a year in which I more or less left the world of self help and self development, 2011, 2012 and even more so 2013 were years of self change and 2014 is where it all finally came together.

Atul Rana

At a Sikh wedding with my sister and mother

2014 was a wild roller coaster ride, multiple changes in health, wealth and love that have shaped the course of my life now were occurring simultaneously. These were the changes I was planning for. I now had a girlfriend and I had moved out away from family. My physical appearance had also changed and I looked slimmer and younger. The vortex of all these changes was in September 2014, no longer single, moved into a new place and a 10 day trip to New York behind me, I knew that 2014 was a great and amazing year for me already. So here’s what happened roughly chronologically.

Jan – Feb
I was travelling to tuto near Salisbury and further West near the Cotswolds. I kept tight discipline with running and the gym, and really started enjoying it. Running in the cold rain had a fighting against the elements feel to it all. I was doing more and more open mics as I found a bass player and we started performing as a duo, even at my local pub!

March-April
I was losing interest in Donkeybox,  the run of bass players was disappointing as the latest bassist quit before a gig. I really didn’t have time to manage or sort out staffing issues with the band. I was performing more and more as a solo artist and at this point that felt more rewarding. I also discovered something immensely cool, online gig streaming. And boy I did loads of that Spring/Summer 2014. It really shifted my focus as a musician and I felt like the band would take too much energy to revive so I went open micing and online streaming all on my own.

Atul Rana

At a Sikh wedding with my sister and mother

I aired in Europe and Asia and South America on TV and did some press interviews beforehand for a small programme. While I was very disappointed by the end result and felt exploited by the evil media, I had learnt a valuable and first hand lesson about media. Looking back to be on TV was an amazing experience and something pretty cool. It took me a while to recover from this though.

I quit eating refined sugar in February. I was already on a good fitness regime and had lost some weight towards the end of 2013, but this time I lost over 10kgs in one go. As a result my body changed, I looked sleeker and younger. And I had to buy a few new clothes a size down. What a change! March, April and May were insanely busy with tutoring as I travelled to Yorkshire, Shropshire and Hampshire. I also got back on the hockey pitch after 6 years.

Yorkshire Dales River

Yorkshire Dales : Tutoring Trip

Summer
I went to a Skih wedding in May 2014 and some of that romance in the air rubbed off as someone sitting next to me set me up on a first date with a friend. The date didn’t work out but it got me started.

Summer kicked in, and with our landlord giving notice we had no choice but to move out. During this meditative time I opened myself even more to the idea of dating, I started meeting more girls, some felt like first dates, some were friendships and some in that grey zone. I did meet someone amazing around June/July and for the first time I experienced colour and vividness of romance. Our relationship barely lasted two months, we split up but then got back together again at the end of August. I performed a lot of music that summer as a solo artist, at open mic nights and from my bedroom online. There was the Ice Bucket challenge and my trip to Sonisphere Rock festival as well. Except for the urgency to move out, Summer 2014 was one truly incredible one filled with romance and music.

Autumn
After a long, protracted stressful period of trying to move out, we finally moved out in early September, there were threats from the landlady who seemed to disregard our contract, and then the high emotions of us splitting up as a family and going our own ways was a real strain. My brother had his own flat, but me, mum and sister moved into a space less than half the size of our last flat and we had packed in such a rush that the new place was (and to an extent still) a jumbled mess of boxes. I still hadn’t found a place to move out myself. I travelled to New York and visited the US for the first time, and even performed at an open mic night there, my first ever foreign performance! As soon as I got back I then moved into a flat in Old Street in London. The turbulence of 2014 was more or less over now. I was based between my own flat, my girlfreind’s flat, my mum’s flat and the trips to Yorkshire and Hampshire which felt like second homes to me anyway. It was nice to be wanted in so many places 🙂

Winter
After a two year break, I travelled to India for a 3 week holiday, my family village got electricity for the first time ever. The trip was stressful and perhaps ill timed given we had just all moved out to our own independent lives. Tutoring wise, I had made a brave decision to further cut out my travelling to different counties. Brave because I had no guaranteed income at the time, but by then I felt I had enough clients in London to build upon. For a short while my expenses increased due to moving into a new place, travelling to New York and other things, and my income didn’t. But with enough savings I managed well. I was in a nice relationship and life was great. True to my plan I got my usual rush of work in December and things were plain sailing after that. Right at the end of the year my mother caught a heavy chest infection and was in hospital for a few days, but as luck would have it, on 31 Dec 2014 on her birthday she was discharged healthy from hospital and was back home. Things were going to get better in 2015, and that they sure did. 2014 is one I’ll always look back on fondly. One in which I also listened to a lot of Third Eye Blind 🙂

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