The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If You Read This Post, It’s The Equivalent Of Winning Survivor. Kinda.

So this is it, the last post of the year.

And what a year it has been.

The biggest thing was obviously leaving a company I loved in a country I loved to move my family to the other side of the World to start a new adventure.

The impact of that move has been bigger than we thought or expected.

For me personally, it has revealed a bunch of insecurities and self-doubt that I thought I had kidded myself into believing I’d kept locked away for good.

I was wrong.

However 6 months in, not only do we feel settled and confident about where we are, what we’re doing and what we want to do … we are reminded of the reasons we made such a major move on an almost daily basis.

Put simply, Otis has literally blossomed living a healthier, outdoor life and while we will always miss many of the parts of the life we enjoyed in China, his happiness and well-being makes the move worth while.

Of course that won’t be enough to make us stay here forever …

If truth be told, we’re wanderers so the idea of staying in one place forever freaks us out. Or at least me.

Don’t get me wrong, we are loving our life in America and are incredibly grateful to be here, but the reality is it’s probably not our long, long-term home so in the time we are here, our goal is to enjoy the opportunity, get as much out of the opportunity and make as much of a difference because of the opportunity as we can.

[For the record, I reserve the right to delete the above sentence because if moving countries again ever becomes a real possibility, I imagine the idea of leaving a house next to the beach – see photo at the top of this post, a photo I took on my way to work – to go some place in the middle of nowhere will suddenly feel a lot less appealing]

And one of those opportunities that has presented itself is having my best friend come to visit us over Christmas.

In all the time I’ve known Paul – 47 years – he has not once spent Christmas with me.

Or me with him.

Sure we have met up on Christmas day for a drink or to swap presents, but we have never spent the whole holidays together.

More than that, in my 7 years living in China, he didn’t visit us once.


His wonderful wife did – twice in fact – but not Paul, but now we’re in LA – where even in winter it’s sunny and beautiful – he’s on the first fucking plane over here.

And despite that showing me he’s a ‘using little prince’, I’m happy.

Ridiculously happy.

As is Otis …

For us, having Otis ‘odd parents’ [we’re not religious and they’re definitely odd] come stay is the perfect way to end a particularly interesting year.Ever since my Dad died in January ’99, Christmas lost its power.

Sure, I still looked forward to it, but it was always underpinned by the feeling it was when my Dad fell ill for the final time.

However since Otis came on the scene, that darkness has been broken and I fully expect this year – in a proper house with my family and the people who feel like family even though they’re not – to be the one where that spirit of the holiday truly comes back into force.

I’m grateful for that too.

As I am for everyone who has looked out for me, my wonderful wife, my epic Son and even my pampered princess of a cat, Rosie.

Whether it was in comments on this blog or conversations over the year.

Which is why I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and – even more importantly – a wonderful year ahead.

For a boy from Nottingham who wasn’t very good at school, I do feel I hit the jackpot and while there are many reasons for that, a big part is the community I feel a part of which has been formed – in part – through the insults thrown at me on this blog.

Long may they continue. [I know they will]

With that, I leave you with a family photo we recently took to commemorate our ‘LA life’.

All was good until we discovered that every shot clearly highlighted my poor choice of t-shirt.

Shit! Literally.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Happy New Year.

See you in January.

PS: To my darling Clare Pickens, I know today is your last day at Wieden Amsterdam. I can tell you, it will be as emotional to everyone there – and beyond – as it is to you. You’re an absolute legend and I’m so, so glad you’re in my life. And have put up with me. See you soon. Love ya.

24 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is all very lovely, but before wishing everybody a Happy Christmas, I really have to address the burning question of why the video that’s cued up after watching Otis appears to be one that features a couple of bikini-clad women and is entitled cliff jumps? Research I assume?

Comment by John

And no this is not due to my viewing habits – when i watch Otis’s video on Youtube, the cliff-jumping ladies are not cued up. It only happens within your blog.

Comment by John

Cliff jumps and Susan Boyle. That combination could only come from Campbell’s mind.

Comment by DH

I have no idea, but I would imagine it has something to do with fail army, given that is my favourite place on the internet. Mainly to make me feel better about myself.

Comment by Rob

for most people that would be a bullshit excuse. for you i believe it. you sad fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

why the fuck are you complaining?

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m not complaining. I have not watched the video and therefore have no reason to complain.

Comment by John

saying nice things doesnt make it a fucking christmas present. splash some fucking cash you right bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

but not subjecting me to any planning shit for 2 weeks does so you can keep your wallet shut. as you always fucking do.

Comment by andy@cynic

That family photo is the best present he could have given me. Well, not the best but it’s better than his usual gift of nothing.

Comment by DH

By the sounds of it, you might get a better present if Rob ends up leaving the US.

Comment by Bazza

Don’t get too excited Baz … it’s not like it’s going to happen tomorrow. Well, unless homeland security read my tweets about the president.

Comment by Rob

I’m not, because I can’t think of any other country that will take you.

Comment by Bazza

What were your insecurities that presented themselves?

Comment by DH

A big year captured in an honest, thought provoking and generous as ever post. Thank you for the year of crazy. Have a great break with the family and Paul and see you in January.

Comment by George

I don’t know Rob, I think that choice of tee makes the family photo truly your family.

Comment by Bazza

Yes … there is that.

Comment by Rob

Let me take this opportunity to wish my readers a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.

Comment by John

Ditto. [Parasite]

Comment by Rob

The only good thing about being back at work is you’re not back blogging.

Comment by DH

Where on earth are you?

Comment by Northern


Pingback by The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing

[…] I wrote once before, I’ve had better weekends in America than I may have had pretty much anywhere in the World […]

Pingback by Another Chapter Ends, Another Chapter Begins … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

[…] funny, when I read the final post I wrote for last year, it is apparent that change was in our minds. We didn’t think that openly, but it seems it […]

Pingback by Till Next Year … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Leave a Reply