I'll leave the confines of the office at quarter to five and begin the trek home just as the street lights begin to switch on.
I love the melancholy coziness of walking home in the dark. I love feeling the light in my front room pulling me in from the cold like some kind of vanilla lighthouse.
I love how the first cup of tea , upon getting home, seems to illuminate both the temperature of my hands and the smile on my face in equal measures.
It's just a glorious little time.
It's also a time when I seem at my most reflective for some reason. I couldn't begin to explain why. There's nothing logical about how or why my processes begin to change when the evenings draw in. I'm always looking backwards at the adventures I've been on and the things that I've seen. I don't feel it's anything negative, incidentally, I just love replaying adventures in my mind when it's dark and rainy.
10 days ago I undertook an journey that I must have done hundreds of times over the last few years but one that always seems to awaken my senses as it nears completion. I hopped on the Manchester Piccadilly train and awaited the familiar rush of adrenaline as it shuddered into life.
This time, however, everything felt different.
As I gazed out of the window of the empty carriage I became aware of just how grey everything seemed. Maybe it was just the stark contrast from the lamp on my table, which made the journey seem way more pleasant if truth be told, but there was something special about this scene. The journey went by in a flash as I was truly transfixed by my passage through the wastes of industry and the hustle of city life.
It wasn't until much later in the day that the realisation of the situation dawned fully on me. Yes, it was a Saturday. Yes, I was in a town that was not my own. Yes, I was in a hotel room on my own playing videogames, messaging my lovely girlfriend and drinking tea.
That, however, was where the similarities seemed to end. The rain ceased after a while, and I opened the curtains in my room to let some natural light in.
What if it all ended? Everything. All of it. Not just me but you. Everything we've ever dreamed of. Stopped dead. Gone in the blink of an eye. No sense of foreboding. No fear of the unknown. Someone pulled the plug. No feedback or thanks for the memories. No goodbyes. No regrets. Nothing. Just nothing.
It was at that point that the magnitude of it all hit me. I knew why I was here. I knew why today meant so much to me and I knew exactly why it had happened this way.
I finished my cup of tea, put on some suitably motivational music and began my preparations.
It was everything I ever thought it would be but so many things I thought it would never be.
Maybe because I never thought it would get this far but then, why shouldn't it?
I don't make a point of talking about judging fights at work. I don't do it for them.
It's the kind of bullshit you'd expect from that guy in your office who gets a black eye, probably accidentally, and starts conversations about it. The kind of guy who wears a rash guard to swim in and uses hashtags like #smash, #beastmode and #foodporn.
The realest reason to do anything is because you want to.
That sounds way too simple to be constructive but it really isn't. This culture makes anything available in an instant. It's like an 80's Christmas everyday but without as much Toffifee. That's good in a lot of respects but it's bad because it's way too easy not to appreciate anything. If you don't take your time to look back, then it's impossible to see how many steps you've taken and it's way too easy to make mistakes.
"A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is a bad game forever." - Shigeru Miyamoto
It doesn't have to be now.
It may be next week.
It may be next year.
It doesn't mean you want it any less.
It doesn't mean you're not as passionate about it as anyone else.
When you get what you've been dreaming about since the start; the fact that you've waited so long and worked so hard to make it happen, becomes the most important part about the whole experience.