Category Archives: Other

Five of my pet peeves

Mad formal executive man yelling at camera

I have so many to name, I can already a sense a part two coming. 😛 But for now, let us get started on five of my pet peeves (in no particular order). You know, the things that you absolutely cannot stand that other people do. The things that are testing your patience and even though you are dying to warn your friend or acquaintance about, you save them from the potential embarrassment.

1) Old fashioned views / narrow-minded people

I think that these two generally go hand in hand, so I have included them as one whole pet peeve. I like to have an open mind and surround myself with like-minded people for the good of my mental health. But it is so easy to come across narrow-minded people. It can be the older generation who are stubborn and refuse to listen to new music or it can be the younger generation refusing to try new food and culture. Narrow-minded people exist at all ages and it drives me crazy. These people will dismiss things before they have given them a fair chance. It is isn’t rock science to give things time and a fair opportunity in my opinion.

2) Obstructed sight

This is perhaps a particularly unique one that I do not hear people discussing often and I wonder how many people it does annoy. I am generally referring to when I am a football match and I have to watch it through the netting, or a fence, or if there are poles in the stand that spoil my view. I cannot relax that well in these situations as I find it so obstructive and distracting. Another time I noticed this quite recently was when I was at the beach and I wanted to look out and appreciate the wide strand without distractions.

3) Selfish/Inconsiderate people

This one is pretty clear and obvious. It must affect a lot of people. Those that play music too loud or smoke in bus shelters are just some things that selfish and inconsiderate people do. I think most of the time people are just too selfish to think about if the shoe was on the other foot… They need to think about how it would feel if they had to put up with their annoying behaviour.

4) Incorrect mask-wearing

This one is especially relevant right now and it goes out to those wearing a mask around their neck, or not covering their nose. Or even worse, not wearing one at all. If they are exempt then this is okay but I feel that too many people are abusing these rules. I mean I have autism and I am asthmatic, so I could have reasons not to wear one. Yes, it is uncomfortable and not ideal but if its something that can save me or others then it has to be done. Don’t be difficult… If you can then wear your mask and wear it right!

5) People who watch videos in public spaces without headphones

Woman Placing Her Finger Between Her Lips

Oh gosh, I cannot believe that I did not think of this one sooner. First of all, it is selfish and inconsiderate to everyone around you. Second of all, headphones are portable and cheap so there is no excuse. Nobody wants to hear your tinny music or annoying mobile phone sounds. What I loved about Sweden was they had a properly designated quiet zone that people took seriously. I think Swedes are perhaps more reserved than other people but they are not afraid to speak up when someone is spoiling their quiet zone. That I can respect and it made for some peaceful journeys.

Do any of my pet peeves also bother or annoy you? What are your pet peeves? Please do share in the comments.

If you could witness any event in history, what would it be?

Anonymous person with binoculars looking through stacked books

Although I am focused more on the present and future these days, there are still so many events in history I would have loved to have been at. Of course, most of them took place years before I was born, but, there are also some in my lifetime that I simply was not present for. I will be describing multiple events as it is so hard for me to pick just one.

A Green Day concert in the 90s / pre Dookie.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this band. They are by far my favourite band of all time and I love most of their music, but there is something special about their early releases. Back when their music was incredibly ‘punky’ and they were playing intimate shows at 924 Gilman Street… That forever remains an era I’d love to be in. I reckon a teenage me would be stage diving and moshing till I drop!

1982 European Cup Final

Since I was born in 1997, this was long before my time. For the non-football fans of my blog, this well-renowned competition is known now as the Champions League. Back in 1982, my team, Aston Villa were crowned champions after a 1-0 win against Bayern Munich. It is a huge event in the history of our club and is still sung about almost 40 years later. I know a few that were there and it sounds like an incredible day! Millions will have supported Aston Villa but only 12,000 were lucky enough to be there that day. I can only hope something as amazing as that happens for Villa in my lifetime.

Mob football

I am really fascinated by sports history. I would love to have been around the industrialisation period so I could see the sports available at the time and how they were changing towards what they are today. I am not really a fan of violent sports but I would love to have seen a game of Mob football – which appears to be a forerunner to what we now know as Association Football, or soccer depending on where you are from. It was essentially a football match between two villages of people, which allowed kicking and biting. The only rule seemed to be no murder… Crazy right?

Why I hate small talk (As an autistic person).

Man Wearing White Top in Front of Woman Wearing Blue Long-sleeved Top

As an introverted autistic person, I was bound to hate small talk. I do not think research is needed to show that many people like me hate to engage in it. Many people seem to have small talk regularly whilst others can just about manage it. Me though? I absolutely cannot stand it and here is why…

The main issue I have with small talk is that it feels incredibly forced. People seem like they are scared or at the very least feel awkward around there being silence, so they force out this generic small talk. But I believe if you are with the right person silence can be comforting. It does not have to be a bad thing. I have never been a fan of fake people or fake conversation and it is so easy to spot. The questions are so boring and they invite dull or blunt answers: this actually makes it worse for me as the conversation is not flowing naturally, nor are either party really that interested in it. It is like trying to fill a hole but the two of you are just digging even deeper.

There must be some kind of myth around introverted people being anti-social but a lot of the time, it can be the complete opposite. Many of us are comfortable with silence and enjoy our own company. This means that we can communicate on our own terms and with people, we can genuinely connect with. There is no urgent desire to go chasing people that we do not need or connect with. It is nice to keep our circles small. This for me is incredibly rewarding, as I know I do not have to go through that small talk stage with people. I know that there are others out there that think and feel the same way as me. That is most comforting.

The whole small talk stage of any kind of friendship or relationship – even meeting a colleague for the first time can be incredibly boring. The same generic questions you hear and have to repeat every time, for example, “Where are you from?”, “What is the weather like where you’re from?”, etc. How do I know you are truly interested? Truthfully it feels like being attacked with question after question, with no authenticity or meaning behind it. It is like getting a snapshot of somebodies life without any real connection. It is so fake.

Small talk can happen so fast and as an introvert, I like time to listen and process information before I give a response. This allows my answer to be more honest and well-thought-out. How can I tell you how I am feeling when I am not sure if you care? What would happen to the conversation if I told you I was feeling upset or stressed or confused? Would it continue? I think with many people it would not, but I am not sure as I do not open up too much to just anyone. I want to feel like I can trust the person I am speaking to and that they are likely to follow up on my answer, otherwise it is just wasted, meaningless conversation – just like small talk.

MY thoughts on gender equality.

Person Wearing Black T-Shirt

Gender and gender equality is an area that I have been interested in for a while now. Usually, I am studying and writing about it in the context of sport, but I feel so strongly about these views so I wanted to share them.

Gender equality is an interesting concept. First and foremost, I believe that everyone deserves equal opportunities, regardless of their sex or gender. This is just common sense and decency in my opinion. Doing this however accompanies a range of things and it makes me wonder, are people picking and choosing what they want gender equality to be? Is it not that simple to be equal in all aspects of life? Not just what is convenient…

There are areas people feel strongly passionate about such as equal pay and fair job opportunities. This makes me think that we are onto something, and are capable of great change towards fairer opportunities. But then I see the selfish and one-sided mind of others… The main thing I am talking about is those women who do not pay for meals or dates because “a real man should pay”. This is lazy and selfish if you ask me. This is no good reason to bail out on paying and is very hypocritical if you are preaching equality. Nothing is stopping you from contributing except these old fashioned stereotypes that you have held onto.

Gender stereotypes like this are not just evident in potentially toxic dates or new relationships but also in ‘healthy’ long-lasting marriages. You know the ‘traditional’ stay at home wife who cooks and cleans whilst the husband goes to work. It is so dangerously normalized from history, that it is baffling and scary. When will we truly move on from this historical perspective? I welcome people who challenge these stereotypes. I have the utmost respect for say a man who can become a ‘stay at home husband’ to raise his child. Also maybe he has to do this because his job earns less than his wife. It is time to destroy that toxic masculinity where men believe they need these traditional values or to earn more money.

Working together 50/50 as a couple can be much more rewarding. This can apply for any pairing of man or woman though, for instance in friendships. In any two people, the roles can be shared just as easily, for instance, the man serving his wife a lovely dinner, or a female friend coming over to perform physical labour.

Why should gender have anything to do with what we want to achieve? Anyone is possible of anything. Sometimes what we want to do it is for ourselves and to become a stronger person and that is great. Other times we must cooperate together as men and women to balance the workload fairly. That is also great. What is not great is living with outdated and questionable historical views. Time is moving on, do not live in the past.

drinking less alcohol for a better lifestyle

Many people discuss the harmful effects or concerns around drinking alcohol from a physical perspective. But in my opinion, more should be done to discuss them from a mental or social perspective too.

Two Smiling Women Sitting on Wooden Bench

Drinking alcohol seems like such a normalized event worldwide -especially if you are from a country like England for me where it is EVERYWHERE. People will drink whatever mood they are in, happy or sad, excited or nervous and so forth. But they rarely ever grasp the true dangers of it. Sometimes it can be too late and they are stuck in a difficult phase of trying to get out of it. Others may never realise how destructive their habits are.

It is nice to have a drink in moderation, or even get drunk now and then. But as I grow older I am starting to get extremely bored when I see this regularly. It is the same people in the pub almost every night, sipping on their warm beer and probably reheated food. I cannot help but feel sorry. Is this all they have for a social life? We are all welcome to our differing interests of course. But something I can not fathom when behaving like this is how self-growth is actually possible.

Maybe some people are just not ready for change. Maybe this is what they are like. But if you are like me then you always want to be moving forward. I am an ‘outdoorsy’ kind of guy (as you can tell by many of my previous blog entries) so this kind of sedentary, repetitive lifestyle drives me crazy. But now I have gotten a good idea of what my interests are and what is good for me. I know for sure now I can enjoy a drink or many as infrequently as I choose. I know now how easy it is to say no to plans that will not benefit me, or make me feel worse.

Woman Holding a Smiley Balloon

When you have been towards rock bottom or have started to make the necessary positive changes in your lifestyle, you will do anything in the future to help prevent a relapse of it. It is, of course, a difficult thing to do for many people but persevering through this transition of change is key, as it will reap many benefits for you. For instance, when I am not drinking I feel better as I feel like myself… I am not reliant on this ‘magical social juice’ to engage with others. I am quite happy now being introverted and I do not need a few drinks to be able to talk to people. I realise now that if I need to then perhaps I just do not have the interest in or enough in common with these people to engage with them.

Right now I am focused on healthy behaviours with a clearer mindset from drinking less. My social skills or events will not be centred around alcohol like they used to. This is not me. I aim to continue travelling as much as possible and drink as it feels healthy and natural. Peer pressure is a horrible thing as it is too easy to get sucked into its vicious nature, especially when you are not well or secure enough to say no. I have explored so much this summer without the need for alcohol, and I have had so many unforgettable days. Long may this strive for better change continue.

Social distancing – Ignorance is not bliss.

Social Distancing on Wooden Table


Perhaps one of the most universally known phrases of 2020 is ‘social distancing’. We all know what it is, but how many of us can truly say we are abiding by it? Should we be doing more?

To me, it seems like this is the main thing that many countries are focusing on. People think controlling the virus is as simple as washing your hands and keeping 1-2 metres away from each other. They also must think that wearing a mask (a cloth one at that) is going to save them or act as a replacement for social distancing. People need to wake up and realise that they must do all of these things to give them the best chance at avoiding catching this deadly disease, or risk passing it on. It is such simple things we could do, but are choosing not to do.

This makes me begin to question the common sense of many people… Do they not like being told what to do? It is not difficult to see that people are obsessed with doing what is ‘normal’ or at least what everyone else is doing. For instance, I have noticed that everyone is distancing in a queue, or if one or two are not, then everyone else gives up with the distancing. When did we become such sheep? Why can we not decide for ourselves what we will do, and stick with it?

To me, there seems to be a mentality going around like ‘well if they can’t then why should I?’ and this is disastrous. I refuse to bow down to this pressure and will go above and beyond to keep myself safe. For instance… I have lost count the number of times I have changed my path whilst walking the streets. I might as well be walking in zig-zags at times. It is painfully exhausting because people may recognise social distancing, but suddenly do not think it applies when they walk past you. Many will be selfish and take up the whole path with their group or family, which is even worse on narrow paths.

I think it is safe to say that not only are people more concerned about doing what is ‘normal’ but also what is convenient for them. This goes for walking on paths and moving around in tight spaces. The list goes on though… People sitting next to strangers on buses and the strangers letting it happen is perhaps the craziest thing I have seen recently. People will happily pack onto buses just because it is convenient for them – for instance so they have their fun Saturday night at the beach. It is frustrating the lack of sacrifices people have made in this pandemic. But even more frustrating when others protest how many sacrifices they’ve made or how their summer has been ruined, when in reality I would say there are very few of us who have given up enough to handle this pandemic. This virus shows and even confirms to me how selfish many people are, and how even at the most difficult of times people fail to bond together.

What is an important lesson you learned recently?

LIVE IN THE MOMENT. I mean, I always try to do this. But it does not come without difficulties. It is too easy to get tangled up in the past or to have two eyes on the future, what with all the pressure we face in our everyday lives. This year though, more than any I have started to realise the importance of just enjoying the present day. I guess part of this is due to the pandemic and the realisation that things are unpredictable and can change at any moment.

Man in Black Backpack during Golden Hour

It is nice to have some kind of an eye on the future though, so you have a rough idea of where you are headed. But as plans change and your interests develop, we do not always know the path we will end up on. We can strive for a certain goal or path and in fact, end up taking off to a different destination. We cannot change the past, we cannot ALWAYS predict our future. I feel that the one thing we can do though is to make sure we enjoy our time right now.

It is a hard thing to do though I must admit when you feel or know that something can change. But if you are constantly waiting for that change, you are rapidly losing the time and moment. The best thing you can do in my opinion is to enjoy the things happening to you right now for what they are, as they may not last forever. Happiness is the key, and why let it wait?

For me, my plans have changed significantly due to COVID-19 but that does not have to be a bad thing. I never thought I would be studying abroad in my life and I certainly did not imagine being here so long. But the choice to do it and to stay in Sweden has paid off. I now get to experience a Swedish summer after braving the cold and windy months earlier in the year. This is just one example of living in the moment and trying to make the most of a different situation.

What would you say to a younger version of yourself?

“Get off the mother flipping Xbox”. That is the first thing I can think of. In my younger years, I was very different from how I am now. I would game for many hours a day, now I haven’t played a console of my own for several years. It is is easy to have unhealthy obsessions like this in our young and potentially more naive years. That is okay for me as long as you are able to acknowledge it now and obtain healthier behaviours.

Maybe I am alone in this thought but I do not think that there is much that I would want to say if I could speak to my younger self. I try to look ahead to the future more than reflecting on the past. It would be far too easy for me to change a lot of things that went wrong. But I think things have to fall apart sometimes to make way for better things and to help you to learn and grow for sure. That being said, maybe one piece of advice I would have loved to hear is to work on my self-esteem so I can surround myself with better people.

Self Care Isn't Selfish Signage

I am a lot healthier mentally wise now than I have been in the past. I put that down to the self-growth, determination and fight that comes from not wanting to ‘relapse’ or return to a previous state of unhealthiness. When you have hit ‘rock bottom’ for whatever reason it may be, then you sure as heck do not want to go back. This is like being aware of your past and mistakes, but not allowing yourself to think about too much as it is gone and you cannot change it. I feel that it is important to recognise the past somewhat though, so I can realise how far I have come and to continue such progress.

I think my younger self would want to know what he is capable of as what I have achieved so far in my life. Our life is forever changing and it is important to move forward and not stagnate. He would want to know to hold out for meaningful friendships and to enjoy his time outside more.

Please share with me your feelings and what you would say to your younger self.

Black and White Laptop

Lonely vs being alone?

At a glimpse, this may appear as two different words. But to me and many others, they could not be anymore different. As a guy who likes to spend time by himself, but also enjoy the company of others I wish to share some of my thoughts around this.

I feel that a lot of people think being ‘alone’ is a bad thing. Many people seem co-co-dependent in other way… Like they need someone around to enjoy themselves, or feel safe and secure. For instance, you will see that these people are ashamed of going to the movies alone or a concert. But perhaps we can truly let go and enjoy ourselves when we have the freedom to explore autonomously. Just because you are surrounding by lots of people, it does not make it comforting. Sometimes for me at least, being in a packed room with no one understanding me is the most loneliest feeling of all. Much lonelier than in laying in your bedroom in the dark for sure.

People Holding Their Phones

Why do people seem so worried about being alone though? Maybe they are afraid of judgement for not being ‘normal’. But what is normal anyway? Where is the fun of achieving this impossible feat? And how do people avoid this feeling of loneliness? Maybe they think they are safe from this feeling because of their popularity on social media. But maybe they are just showing the world the person he/she thinks it wants, rather than what the person themselves want. Not portraying yourself accurately as the unique individual you are… That is the biggest concern for me, especially when it comes to loneliness. Be yourself and the people good for you will come along. That is for sure what I can say in my case.

Photography of Woman Surrounded by Sunflowers



As for being ‘alone’ itself, this is something I have become very accustomed to. I feel confident and independent enough to be able to spend time with and enjoy myself. Sure, being with people for certain activities is more entertaining but I will not miss out because I do not have someone to share that with. Being around people constantly is just not healthy in my books, no matter how extroverted you are… We all need a little time to ourselves to reflect and recharge. This is just natural.

Spending time alone does not have to be a bad thing. Many activities I find can be just as, (if not more) enjoyable alone than with company. This is when you feel your passion or interest in something is different to the person you are with. Or when you both are different views or interests for whatever reason. Just make sure what ever you are doing you are comfortable with yourself, and do not feel isolated. Enjoy time with others and take time to relax for your own good and mental health.

Person Wearing Gray Hoodie Jacket Watching Lake


What is an important lesson you learned recently?

LIVE IN THE MOMENT. I mean, I always try to do this. But it does not come without difficulties. It is too easy to get tangled up in the past or to have two eyes on the future, what with all the pressure we face in our everyday lives. This year though, more than any I have started to realise the importance of just enjoying the present day. I guess part of this is due to the pandemic and the realisation that things are unpredictable and can change at any moment.

It is nice to have some kind of an eye on the future though, so you have a rough idea of where you are headed. But as plans change and your interests develop, we do not always know the path we will end up on. We can strive for a certain goal or path and in fact, end up taking off to a different destination. We cannot change the past, we cannot ALWAYS predict our future. I feel that the one thing we can do though is to make sure we enjoy our time right now.

Turned-on Enjoy Today Neon Signage

It is a hard thing to do though I must admit when you feel or know that something can change. But if you are constantly waiting for that change, you are rapidly losing the time and moment. The best thing you can do in my opinion is to enjoy the things happening to you right now for what they are, as they may not last forever. Happiness is the key, and why let it wait?

For me, my plans have changed significantly due to COVID-19 but that does not have to be a bad thing. I never thought I would be studying abroad in my life and I certainly did not imagine being here so long. But the choice to do it and to stay in Sweden has paid off. I now get to experience a Swedish swimmer after braving the cold and windy months earlier in the year. This is just one example of living in the moment and trying to make the most of a different situation.

Be Happy Signage