Imagine that, ten years of writing about life, love, death and everything between.
Back in 2008, when he signed up to his, now defunct, blogspot account, he never imagined he would still be writing ten years later but here he is.
But blogspot wasn’t his first.
His first diary wasn’t online at all.
In a little spiral-bound, green-covered notebook about the size of an A6 sheet of paper was where his first journaling began.
So let’s take a walk down memory lane and see what lessons he’s learned.
Originally written in Swedish, he’s taken the liberty of translating it here keeping the sentence structure, grammar and flow—or lack thereof—as much as possible.
The year is 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton has just been acquitted, Bill Gates is the wealthiest person in the world and Napster, a music downloading service, is about to debut.
Fade to a teenager sitting in the room in his childhood home. Some of the cat posters on the mint-green-of-his-choice walls has already started getting replaced by a few H&M posters of models, which he frequently masturbates to.
A small TV, the one he worked to save up for, is in one of the corners.
He’s now 14-years-old, about to turn 15.
The time is now
Listening to Shawn Mullins: Shimmer! It’s pretty good. My socks stink like Satan, I don’t think I can take it any more. Got a Center—a Swedish brand toffee-filled chocolate—yesterday. The time is now 15:48, now I’m listening to Abba Teens: Mamma Mia, it’s skitbra (shit good), I might be going to town.
In school, Ica collaborated with me (weird?). In 6th grade I asked her if she wanted to be my girlfriend, now I’m in 8th grade, got some pubic hair and some under my nose + a lot of ugly acne on my face. You know when Ica collaborated with me, it was in Art class.
I’m making a Mother’s day present, yes, I know it was a week ago but it’s a really nice window. Had an English exam today, got my Chemistry exam back, got a 9!!
Well, that was embarrassing.
What’s worse, the description of his emerging puberty or his enjoyment of Swedish pop music?
Let’s find another one.
Had trouble falling asleep yesterday, but I fell asleep. 07:19 I just remember, I dreamt about Heidi F! 15:36 I just got home, had Home Economics today, Delara was attractive as always. I looked at her a lot. I looked her in the eyes as well, when school ended. I’m going to continue working on my website! 21:59 My life is weirder than before, in school everything is going up, at home, almost everything is okay too, it’s fun but weird. There must be something wrong with the world! My website is done! 22:28 Goodnight.
Little did the 14-year-old know that his most private boring thoughts would, 20 years later, be published for everyone to read.
He probably wouldn’t have liked it very much.
Especially the part about the young women he was madly in love with and couldn’t stop looking at.
“Oh, watch out. He’s looking again, better use protection.”
What a top-of-the-bell-curve teenager he was.
Let’s fast-forward a few years.
Fade to his first apartment, which he used to share with his sister but is now sharing with a friend.
Empty beer bottles littered across the floor and living room table. The apartment is filled with the stench of cigarette from him smoking indoors.
He’s supposed to go to school to continue his Audiovisual communication degree but distracted by a destructive relationship he’s struggling to focus on anything.
He’s now 18-years-old, about to turn 19.
You never will
I don’t understand why she keeps doing this to me?
I wrote a song about it, I don’t think I’ll ever play it to anyone though.
A few months later that same girlfriend and him argue again and he decides he wants to go home. So he drunkenly drives away from the party.
But he never makes it that far.
The police report says the car was totaled.
The accident breaks a few of his ribs and shatters half his face. Five titanium plates are inserted as they reconstruct his skull.
Years later, his memory is still a blank from that night.
But he remembers lying in the hospital surrounded by four white walls and hitting his head on the overhead trapeze every time he wants to get up. Dido’s White Flag is playing on the radio.
He still has four of the titanium plates. One in a bag, alongside two of the teeth that he plucked out, and three holding his face together.
He still gets migraine-like headaches as a frequent reminder of the past choices he made.
Bury the past, but keep the lessons. Hindu
Let’s fast-forward another few years.
Fade to the one-bedroom apartment he now shares with, his partner, Rebecka—she hates the word girlfriend.
He’s a young man sitting at the computer tucked away in the corner frantically exchanging emails with Robert W. Battle M.D, a cardiologist at the University of Virginia, trying to get answers to questions the doctors in Finland don’t have.
Rebecka is six months pregnant and forced to go for frequent cardiac ultrasounds as the hospital is preparing them for a planned cesarean in Helsinki.
This is when he decides to start writing online, though at the time he’s not comfortable enough to write about difficult things so he instead writes about the video game that he’s making.
He’s now 23-years-old, about to turn 24.
A wild guess
You are precisely right regarding the pulse in her left arm, and yes it is taken from the right.
They mentioned the possibility of diuretics and beta blockers when we were in Helsinki, but regarding the delivery they only said that the doctors in Vaasa would advise/determine whether we are to go to Helsinki, Tampere or Vaasa. They (I assume) will advise this in our next appointment at the cardiologist.
They have already spoken to both of us regarding the risks of this pregnancy and delivery. That was the 50% risk of mortality for my girlfriend as well as our baby. She/we decided to continue with the pregnancy nonetheless. However, giving statistics as 50% based on little previous experience of those of similar medical condition as hers, just sounds like “a wild guess” to me.
Which is why I turned to you.
Two months later Rebecka goes into premature labour and is flown by helicopter to Tampere University Hospital for an emergency cesarean and a baby boy is born.
Years go by before he even talks about the experience.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou
Despite the odds, they both survive.
They name him Lucien. The light of God.
And anyone who meets Lucien can see why.
Let’s fast-forward another few years.
Fade to a small one-bedroom apartment in Maidstone, UK, where Rebecka, Lucien and him are now living together and embracing the everyday English life having packed a bag each and moved to the UK a year earlier.
He’s been writing his thoughts online for a few years now thought still avoids really difficult things.
He’s now 28-years-old, about to turn 29.
Braving through the wilderness
Joining the ranks of great people such as Theophrastus, Christopher Columbus and the guy who made the Solo Bottle, my son and I have today forever immortalised ourselves with the Mistress of the Sea. Braving through the wilderness, fighting against the elements we have come out victorious on the other side, and boy do we have a story to tell.
What? Too dramatic?
Maybe I could scale it down, just a teeny tiny little bit.
Today we made a message in a bottle and walked down to the river and threw it in. Too scaled back and boring? Oh well. We’re sticking with it now.
A couple of months later they celebrate Lucien’s fifth birthday with cake and more Lego than any 5-year-old should own.
Later that year, Lucien comes down with a high fever that won’t let go.
A few days later he takes Lucien to see a doctor. One of the medical conditions they suspect is Kawasaki Disease, a rare autoimmune condition, and after another set of rushed hospital visits Lucien and he end up spending the rest of Christmas and New Year’s Eve waiting for the doctors to diagnose Lucien by ruling out everything else.
Once they finally decide that is must be Kawasaki Disease and treat Lucien with Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) he can breathe again.
The experience compels him to start writing about difficult things, this one being the first of many to come.
Let’s fast-forward another few years.
Fade to a two-bedroom apartment at Audley End House and Gardens, where a weary-eyed man with emerging grey streaks in his sides, sits and reflects on the life he has led and the choices that he’s made.
He and Rebecka have separated, the death of a mutual loved one taking its toll on their already temperamental relationship. He now lives with his girlfriend Katy.
He’s now 33-years-old, about to turn 34.
What lessons I’ve learned
My first diary wasn’t online at all. In a little spiral-bound, green-covered notebook about the size of an A6 sheet of paper was where my first journaling began.
So let’s take a walk down memory lane and see what lessons I’ve learned.
He’s never quite understood the, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question.
He always took it too literally and often got stuck trying to imagine what life would be like five years into the future.
Unsurprisingly, that’s not really possible.
Because it isn’t about trying to imagine an uncertain future, it’s about having dreams, aspirations and goals.
And he has plenty of those.
As a 14-year-old, he feared to die alone and dreamed of finding love.
By the time he was 24-years-old, he had already found love, more than once and dreamt of traveling and having a family.
Now, as he’s turning 34, he has a family—perhaps not quite how he imagined but a family nonetheless—and dreams of calmness of mind and soul. The years and some of his choices have left permanent wounds, both physical and mental and he’s looking to let them finally close up and heal.
As much as he can anyway.
Sometimes, that means taking a moment to look back, reflect and learn from those choices.
Dream big, but start small. Israelmore Ayivor
So, let’s start small.
For the foreseeable future, this journal will be fortnightly, starting right now.
It’s a small thing, but a thing nonetheless.
And to you, a big heartfelt thank you.
Thank you for sticking with him through all the entries that never went anywhere, through all the entries that fizzled into nothing. To the dreams, aspirations and goals he had and entered with unbridled exuberance and forgot the following week.
And who knows what the next five years will bring?