Taking Old Age In My Stride

When you reach a certain age in life, it’s easy to slip into a reflective mood.

I’ve been doing this recently: letting myself consider how much I’ve changed over the years and how my response to these changes has formulated my personality.

I’ve always thought that self-reflection is an important part of my day, but I’d rarely given myself the chance to really think about how my day to day habits had changed over the course of years. In this post I’m going to be looking into how my outlook on certain ideas have changed and how getting older has effected my lifestyle.

Ceasing to care about my clothes

There was a point in my life when I was obsessed over the clothes that I wore. I would um and er every time I left the house, constantly second guessing the clothes that I was wearing and how I was being perceived. Today I don’t pay half as much attention to the clothes that I put on, in fact I find more and more that I’m leaning on very ‘safe’ outfits. I mostly dress in loose fitting t-shirts and jeans. I own three pairs of the same shoes and I cycle through them each day of the week so as not to wear one pair out sooner than the other.

Paying more attention to my health

I first started making a turn around with my health a few years ago when I made the switch from smoking cigarettes to using a e-cigarette. This change begat more change, to the point where I’m now virtually a paragon of good health. I exercise regularly, eat meat rarely and am always sure to get a good night’s sleep. Say what you like about old dogs, but I’ve spent long enough on this planet to know that it’s best just to take the doctor’s advice.

Feeling more optimistic about things

With a better, healthier lifestyle come a more optimistic outlook on my life. Despite knowing that I’m closer to the end of my life than I am to the start of it, I have an unerring positive feeling about my place in the world. Looking back over the years, I’ve come to accept that I’ve found a healthy balance in how I now live and that I am more excited than ever to see what lies around the corner. Although I’m well into my sixties, I feel that things can only get better!

Finding strength in my old habits

Going to bed, getting up, making dinners, saving money – I’ve built up a whole litany of habits over the years, and thankfully more of them are positive than negative. I realised a while back that the best way to get the most out of life was by simply making the right decision at the right time. Say ‘no’ when you’re offered ‘just one more drink‘, get an early night when you feel tired instead of staying up late again and, most importantly, save for the future so that you can enjoy you life as an old person.

My New Job Hiring Out Halls

I’ll be honest, at my age I didn’t think that I’d be starting any new jobs.

I thought that I was quite happy carrying on with my little routine, it was simple and just varied enough to keep me interested, but after receiving an offer from a friend who had just reached retiring age I decided to throw in my current lifestyle and trade it in for something a lot more hectic and, dare I say it, interesting!

My new vocation has me travelling all over Somerset.

I’m on the hunt for spaces to hire out for parties, weddings, celebrations – you name it! The business that my friend was running is really quite ingenious. He works off the basis that most publicly hired halls (such as village halls, church halls or school halls) are managed by volunteers who tend to care less about their job as time begins to wear on. He knew this from experience as he’d tried to organise his granddaughter’s birthday party in a village hall, only to find the management surrounding the particular venue was appalling. My mate decided that he could take the responsibility of managing all the public spaces in a given area, thus taking the burden of responsibility off good-natured folk (who were perhaps not best suited for the task) and also making a pretty penny at the same time.

There are dozens of halls for hire near me, all of which I’ve now taken responsibility for which is both an exciting challenge and a serious responsibility. I have keys for all of these venues, as well as a black book containing all of their security alarm codes. Not only do I have to deal with the physical responsibility of having access to these properties, I must keep an eye on a very important phone which serves as the first point of contact for all of these venues. From living a very peaceful existence of meditation and reading, I have now been thrust into an exciting world where my phone is ringing 10 times a day and email enquiries are constantly streaming in – it’s stressful, but fun!

There’s a lot more to this job than I initially thought there was.

Each day I need to reply to any messages that have been sent to me, answering any number of questions about the amenities on offer at one of these halls and consulting a spreadsheet to check the availability. Most people want to take a look around their party venue before they book it, so I often find myself jumping in my car and heading off to a hall to meet some new people and give them the ‘grand tour’. Then there are the actual events to squeeze in too. Sometimes I might be shooting off to several different places in the course of the day, opening up a school hall for a Golden Wedding Anniversary Party in the morning, showing a young couple around potential new reception venues in the afternoon and then setting up a hall for a Murder Mystery Night in the evening.

It’s all rather thrilling and I’m finding myself rather taken with my new occupation!

Opening Your Heart To New Experiences

A New Year has jumped through the gates…

…allowing us to glance wistfully in the rear-view mirror at 2018 and briefly ponder all of the missed opportunities that we let pass us by.

Hindsight can be a terrible thing, and there’s something truly terrible about regrets. Every year I attempt to make a list of all the things that I want to achieve, yet somehow, by the end of the year, there are always items yet to be ticked off and I find myself mourning for a past which is just out of reach. When you reach the grand old age that I’ve got to it becomes the accumulation of these botched resolutions and half-achieved dreams becomes thoroughly dispiriting, but after over 60 years into this game of life I actually might have learnt a way of avoiding this annual melancholy.

There is no ‘New Year’

The greatest epiphany that I’ve yet to have is that there is no such thing as a ‘New Year’. Talk to any other ‘old person’ like me and they’ll tell you the same thing. The longer you live for, the less meaning you attribute to annual events. Once you’ve experience over 50 birthdays, it can become increasingly difficult to remember more than a handful without the aid of photographs. Christmases can be even more tricky to keep track of. The traditions and formalities make it difficult to differentiate them; only by recalling when family members leave or pass away can you hope to put a pin in a particular year.

The same feeling can be attributed to New Year celebrations. Unfortunately, the more New Years that you live for, the more effort it will take to get yourself excited for them. Here’s my reasoning, if you can’t get thrilled about New Year, then why even pay it any attention? Forget about making your New Year’s Resolutions and make your goals, dreams and targets lifelong.

Lifelong Resolutions

Whilst this concept might sound a little scary, there’s no need to be frightened. Making a lifelong resolution is simply a great way of restructuring your priorities, which allows you to realign your ambitions and motivate yourself into becoming a stronger person. Take my aim of quitting smoking, this was something that I’d wanted to do for a log time, but wanting to do something and actually doing it are two very different things indeed.

For years I would be stuck in a cycle of attempting to quit at New Year and then caving in for yet another year. Taking away the distinctions of a New Year allowed me to see the next day as just that, rather than another day in another year. Making a lifelong resolution to quit smoking was tantamount to me getting healthier and getting a better understanding of my life.

Open Your Heart To New Experiences

Although the old adage ‘there’s no time like the present’ might be a tired one, you can rest assured that it only gets more relevant as you get older. Taking the bull by the horns should be your top priority when it comes to tackling your lifelong resolutions, there is no other way of achieving your goals than putting one foot in front of the other and taking that first step, so what are you waiting for?

Have An Idea? Tell The World About It!

The 21st Century truly is a time for dreamers.

I grew up throughout the hazy days of the 60s and 70s in America, at a time when, arguably, the American Dream was all but dead.

The idea that any man or woman with the right idea could simply step up and achieve their dream (which usually involved earning money in some way) was well and truly over. The post-War boom had led to a rather squalid period of stagnation with the Vietnam War playing as a rather grim backing music to my childhood. I never felt that my dreams were unattainable by any stretch, I just didn’t have the same unfailing sense of optimism that I knew my parents had at my age.

I had to graft hard to make a living for myself out here in England and it was mostly through a firm belief in my idea, rather than any all encompassing notion of a ‘dream’, that I managed to succeed in building my idea into a viable business.

In a pre-internet world I managed to spot a niche and fill it with my own business, it’s something that I’m very proud of but this accomplishment is by no means unique.

Thousands of people, just like you and me, come up with good business ideas every year, however there are always a few things that stop them from reaching fruition. For many people it’s not a matter of money or profitability, it’s more of a case of perseverance and time.

The 21st Century has so far been defined by creators and individuals that have essentially come from nowhere.

Whilst Mark Zuckerberg might well have had the good fortune of attending one of the world’s finest educational institutes, he was still driven forward to pursue his Facebook idea on his own steam. His perseverance to complete his project is indicative of the kind of qualities that are absolutely necessary for success in today’s world.

I talk to a lot of my students about their dreams and ambitions, many of them cite starting their own business as one of them. It seems like more and more people are starting to grow restless with the conventional way of making money. Simply turning up, earning your pay then going home doesn’t seem to be enough for the 21st Century person any more.

Today, people want to be their own boss. They want to decide when and where they work. Most of all, they want to see the lion’s share of the money that is made.

In order to achieve their goals they’re using all of the extra-curricular skills that they didn’t learn from school and are ploughing hours of their free time to build projects that are completely their own. Everything from college marketing to social media campaigns are employed by the socially empowered entrepreneurs of tomorrow, as a way of pushing their businesses into the paths of unsuspecting customers.

When it comes to succeeding with your own business, the only thing that is stopping you from achieving your own self-made dream is your own perseverance.

Nestor’s 3 Secrets of Happiness

The 3 Methods that help me sleep easy at night.

As much as helping others get better through the use of music therapy and relaxation techniques is very much a business for me, (God knows I’d probably be destitute without the regular visits that I receive from members of the public) I have no qualms with spreading the knowledge that I have gained over the years with other people online.

In my view, the more people that I can help on a daily basis, the better my spirit will feel. There are so many people out there who are intent on monetising and monopolising ‘happiness’ and the tools that we use to achieve it, that I believe it’s important to offer a certain amount of information out for no charge whatsoever.

In this article, I’m going to run through some of the techniques that I use on a daily basis to maintain my constant level of contentment. All of these skills might not necessarily be of use to you, as each person is different and will react as such to new lifestyle changes. However, if you approach my ideas with an open mind and a good dose of enthusiasm, there’s no reason why you can’t benefit greatly from them.

Music as Therapy

Everybody loves music. I’ve not met a person that doesn’t appreciate music on some level and whilst our tastes can vary greatly, there’s still a huge amount of cathartic relief that we can gain out of listening to certain songs. What many people don’t appreciate about music is the cerebral link that it creates between our memories and their associative emotions. Songs can pull us back to the memories that we love, as well as the ones that we’re not so keen on, thus allowing us a chance to reconcile ourselves with our past actions.

Healthy In-Healthy Out

Anyone who’s met me will know that I’m a little obsessive about what I put in my body. You can chalk it down to the increasingly eccentric behaviour of an older man, or you can see it as one of the ways that I stay happy and content. I’ve already written about my struggle with quitting smoking and how I managed to overcome my addiction, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve got a rather hard line attitude to smoking (and most other recreational drugs). That being said, I believe that every person is different – as long as you stay in control of what is going into your body, you should stay in control of your happiness.

Short Term/Long Term

Part of staying consistently happy and content is understanding where you have come from and where you intend on going. It can be too easy to aimlessly drift through life, with no real goal or sense of purpose. The time in your life can be easily commanded by the hours that you work each week and your responsibilities to your friends and family. Neglect making any long-term plans, such as travelling or developing other skills and you may find that you are somewhat unhappy in later life when you have more time on your side…

Most of all, it’s important that you remain happy within yourself.


Pilton Festival – Healing the Masses

When I tell people that I live in Glastonbury I usually get the same question…

How much do you love the festival?

It’s a question that I never tire of answering. The festival is one of the main reasons why I came to live here in Somerset. Although I’ve been to many music festivals all around the world, it’s true what they say: there’s nothing really quite like Glastonbury.

The festival has been running since 1971, when entry was just £1 a go. 1,500 people gathered at Pilton for the inaugural festival that year meanwhile, over the pond, I was just graduating from high school and setting out on my first travelling experience. Things have changed a bit since those heady days of free love (and cheaper festival tickets), a ticket to Glastonbury Festival now has to be booked nearly 9 months advance in a mad virtual rush and when the full price is paid the punter is left with around a fiver’s change from £230.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is head honcho Micheal Eavis’ approach to offering free tickets to the good people of Pilton and the surrounding areas of Central Somerset. If, like me, you’re lucky enough to live in Pilton itself, then you can benefit from free tickets, once you’ve jumped through the online hoops.

Those living in the other areas of Somerset can buy discounted tickets, including bus travel, for the Sunday of the festival at a reasonable £85. I’ve attended the festival every year that I can, although I’ve not always been completely enamoured by the music line up, the feeling of community spirit and camaraderie is truly unmatched anywhere else on this planet. This year’s festival was no exception.

Whilst many complain about the ever growing commercial aspects to the festival, I personally don’t have an issue with it. After all, it’s to be expected that wherever thousands of people congregate (135,000 attendees were recorded last year) there will always be a contingent of eager businessmen looking to make a quick buck.

Walking through the festival this year I was truly astonished by the variety of food and goods you can purchase here. Everything from designer bobble hats to ponchos made with alpaca fur were on sale this weekend. Should you wish, you could spend hundreds of pounds on shopping alone there – this year though, I was attending to spread my knowledge of meditation and self-healing.

I first brought by particular brand of mindfulness to Glastonbury back in 1998. That year Britain was very much in the grips of guitar-rock. Primal Scream, Blur and Pulp were headlining that year – three bands that would go on to become icons in their own right –  and there was a huge amount of anticipation their sets. As much as people were eager to get out in the sun, drinking and dancing, there was also a sense of foreboding that was tough to get to grips with. It felt like the closer we were getting to the Millennium, the more people were worrying about the future and where it would take them.

I spent my weekend at Glastonbury this year in much the same way that I spent that first one, helping revellers find a way to wind down and relax from within the madness. 

Signs of Improvement

When I last wrote on this blog, I’d just dropped one bad habit…

Cutting out cigarettes, an addiction that had ruled my day-to-day existence for half a century, was one of the biggest challenges that I have had to face – and this is coming from a man who’s met his fair share of troubled characters and addicts.

I wouldn’t dream of comparing my cravings for nicotine with the withdrawal symptoms that a serious drug abuser goes through on a daily basis, but I would say that I perhaps have had a glimpse into this world at the very least.

Now that it’s been nearly nine months since I smoked my last cigarette, I can start talking about the positive impacts that going nicotine-free has had on my life and how cutting out smoking might be just the thing to improve your overall health and happiness.

Although I was advised to keep writing this blog throughout the quitting process, there was a part of me that felt like it would be tempting fate to spending time every day focusing on the act of smoking. When friends and relatives ask me for advice and some enlightenment as to ‘how I did it’, I struggle to pick out one particular thing that got me through the ordeal. One thing I would say is that I’m fortunate enough to live in one of the most relaxing places in the UK: Glastonbury.

Aside from when the annual music festival is on at Pilton, blasting out music until the early hours of the morning, this is an incredibly peaceful part of the world to call home.

Despite the town being quite the tourist hot spot throughout the year, Glastonbury has managed to retain the country charm that has typified Somerset life for the majority of the 20th Century and it’s this idyllic setting that has helped me stay smoke-free for well over eight months now.

Out here, with the proud Tor looking down onto us like a genial Grandfather, the nights are crisp and cool in the winter, but the greenness of the land is never fully sapped away, even when the days are at their shortest. There were some times when the going got tough though. As I’m sure many other ex-smokers will confirm, the times when your resolve are tested the most are usually social situations. For me, it meant that I had to say goodbye to my weekly trips down to the local pub. I’d spent years of my life ending my working week with a trip down The King Arthur, it was almost like a second home to me and the patrons there were like my second family.

The first time I attempted to go in there, after my inaugural week of quitting, I only lasted about 10 minutes.

The smell of freshly poured pints, pub grub and, worst of all, cigarettes, proved to be maddeningly tempting – I left in a cold sweat with my bemused friends looking on. I saw it as a significant sign of progress when I spent a good hour there last weekend. Where once just the mere smell of the pub would have me crawling out of my skin, I can now happily sit in The King Arthur with a pint and catch-up with all my friends that I’ve sorely missed for the last few months.

Other than missing my fair share of pub quizzes, it looks like I didn’t miss out on too much since my time away and at least I can breathe a little easier now! 

Nestor Says Good Bye To Cigarettes!

I’ve finally quit smoking.

For those of you readers who have struggled with quitting smoking for some time, you’ll understand the dilemma that faces most addicts looking to quit.

Each time we take that vital step forward in the quitting process, we feel a huge swelling of pride and excitement. Soon, we think, our bodies will be free of those dreaded toxins and substances that poison our bloodstream on a daily basis. We are so overwhelmed with our new found freedom, that we feel compelled to tell every single one of our friends and family about our bold new step in the right direction.

The first time this happens, we’re greeted by a chorus of relieved voices and even a few rounds of applause, politely congratulating our sensible decision. Inevitably though, the first attempt is rarely the last. Soon, we cave in and are forced to reveal to our colleagues and family members that, after only a handful of days, we’re back puffing again. A few months pass, maybe even a year, until you can work up the courage and conviction to have another quitting attempt. After telling your friends about your second try – you’ll notice that the reception you receive is a little more on the lukewarm side.

After the second relapse – your friends will only shrug with indifference when you inform them of your failure.

Their interest in your battle with addiction will usually be indifferent, especially if they’ve never smoked regularly themselves.

I’d been a smoker for over 50 years before I finally had the will power to quit. I’m now in the rather novel position of being able to say that I’ve not smoked for two months. I achieved this without the support of my friends and family, they’d long ago assumed that I would be a smoker to the grave (despite my numerous attempts to quit) but I did have help from a pocket-sized friend, in the form of this little guy:


Although this may sound like your Granddad asking you if you want an ‘iPod’ for Christmas, I can’t stress how instrumental this Vaping Pen was in helping me quit a 50 year long habit. The jury may still be out on whether Vaping carries any harmful toxins (beyond the small amount of nicotine that is contained in each phial of ‘e-juice’), but I can tell you one thing is for sure, I’ve never breathed easier in my whole adult life.

I’ll be honest, I never thought that I’d give up cigarettes.

After my 10th or 15th attempt at quitting, I felt like I was never going to stop – it was demoralising and that’s coming from a man who’s been working in self-realisation and motivation almost his entire life! This little gadget was the key to my success. Those looking to get one themselves needn’t be put off by all the complicated buzzwords or technical terms, there are plenty of great websites out there which can clue you up. In no time you’ll know your EGO 3200 mAh batteries from your Nautilus X Clearomisers.


Once you’ve got to grips with all the variable components in your E-Cigarette, the next step will be to buy one! Although there are plenty of vendors selling these online at sites like Amazon and Ebay, I would recommend either buying from a retail shop; so you can talk to someone face-to-face about your choice, or going to a company like XO Vape, who can supply you with everything you need (along with a returns guarantee, if it turns out that it’s not for you after all).

Many of my class members are surprised that I ever smoked cigarettes to start with (they’d suspected other substances though, I should think!) and now I can proudly tell them that I’m a successful quitter. I’m hoping to cut down on the vaping, until I’m not taking in any nicotine at all.

I may be a little late to the party, but I’m sure glad I got here now.

Harnessing Music Into Positive Energy

There’s great potential to encourage happiness using Music…

Despite always having a deep love for music, especially the Rock’n’Roll of the 60s, I’ve never had too much skill with emulating the heroes of my youth.


kid-guitarThe 1960s were a wonderful time for creativity and burgeoning ambition, a time when the American Dream was truly alive and well.

With the rise of blues music, young boys and girls all across the US (and indeed the rest of the world) were beginning to pick up instruments.

They started out playing simple ditties and rhymes that had been developed and popularised by the subjugated African American population, unwittingly passing on the torch for thousands of tortured souls.

I was no different to any of these kids. Although I had little time to hone my musical skills, in between playing Football, studying and hanging out with my friends – I always felt a strong emotional bond to those that played Music.

I cherished the feeling of well being that listening and playing the music encouraged in me. Although my parents didn’t quite understand the intense fascination that I had with bands such as the Animals and the 13th Floor Elevators – they understood the positive effect that music could have on the psyche and never discouraged my exploration of other musical genres.

Although an argument could be made that all Art, in it’s own way, provides us humans with a sense of cathartic relief – I believe there is no more immediate medium that music to achieve this goal.

Literature may well enlighten the mind, but it takes an intense amount of concentration and hours of study. Film is a wonderful distraction, whose lights and sounds can elevate the viewer almost to the state of an out of body experience – but cinematic representations of life can often misconstrue and confuse, rather than provide clarification in times of need. An appreciation for music, however, is hardwired into our very sense of being. The rhythm of even the most simple tune can easily be traced by any person – even a child with no music experience whatsoever.

The effect of music on a single mind is almost hypnotic.


Played in a quiet, slightly darkened room, with little space for distraction – the mind can become one with the notes and rhythm. Given time, all doubt, fear and negativity can slowly be eradicated from the mind, as the tune and beat becomes the only thing that occupies the listener’s conscious thoughts. This is the effect of simply listening to the music, when the listener becomes an active participant in the aural space – that’s when the magic really starts to happen.

It can be as simple as tapping one’s feet or clapping one’s hand – the pure joy that fills the body with becoming one with the music (even in the most minor way) can foster not only a sense of community within groups of people, but help lift sadness and boost self-esteem. I would never claim to be the next Jimi Hendrix (although I’ve probably been playing guitar longer than he ever got the chance to!) however, I’m always happy to offer basic guitar lessons to anyone who may think that they could benefit from it.


Learning to play a musical instrument is an accomplishment that sits on many people’s Bucket List – many feel that it’s simply an unreachable goal – something that they could never really achieve, due to their inherent lack of ‘musical ability’.

The sense of satisfaction and joy that emanates from someone eclipsing their own expectations has to be seen (or felt) to be believed.

Why not give it a try?