When I grow up

On Boxing Day I lay awake in bed, unable to sleep.

Something had changed.

Another year – 2012 – had passed by and although only an arbitrary marker of time, this particular time seemed to stand out as meaningful.

I needed Change.

I remember sitting up and asking myself that nightmare interview question “where do you see yourself in five years time?”. I didn’t know the answer – not a clue. But I wasn’t too worried about exactly where I saw myself, it was more how I got there that was the key.

My Mother, Val Greenwood, starting yet another epic swim
My Mother, Val Greenwood, starting yet another epic swim

And how did I want to get there?

Maybe I’m just an optimist (no… I am an optimist), but what I’ve found is that if you do things with a degree of keenness, passion, and drive things just seem to crop up along the way. Opportunities are self perpetuating, it’s just the matter of taking the opportunities that lead you in the direction you wish to go and then one day – somewhat unexpectedly – you’re there. This could be something as simple as working at Pete’s Eats and looking up the road and thinking “hey, I’d kind of like to work in Joe Browns” or standing underneath Cenotaph Corner as a budding E1 climber and being awe struck at the harder routes either side.

On a not entirely unrelated note, I called my Mum the other day to see how life had been treating her. She mentioned that she had applied for a place in the 2014 Channel Relay, swimming from Dover to Calais as part of a six person relay team to raise money for Diabetes UK. In order to do this she has upped her training and begun to practise swimming without a wetsuit. At the age of 60 I don’t think she would be offended if I were to say that she isn’t ‘young’ any more (sorry Mum), but neither would I call her old. By and large she is a well-balanced and reasoned individual, yet here she is deciding that what she wants to do in life is to swim distances longer than anything she has ever done before and to do so without the comfort a wetsuit on! What a loon…

There is the possibility that she is mad, but at least she’s mad for something and I find that truly inspirational – when I grow up I want to be like that…

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” – George Bernard Shaw

And therein lies the answer – where do I want to be in five years, ten years, fifty years? Well…realistically I still don’t know ‘exactly’ where, but if I continue playing (in whatever walk of life that may be) I’m pretty confident I’ll end up somewhere good.

Maybe even Patagonia this Christmas…

60th Birthday Celebrations in Sheffield
60th Birthday Celebrations in Sheffield
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