Almost exactly three years ago, I remember very clearly sitting just where I am right now and thinking that my life was just slipping away, dominated by work, thoughts of work, anxiety about work. And I remember suddenly having the realisation that at some point I will either retire or expire, and wondering at that very crucial point, what will I be thinking of? If I’m lucky and get to ‘retire’ what else will there be?
Yes, of course, my family and friends were the most important part of my life and I loved spending time with them. But apart from a bit of time with my choir, what else was there?
I knew that I’d been offered opportunities which I’d passed up on. I was too unfit, too scared, too overweight, too insecure, too broke, too busy. Always an excuse. But what would my life be like if I had been braver, had made different choices?
So I made a decision right there. Unless there really was a very good reason, when someone suggested having a go at something, I was going to make every effort to say:
That day and that decision changed my life. I have had so many adventures, made so many fabulous new friends and here, now, in 2017 I’m looking forward to having my most fun and spectacular year ever!
And do you know what? My work life hasn’t suffered. Far from it in fact. I’m more productive, work smarter and am significantly less stressed. I sleep better, have more perspective and I think my colleagues would say I’m more approachable and even perhaps, a little bit of fun. Though not too much!
The only frustrating thing is it took me so many years to work this simple missive out.
Just say yes. What’s the worst that can happen?
And I know that if I do get to retire, then my life will probably be more full than it has ever been. But if I don’t make that and simply expire, then those final thoughts will be of bicycles and singing and sunshine and rain and my beautiful family and friends and I won’t regret a single moment.
*Special thanks to Jo Ward, with whom I had a conversation that made me think I needed to write this, and Kajsa Tylén, who has made me believe anything is possible