Reading, Writing & All Things Books: What Questions Would You Ask Your Favourite Authors?

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One of my favourite hypothetical scenarios is the fantasy dinner party. You know, the one where you get to invite any six people from any time (as in, since the dinosaurs…) to a dinner party of your choosing, deciding who would sit next to whom and what conversations would you instigate. From John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Nelson Mandela to Jesse Owens, Margaret Thatcher, Hitler or Babe Ruth.

I think about this scenario quite a lot – more than is probably psychologically acceptable for a properly balanced person of society. But it’s fun and I am fully cognisant of the fact that it will never actually happen – and so long as I know that, then I haven’t quite slipped away fully into the world of La La Land.

My six guests change all the time (and I usually keep a few on a cancellation list 😉 )but if you were to ask me right now, I’d have to say Michael Collins, Martin Luther King, Mary Robinson, Melissa McCarthy and Roger Federer. Utterly random, utterly ludicrous but hilarious. I’d put Mick next to Melissa and I’d seat Roger beside King, and I’d sit between Melissa and Roger. Done.

Not at all the point of today’s post. As you might know, I’m a huge bookwork and have posted a bit previously on here about my love of reading, but more so on my book blog over yonder. Recently, I was approached by Eventbrite to write about my dream panel of authors and being the fantasist that I am (please see above) I had to have a go at this.

Thus without further ado, I give you…

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The Panel: Emily Bronte, David Nicholls, Philip Pullman, Margaret Atwood, Roald Dahl and Lisbeth Salander. Limiting myself to just six here.

The Moderator: Graham Norton, of course.

Although I have never met any of these people, I think would happily sit and listen to any of these people talk all day long. A short list of people who brought immense joy and fascination to my life as a child and as an adult, there are so many questions and conversations I’d like to raise with each of these wonderful people.

Emily Bronte – who would not want to sit and talk all things Cathy and Heathcliff with this truly great storyteller? I would want to know everything – where did she conceive of this story and who are the characters really based on? Why is so desperately, desperately sad and was there ever an alternative ending that she realistically considered? Did it have to end up so miserable and heartbreaking for everyone?

David Nicholls – Still in my top 3 books of all time, I completely fell in love with this book and its protagonists Dex and Em. I was with them every step of the way and it utterly broke my heart at the end. I don’t do romance novels, I’m a cynic and I really don’t ever cry over books (at all) but as I read the last section of this book, the tears just freefalled off my dopey face. David, I have to know, did you ever plan to finish the book differently? Did you always see it ending this way?

Philip Pullman – See, I started with all the sad and now I’m going to bring the joy. Pullman wrote some of the most enjoyable, most engrossing novels I have ever read. Lyra and Pantalaimon brought more joy and imagination to my early secondary school days than most any other thing. At a time of change, new school, tough life lessons and growing up, His Dark Materials made for a perfectly timed arrival in my life and these characters will forever hold a dear place in my heart. I’d just want to Pullman that. And sit and have a good long chat over pots and pots of tea.

Roald Dahl – Oh yes, pull up an armchair, light a fire and let’s get to some storytelling from the master himself. Any time I’ve tried to pick one of his wonderful stories as my favourite, I instantly find myself correcting my selection – Fantastic Mr. Fox, no, The Magic Finger – No! – The BFG – No, no, wait… George’s Marvellous Medicine. Oh but then there’s Matilda. Where did he get these ideas? Did he think this stuff could actually happen? Roald Dahl’s stories were never THAT far from reality – just a slight stretch away from adult reality and very much within the realm of possibility from a child’s perspective – you remember The Witches right? Bravo.

Margaret Atwood – brilliant ideas and fascinating (if unnerving) predictions of the future, I’d love to ask her about any number of her books, her vision for the future and the state she thinks humanity will be in in 20 years time. She’d certainly bring a unique and fascinating contribution to the panel.

And as for Lisbeth… no explanation required. She wouldn’t appreciate the publicity or the fanfare so I’ll say no more. If only to say, I miss her very much.

Who are your favourite authors and characters? If you could pick just six, who would they be and what questions would you ask them?

 

 

 

Runners and Injuries: Not Letting Panic Triumph Over Hope

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This is a subject extremely close to my heart. In fact, it’s so close to the surface that I’d swear if you stood close enough to me, you might just be able to hear my heart beating out “Help me, I’m a runner”…

I’m going through this right now. I may not be an elite athlete, but I am 100% a runner at heart. It’s what makes me smile, lifts me up, allows me to escape everything for a few hours everyday and honestly makes me feel like some kind of superhero. On the outside, I might look like a hot, sweaty, flailing mess… but on the inside I feel like Mo Farah. I feel like me.

One missed session in my weekly training plan makes me uncomfortable and I’m very bad at just “letting it go” but sometimes weather or unforeseen events just happen and you have to suck it up.

One week without running – usually only happens when I’ve just ran a big race like a marathon or half-ironman – I struggle with not being able to get out for a run for this long because regardless of how physically tired my body might be, I miss the fresh air and time outside, the peace and quiet. But I persevere for the sake of rest and meaningful recovery.

Suck it up.

More than one week… Huh???!! It has been years since I’ve gone more than 10-14 days with no running. Sometimes you do need a good rest as a runner and head-wrecking and all as it may be, you tolerate it because you KNOW that in a few weeks time, you’ll be back out there slowly building yourself back up again.

You KNOW. So… suck it up.

Now, try telling a runner that they can’t run today, or tomorrow or even this week. In fact, it could be as long as a year… Actually, I can’t tell you when you’ll next be able to go for a run or even if you’ll ever be able to run again.

To a runner, this is devastating news. For me, I just couldn’t accept it right away – it was too much to deal with all at once and it took months for me to even come around to the idea and I still haven’t fully accepted it. When you’re used to being able to lace up and get out in the fresh air – just you and your radio – and plod along to your own rhythm, it becomes a massive part of who you are and when it suddenly gets ripped away, you feel lost – like a big part of you has suddenly been whipped away and crazy as it sounds – it takes a while for you to come around to this new version of yourself that doesn’t run every day.

You suddenly feel  – as if you’re not you anymore.

Trauma. Grief. Loss.

Heartbreak.

I don’t say these things to be flippant. I have massively missed running and the goodness it brings to my life. Life without running has left a great hole that I simply cannot fill with cycling or swimming. I have been cranky, intolerant, impatient, angry, sad, an utter basket-case at times (on multiple occasions) and I’ve cried big fat tears of frustration and loss for my life as a runner on several occasions. I’m pretty sure my Dad (poor man has witnesses a number of my ridiculous meltdowns) thinks I’m a complete nut-job but then of course that’s how it must appear to sane people on the outside.

The Phases of Running Grief – not kidding, there are actual phases …

1. Blanket denial – the physio doesn’t know what she’s talking about… she’s talking out her arse – sure I know more about running than she does and I definitely know my own body better than anyone else. I’ll be grand in a few weeks. Your biggest worry at this stage is loss of fitness – worrying about losing the good place you’re at that you’ve worked so hard to get to. Your nervous that your sub 3.45 marathon goal may have to wait till next season.

2. Bargaining – Loss of control and helplessness make the control freak runner in you start to try and rationalise it all in a vain attempt to regain some control – what if I do this next time? What if I did that better?

3. Anger – After a few weeks, nothing is better, the injury is still there and you start to panic when the realisation that it might be quite a while before you’re able to run again starts to feel real.

I followed my plan… why am I injured and X, Y and Z are not? It’s not fair… I did everything I was supposed to do? Why is it different to any other training cycle? I should have taken a longer rest after the last marathon… I should have done more strength work…  I should have eaten better… I should have said 3 hail mary’s before every run… I’m so stupid, stupid, stupid……….and why does nobody understand me?! Get away from me…. No, I don’t want chicken soup to make me feel better!!! Aagggghhhhhhh…

4. The Sad Bit – crying in a pathetic curled ball on the floor as your running gear starts to gather dust, as the races you signed up to months ago all come and go.

Mourning the loss of running as a friend and of that huge part of you that is tied up in running. It’s not just a hobby- it’s who you are first thing in the morning, the feeling you carry with you all day having completed a great run that morning, Parkrun with you friends on a Saturday morning and coffee afterwards, the long run on a Sunday morning listening to the Marian Finuacan radio show and the heavenly after-feeling of that effort as you chill on the sofa drinking coffee, watching Downton Abbey.

Acceptance? Nah. See number 1. I’m an optimist and I love running far too much to ever give up on the idea that I could be out there running some day soon.

I choose hope, rehabilitation and optimism. So maybe I’ll have to keep spinning the wheels of this cycle for a little while longer- going through the phases of denial, anger, sadness – but I won’t stop hoping and I won’t give up.

I saw a new physiotherapist this week and for the first time since I got injured I heard the words “I see no reason why you shouldn’t recover and get back to running”. Like the saddo I am, I nearly cried when she said this. It’s the first positive thing I’ve heard from the rounds of Doctors, physios, orthopaedic surgeons and other specialists in a year. She gave me hope – she didn’t promise anything and she did stress that the first goal would be to get back to a place where I have no pain in my feet just as is. Then, we can look to bringing walking back. Only after that can we even consider bringing running back in.

This could take quite a while to get to that stage but right now, I feel hope – I can see a finish line. Not sure of the distance yet but I can see one drifting about in the wind somewhere out there – I just have to be patient, follow the right path and not be stupid.

Then maybe, just maybe… I’ll be a runner again.

Good Pains in Strange Places

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I’ve started going to the gym and for the first time in a long time, I’m bringing back strength and conditioning sessions in a big way. But boy, it does hurt so good.

Strength and conditioning is an area I confess to having neglected in all my years running. Lifting dumbbells, doing squats and squeezing out a few press-ups are all the types of exercise I would typically hate. I always felt they were boring exercises- like sport without any of the joy. Coming up to marathon training time, I’d resolve to make sure I did at least one proper session per week and then also including a few exercises in my everyday post-run routine, such as heel lifts, wall-sits and planks.

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But in all honesty, I probably have not been doing as much as I should have been doing and now that I’m out of (temporarily!) the running game and sitting on the sidelines, injured for the foreseeable, I can’t help but wonder if I had been more diligent about my strength and conditioning training, I might not be injured right now. I might still be running about blissfully ignorant and injury-free.

I’m not a shoulda, coulda, woulda person though, so I bring this up as topic not to dwell on the past but to learn, plan and build for the future. I want to be stronger, I want to be faster and I always want to be better. (I don’t need to be higher 😉 )

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…and I always want to eat scones.

What’s the Plan?

Joined a gym, had a personal consultation and have a training plan. 2-3 days a week, I’ll be doing an hour of strength work, mixed with a short interval of cardio. In addition to that, I’ll be out on the bike at weekends and as the days start to get longer, I hope to get out a few mornings or evenings before or after work. I hope to get in one or two swims during the week too.

My program consists of:

  • Chest presses
  • Leg presses
  • Step-ups
  • Planks
  • Russian Twists
  • Face Pulls
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep Dips
  • 15-20 minutes cardio (I’m having a go at rowing to try something different…)

Nothing revolutionary here – and if you’re a runner, you’ll probably be very familiar with most of these exercises. What I like particularly about this program is that it aims to build a basic level of strength and it also incorporate specific exercises that will be good for running, when I start back.

Leg presses will help develop the quad muscles as well as the glutes – also excellent for cycling (and my butt!)

Step-ups are a simple but excellent strengthening exercise that every runner should be including in their daily routine –  as well as the exercise helping to work the glutes, quads and your core, this move also helps to develop good balance and running form. I quite like doing these too.

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Planks and Russian Twists – work your core/ abs mostly but planks are an overall excellent strength exercise.

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I did the full program for the first time during the week and while I enjoyed doing that night… oh my sweet Lord, did it hurt the next day. I know since not being able to run for 10 months, my arms, abs (and general upper body) have just gone to flop. You just don’t use your arms that much on the bike and your entire upper body is more or less stationary for the entire ride – you don’t use it at all the way you do when running. So right now, I have NO upper body strength. It’s pathetic.

I could not lift my arms above waist height on Thursday after my weights session on Wednesday night. And there were aches and tendernesses in back muscles and shoulder places I have never felt before. Have you ever seen a person trying to massage their own back muscles? Not an attractive look. I cared not!

So onward and strong-ward! If you are also someone who has been avoiding strength work because you too find it boring and tedious, please PLEASE heed my advice and just do it anyway. Find a way to get it into your week – if you’re not someone who enjoys lifting dumbbells or churning out squats, then go to a class like bodypump or bootcamp. Ignore this element of your training and it could end up costing you dearly – both literally or figuratively.

Let me put to you this way – would you rather spend your hard earned wages on physiotherapy, MRI scans, doctor’s appointments, blood tests and consultant visits (still with no diagnosis or end in sight…) OR on the entry fee to the Boston Marathon?

Easy, right?

 

January On The Bike – The End is Nigh

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When I first started this cycling in the winter malarky last November-ish, I was a little shell-shocked, I have no problem admitting. Before then, I’d only ever taken the bike out of the shed between the months of June-October on days in between running days to get in some light cross-training. Come the end of October, I’d typically have packed in the bike after running the Dublin Marathon until starting running training properly again in Spring.

Alas, times have changed. Having not been able to run since last April, I’ve been on the bike 3-4 times a week and have pedalled on through the winter months. It’s been cold, it’s been wet and yes, it’s been emotional.

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Some great views from the Wicklow mountains, even in gloomy weather.

Depending on how you just read that, it could sound bleak. It’s not. Heading out early on a winter Sunday morning into a winter fog, trees frozen white and the fields hugging a low white fog… it’s nothing short of religious. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to over-romanticise it either – those mornings also involve freezing fingers despite wearing two pairs of gloves and numb feet (particularly the left one for some reason…) And on particularly cold days, it has also meant a very cold head.

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Rainy day winter gear – all the layers!

Cycling in the winter months undoubtedly makes you tougher and more resilient as a cyclist. You don’t look out the winter and think “Nah, it’s too wet/ cold/ windy”. You don’t decide to turn back home just because the wind is kicking your ass after the first hour and you still have 2 more hours to go. If you can be soaked to the skin (wearing 2 jackets…), the wind blowing you backwards and take ANOTHER wrong turn and STILL keep going forward, that’s progress.

It might not feel like it at the time – in fact, it really doesn’t feel like it at the time – but that’s how you grow as a cyclist. It’s a lot like running that way – it’s all in your head. Your mentality is everything both in running and in cycling. Mental toughness is at least half of what makes up the essential ingredients for success.

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One layer, two layer, three potato…four!

Cycling this winter has been a revelation for me and also a kind consolation for not being able to run. It’s given me something to do when I couldn’t pop on my running shoes like I normally would every day. It’s given me the head space and time out I need on a daily basis. And it’s given me something fun to play around with while I wait for my feet to heal.

Having said that… I’m looking forward to the days getting longer and warmer, when I can head up into the Wicklow mountains without any fear of wet roads and, dear God, for those days when I don’t have to wear 3 layers of clothes on the bike! I can’t believe I used to just wear a short-sleeve cycling jersey, shorts and one pair of light socks… shocking.

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The professional cycling season is about to get underway in earnest in next few months with the roll out of the Spring classics and I’m genuinely excited to see how it’s going to unfold. I may not be as tough as those guys, but cycling through these recent winter months, I could at least pretend to be for a few hours 😉

Happy January, roll on February!!

Let’s Talk About Feet (again)

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Full disclosure-these are not my feet but I love this picture. Happy feet or what?!

I’ve talked about my feet so many times on this blog that I’m starting to feel they have more of a presence than I have on here. In fairness, their drama, trips, days out, dates and life in general has been far more exciting than my own of late…

For those who don’t know (and have been saved that pedi-saga) I injured both feet in the run-up to the Paris marathon 2016, in or about March last year, which has resulted in me being benched from running for nearly 10 months now. Since then, I’ve seen numerous physiotherapists, a GP, a chiropodist and two orthopaedic surgeons who specialise in feet – all of whom have given me a different diagnosis in terms of the source of the pain in my feet. The first physio told me it was soft tissue damage, “just a battering” from all the marathon training. The second physio (from the same clinic) told me it was NOT a soft tissue injury at all, rather it was more likely a rheumatological condition, possibly rheumatoid arthritis.

On foot of what physio no.2 said, I visited my GP who ran blood tests which confirmed no inflammatory markers in my bloods. So, she ruled out the possibility that the cause of my foot pain was rheumatoidal. She referred me on to an orthopaedic specialist who specialises in foot problems on the basis that the pain could be a result of a stress fracture. On inspection of my feet, this orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that indeed the source of my foot pain was most likely a result of a stress fracture – 90% sure it was a stress fracture in the 5th metatarsal – to be precise.

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Went for an MRI… went back to Mr. Ortho… no stress fracture, anywhere in my feet. He then promptly informed me that he could do nothing further for me given that the problem did not appear to be a bone problem nor could he offer any opinion on what was wrong with my feet.

At this point, I cried.

It had been 9 months of different experts, with wildly different views on what is wrong with my damn feet. And here I was, after spending a chunk of money on all these guys and having not been able to go for a run in so long standing in a car park outside a hospital thinking I’m never going to be able to run again…. and not one person can tell me what is wrong with me. So I cried. With my Dad (who had kindly come with me to the appointment) looking at me like I was crazytown.

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This week I went to see another orthopaedic (foot) surgeon for a second opinion, which if nothing else, was hilarious. What my mother calls a good old-fashioned surgeon- glasses, dicky bow, abrupt, utterly unsympathetic, impatient and entirely forthright and opinionated – I loved it. After examining my feet, he took the view that I have basically bad feet. I have splayed, wide feet, with bunions, swelling in the forefoot and collapsed arches – basically, all these factors combined mean that the mechanics of my feet is all off. He told me that the custom orthotics I had made many years ago were useless on their own and that they would not be effective without accompanying exercises to make them work.

So what did he decide should be the next step? A physio! No, but not just anyone, he specifically recommended a Dublin physio who has worked with Athletics Ireland specialising in sports injuries with good experience. Given that this glowing referral came from a man who strikes me as exceptionally hard to impress, I’m expecting great things. I’m honestly very excited and feeling more positive about this than I have in months.

I have an appointment in 2 weeks time and I can’t wait. In the meantime, I also have an appointment to see a rheumatologist to investigate my Reynaud’s and just to rule out any rheumatoidal cause of my foot pain.

For the moment, I am still cycling away at weekend and early mornings before work, when I can. The mornings are slowly getting brighter earlier and the days are starting to stretch out and I can’t wait for those long Summer days… I also just joined a gym to action my new year’s resolution to get stronger this year. Strength and conditioning is an area I’ve neglected for a long time and I’m hoping if I can work on it, it might help with my feet/ knee/other injuries going forward.

Injuries suck, no doubt. I miss running massively. Word. But for the first time in a long time, I’m starting to feel like there’s hope that maybe some day in the near (ish) future, one of these experts will tell me it’s time to run again.

And what a wonderful day that will be. Happy running folks, enjoy!

Meaty Confessions

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I like meat, I like fish and I like vegetables. I’m a big egg fan and I’m quite certain I’d be miserable if I gave up dairy products. I don’t do strange diets, I’ve never tried to be a full-blown vegan and I’m still not entirely sure what “Whole 30” actually means.

This is my confession.

Like most people out there, I’m going into the new year with good intentions of eating healthier and losing some weight. But I’m not about to dive into a sufferfest. If I’m going to succeed in the long term, it has to be something that I both enjoy and is sustainable. Not something that has me barking at people, losing my mind because all you can think of is a rasher sandwich or dreaming of cheese because you’ve crossed that off your list of “acceptable foods”.

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I fly the flag for free range, sustainable farming and proper treatment of animals, as well as only choosing to eat fish that are in season – no question. I grow a lot of our own vegetables at home in the front garden, my Dad collects honey from our own beehives (leaving plenty for the bees to eat during the winter) and our family is very conscious of food waste, recycling and generally finding ways to promote sustainability and kindness to the environment.

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My Dad was a farmer and we were raised to appreciate and respect the food that we were given. My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were kids, but they always told us that spending money on quality food was important. We learned about the value of food and the animals behind the finished products. My Dad would tell stories of his farming days in Denmark where he ended up with a pet pig (Oscar) because he couldn’t bring himself to leave him at the Abattoir after he escaped and made a run for a nearby wedding reception, where he was found standing on a table eating the wedding cake (true story).

Farmer

My Dad is an animal lover. He feeds the birds in the garden every day, talks to the robin who keeps him company as he weeds the vegetable patch and since our dog Molly has died, he frequently rambles down to the local pet shop to see how they’re all doing. Without fail, Molly was always the first in the house who he’d say hello to in the mornings or upon returning to the house. He’s also saved the life of many a bird that has smacked into the kitchen windows, mending wings and carefully nursing a few back to health with boiled eggs and milk.

My Dad eats meat every day of the week. Give or take. So how do you reconcile all of this?

Appreciation and respect.

He has utter respect for animals and in turn, appreciates the sacrifice of animal life and the food they provide to sustain life.

I respect completely other people’s views and how they choose to live their lives. How others choose to live their lives is their decision and I don’t feel it’s for me to judge anyone else. As for me, I have grown up with a man who loves animals, cares for and respects them more than anyone I have ever met. I have grown up with a farmer who acknowledges the value of meat and dairy products, as well as the sacrifice involved. I have grown up with a man who eats meat.

Incidentally, I’m actually a veggie lover and my diet probably comprises 80% vegetables and fish. I eat meat about once a week. The point is I do eat meat and I probably always will. Like my Dad, I’m an animal lover and I’m always conscious of the ultimate sacrifice animals make, as well as the impact on global carbon emissions.

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I eat a lot of plates that look like this. Spuds, fish and all the greens…

 

To say that I will never eat meat again would be dishonest and just never going to happen. But what I can do and what we all can do is reduce the amount of meat that we currently eat – if you eat 7 days a week, then reduce it to 6… then 5…. then 4…

And don’t be weird about it.

Not eating meat doesn’t have to equate to sitting down at the dinner table with sad bowl of iceberg lettuce. Who would do that? Have something tasty, like pizza, welsh-rarebit, butternut squash Thai red curry, spaghetti, creamy mushroom tagliatelle or lentil lasagne. Oh, or giant baked potato and baked beans… stuffed jacket potatoes. Now you might be starting to realise why I eat vegetarian most of the time just because I want to…

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Mmm…grapes…

Eating meat is not something you have to be ashamed of. But not having respect, or an appreciation for it or where it comes from, is. Reducing how much you eat and ensuring the quality of the source it comes from (ie. free range) IS something YOU can contribute in ensuring a better world for animals and human beings alike.

These are just my scribblings on thoughts that regularly rattle around my head and are not intended to be advice or opinions that I would inflict on anyone. It’s just me trying to make sense of my world! Thanks for reading x

A Toast to 2017…

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I’m not one for looking back or for dwelling over what might have been. Time spent wondering about things that are done, in the past and forever unchangeable has always seemed to me to be a pointless exercise… as well as an instrument of self-torture.

You cannot change what has happened so don’t bother wasting more time trying to. 

I’m inherently optimistic. So if something bad or unexpected happens or things just don’t turn out how you hoped they would, my approach is always to see what good can be taken from it and move forward, constructively and better. Just like a wise man once said:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (Samuel Beckett)

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Dublin city in NYE is always good craic.

In short, 2016 has been a long year for me, full of adventure, new people and new experiences. I have loved all (with one or 2 exceptions 😉 – Is it ever any other way?) the new people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and the many new friends I’ve made through work, clubs, races, etc. Not without its sad moments however, 2016 ushered in a few sad goodbyes too.

I am very excited about 2017 and I cannot wait to get cracking.

I start a new job in January and I’m proper excited to get stuck into a new, challenging role. Travel, holidays to new places, new races and the possibility of my first ever home of my own… I can’t wait for it all.

What I Want Out of 2017 (maybe…)

  • Sit the NY Bar exam (Will they ever approve my foreign qualifications? Please?)
  • Get my own place (if the above doesn’t happen!)
  • Take a road trip in USA. Stay in motels. Eat ribs and grits.
  • Get strong. I have zero upper body strength or any strength in general. I could run and cycle all day but ask me to do a single press-up and I can’t get off the floor.
  • Explore my own country. I’ve been to so many places around Ireland but there are just so many other places yet to be explored. It’s shameful. 2017 is going to involve at a minimum, trips to Derry, Belfast, Killarney and more mountain climbing everywhere.

 

Be kind to yourself tomorrow as you ring in the New Year, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Don’t beat yourself up or get stuck on the “what-might-have-beens”.

We are none of us perfect, without flaws or free from moments we wish we should have done better.

We will not be at our best every moment, of every day.

We will not always say the right thing or do the correct things.

We will say stupid things when tired and make wrong decisions because we think it will help someone else.

We will be misunderstood, misunderestimated and mistaken all the time.

Accept this and remember it in your kindness to others. Without getting too heavy here, I just think if people were all a bit more considerate, tolerant and kinder to each other, the world would be a much nicer place to live in. It doesn’t take much and it can mean the world of difference to someone else.

And you know, as Helen Mirren recently said in the Hollywood blockbuster Collateral Beauty…

Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty.”

Happy new year, enjoy the celebrations whatever you’re doing and just be sure that whatever you do in 2017, however small or grand your plans are, don’t forget to take notice of the… 😉