Happy New Year!
I’m back at work, it’s cold, grey, wet and I detect the beginnings of the dreaded Manflu creeping up on me. I’m already annoyed by every paper or magazine telling me to start a new health regime, 'New Year, New Me' indeed. Bah Humbug!
Pah! I’m a free person and I’ll do what I want, you can’t order me to be ‘new’! I refuse to have a completely dry January (it’s already too late for that) and I didn’t get a juice extractor in my stocking so didn’t have green goo for breakfast. I haven’t joined the gym (again) nor have I given up chocolate or am determined to eat only tofu. I have not detoxed; I will choose whether I want to eat pasta or bread thanks. I doubt I’ll read the complete work of Shakespeare or even give up watching box sets in 2015. I refuse to be told how to behave. Hurrah!
But, as a free willed person and without being told what to do, I am going to take some positive steps. I have written a short and achievable list of things I’d like to do this year, things that will make me feel good about myself and give me a sense of achievement. Not because I’m told to but because I want to.
Last year, Emma and I set out to do a long bike ride down the length of France, a ride that terrified us but we did it nonetheless. It gave us a wonderful sense of achievement and it raised money for the ‘blokes’. Neither of us used to be cyclists and, in 2007, when I bought a bike I found five miles to be incredibly challenging. However, now I know I can ride across France and up blooming big hillsides; I’ve done something I never thought I’d be able to do and it feels good. This year we will be joining around 2000 other cyclists – some ‘Lycra Legends’, some very much ‘Puffing Pedlars’– on the Hero Ride and when we all finish (which we will) we will have raised a huge amount of money and everyone will feel brilliant. There will be a collective discovery that we can do things we never thought possible; and that feels very good indeed.
You don’t have to jump on a bike, climb a mountain or run in big circles to feel a real sense of achievement, that’s not the point. You just have to do something that makes your heart beat faster, something that challenges you. For some, it might be laying on a pub quiz and hoping people turn up that gets the heartrate going. Or, you could organise a Non Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing event or become the next Mary Berry while Baking for Heroes; whatever gets you saying, ‘I wonder if I could do that? It would be amazing if I could.’
Oh, and don’t say 'I can’t'. I saw Malcolm a couple of weeks ago; he is approaching 70. I think he’s got some bionic knees or hips and while he is no Mark Cavendish he did complete the Big Battlefield Bike Ride last year in memory of his wife Davina. Now he is planning his next bike ride – from Salisbury to Istanbul!
So, if you’re ready to say ‘I can’ and need some inspiration just have a look at our website for some ideas and examples of the extraordinary things people have done to raise money for the ‘blokes’. All are ordinary people but each is doing extraordinary things, big and small, to do their bit.
Finally, without trying to tell you what to do, might I suggest that you throw off the duvet and get going! Like it or not, 2015 is here, it is a New Year and I don’t know of a better time to start doing something, anything to make a difference to your life, and the lives of others. Not because I or anyone else tells you to, but because you want to and if you do, you’ll feel better!
Onwards and Upwards!