The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Do one thing every day that scares you

on March 2, 2015

Well I’m not quite sure about doing one thing every day that scares you. I don’t think I’m built to live my life on a permanent knife edge. But I do think that every now and then you should do something that does scare you. Not that I intentionally set out to do such things.

As I get older and with the company of #1, 2 and 3, I have definitely become more risk averse. When I look back to some of the (relatively mild) escapades of my youth mostly involving a pint or two, late nights and public transport, I can now see why my Dad, Mr Li would not approve. But at the time of course I thought it was all risk free and nothing terrible was going to happen which it didn’t. But that’s not the point. Had my Dad, Mr Li had the means to go onto higher education, I think he would make an excellent Risk Assessor and the financial crisis would never have happened with him in charge.

Since becoming a parent, I am constantly on the lookout to avoid scenarios that could lead to some form of hazardous accident that ends up with a trip to A&E. Hence I am constantly voicing the dangers of certain behaviours to #1, 2 and 3 ‘just in case’ it happens. This can range from jumping off items of furniture, venturing off in random directions in public spaces to launching either themselves or blunt objects with little concern for spatial awareness.

Come to think of it, sometimes going out in public with #1, 2 and 3 is exactly like doing the one thing every day that scares you.

I am no adrenaline junkie like Nana Moon, I have never had the inclination to fling myself off a precipice with a piece of elastic as my only trusted friend. Whilst I often have wanted to skydive, I would only do it in tandem because at least someone knows what they are doing. I could never be trusted to pull the cord. I would freeze with fear. If I even was brave enough to fling myself out of the plane in the first place that is.

I say my Dad, Mr Li is the most risk averse person I know and how he can see the danger in all situations usually involving my care of #1, 2 and 3. For example I’ve mentioned before when I’ve told him either #1, 2 or 3 has started to roll/crawl/walk and after marvelling over the fact said Grandchild is rather clever, he will immediately follow it up with ‘be careful they don’t roll/crawl/walk too much and their arms/legs get tired and they headbutt/fall onto the floor’. Indeed.

But really he isn’t. How could he be when I think of how he left Hong Kong in the early 1960s to sail all the way to that far flung dot of an island called the UK by himself to set up a new life. So I like to think that he and I have a degree of bravery somewhere in us that can be drawn upon on the occasions when we feel like doing something to challenge ourselves.

What’s considered a challenge to some would hardly cause others to gently perspire and we all have those strengths and weaknesses within us. I am very good with being on land but I am no good being in or on water, on wheels or mid air without a harness. Even with a harness.

And yet, sometimes there comes a need to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, it’s important to take yourself out of your comfort zone. To feel that rush of fear, doubt, adrenaline that pumps through your veins and reminds you that we are not yet done and ready to be still. We want to be challenged, experience new things and dare to take the risk. By which I mean I don’t expect you to throw your pension savings or the kid’s education fund away on some whimsical plan. That’s just reckless. And we are no longer reckless. We have pension plans.

So what could be slightly risky but not quite reckless? I certainly don’t want to get another one of THOSE telephone calls from my Dad, Mr Li and again I refer to the ALS/MND Ice Bucket Challenge. In fact, if I think about that telephone call too often I would never do anything ever again. So luckily there is no photographic evidence of anything slightly risk worthy in evidence.

Well from my previous post you heard me go on about the Men’s Health Urbanathlon event. It took place on Sunday, 1 March 2015. It’s a 14km course with nine obstacles along the way. When I signed up for it, it seemed like fun and a change from just running. Looking at the different obstacles on the screen of a small smartphone is much different to looking at the obstacles on a full size 23 inch screen.

As the weeks drew nearer to the event, the more nervous I became. The running was fine as I knew I had put in the effort for it. Managing 6 metres across parallel bars using just upper body strength, traversing across 4 inch beams of varying heights off the ground, climbing up 2 metres and reaching out for a rope just slightly beyond reach soon began to take on much bigger proportions in my mind.

I couldn’t understand why I was getting so nervous when really, if I didn’t want to do it or couldn’t do it, I didn’t have to do it. But that’s just it. I am not one to admit defeat. Are you? No, not you either.

I don’t want to not do something in the first place because I’m afraid of defeat or because it seems pointless. What kind of example would that be to #1, 2 and 3. Who we tell are capable of doing anything they choose to do. So why am I not setting them an example? Do things not only to get somewhere but because it’s fun to do and there may be no point in it other than you enjoyed it.

What you find is that when you actually come to do something that scares you, it is never as bad as what you think it is going to be. And after it is done, the sense of personal achievement does great things for your soul.

I say that now as I’m tapping this out sat on a very stable chair with feet firmly on the ground and smelling of Tiger Balm muscle rub that has been liberally applied to all aching muscles that have never had to work before in all my years. I couldn’t say I was feeling quite so sage sat on a ledge some distance up high at the pinnacle before completing the event. You’re so close you can see the Finish line. All you need to do is jump off the ledge onto a foam landing beneath you and that’s it done. So simple. But I am not one for flinging myself off a precipice of any height. Why would I? Would you? You would?

I’d covered the 14km. I had crossed the tipping plank, hauled myself across a slackline by elastic hanging ropes, tentatively traversed the balance beams, forced my way through the pain of having no upper body strength across the parallel bars, jogged 100m with 20kg weights, jumped down a rope 2 metres high, squeezed my way through four hanging tyres without wedging myself in, climbed up and over a 3 metre high truck. Was I then going to sit on that ledge until the Fire Brigade came to rescue me down? Actually, I never really thought of the perks of such a thing happening whilst I was sat up there.

I’d like to say that I managed to gather myself together and gave myself a good talking to in a Rocky-Eye-Of-The-Tiger sort of way and leapt off the ledge with style and panache. But I can’t. I sat and covered my eyes a few times with the MC helpfully encouraging the crowd to ‘jump with her after a countdown from 10’. There wasn’t much I could do. So what I think happened is that I sort of flopped off the ledge, screaming all the down and landed in a bundle on the foam mat beneath. And I survived. I have the medal to prove it. And if anyone tells my Dad, Mr Li about this then I will show him the medal that says ‘SURVIVOR’. That will definitely top the list of pointless things to do alongside tipping a bucket of ice cold water on your head. Especially at my age he will say.

But it’s precisely at my age that you should do one thing every now and then that scares you.

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