Last week, I added five more tasks or challenges to my list, taking the total to ninety.
The motivation for no.86 was my reflection in a mirror… awful. My willpower waxes and wanes with annoying regularity, but I know I’m capable of losing quite a lot of weight quickly, as opposed to a more gradual longer-term and sensible approach. I’m not going to go into the particulars of the diet and exercise regime I’m following because the subjects of weight, eating, self-esteem and mental health are rarely the best bedfellows–suffice to say what I’m doing is time-limited and controlled.
Nos.87 to 90 were added after reading a series of blog entries from a young woman who completed one hundred challenges in one hundred days a couple of years ago. Fascinating stuff, a fantastic achievement… and something I wanted to recognise by including a few from her list within my project.
The penultimate (and the 69th to be completed) task was to create a motivational poster, which I thought was a really interesting idea.
Social media is overflowing with so many quotes and sayings covering almost every imaginable aspect of life, so picking just one that had a strong personal resonance was never going to be straightforward….
But after a good couple of hours, I found a couple of lines that really hit home. The quote is attributed to the author George Eliot, and reads thus: “It is never too late to be what you might have been”.
These past few years, with Elaine’s wonderful love and support, I have tried to both raise awareness of an issue that is very important to me, and also prove (if only to myself) that decades of perceived under-achievement could be belatedly superseded… or at least partially replaced, by pushing myself to undertake various challenges.
Whilst the cause will always be far more important than any personal satisfaction, I can’t really measure the success or otherwise of my efforts to raise mental health awareness; but what I can say for certain is that the events of these past three years have taught me so much, about the person I am and what I’m actually capable of…. (some of it’s even been positive too…!).
If I could encapsulate everything into one single moment, it would back in December 2014, just after I had finished my first ever routine at The Stand comedy club in Newcastle. It had (unexpectedly) gone really well, I (equally unexpectedly) received a wonderful reaction from the audience; and as I exited stage left, I spotted Elaine….
She looked so proud—obviously there was more than a hint of surprise and relief too!—but in that split second, the smile on Elaine’s face and the look in her eyes made me feel fantastic; and it meant the world to me that I was sharing the experience… in fact my life with someone so very special.
Back to the quote and, as an aside, George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, the noted author of Middlemarch, The Mill on the Floss and a number of other novels I’ve never read. The former was set in the fictional weaving village of Tipton, but was actually based on the Foleshill area of Coventry—where many of my Mum’s ancestors lived and worked during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
That’s just another reason why I find these words inspiring.
The final picture comprises the quote, blue sky appearing from behind grey clouds (all very symbolic) and a few photos of me at various stages of my fifty-two years.
I sincerely hope no one views this as self-indulgent because when I look at these faces, my first thoughts are always about my failings and mistakes. The hope is that one day I will finally see the face of someone who didn’t always get things right, but kept going, never gave up and maybe… just maybe got close to being what he might have been.
Richard... Jack of some trades... you can guess the rest