Monday, January 20, 2014

January blues, Resolutions and Bucket Lists

So the dreary grey of January has descended upon us. People on the tube look even more depressed than usual, and the next holiday seems an awfully long way away.

And as if to subliminally tell me that I should be in the same mood, I've spent the last two weeks or so having my butt kicked by some kind of gross virus.

A consequence of that has been that my social life nosedived for a little while, but not to be deterred I attempted to use my time in bed to my advantage. I’ve spent a large portion of January mulling over this idea of resolutions, and on a larger scale ‘Bucket Lists’. For those of you who don’t know, a bucket list is a personal list people make of the top things they want to do before they die. It’s normally 100 different things so it does take quite a lot of work and effort. Now before you worry readers, I haven’t gone that far (yet)…but I have mentioned it for a specific reason.

Bucket Lists and New Years resolutions are slightly different concepts, but they are quite often greeted with a similar snort of derision and a wry smile when discussed. Although I endeavor to be an optimist and a ‘dreamer’ I’ll concede that in reality a large proportion of resolutions will fall short, and I’m sure a number of boxes will be left un-ticked on people’s bucket lists. With that clear though, why do we insist on looking at these concepts as nothing more than pipe dreams or some sort of life crisis? Have our lives shackled us to the point that anything out of the ordinary is unobtainable or unrealistic? One friend of mine went as far as to say that she didn’t make any New Years resolutions simply because she already knew she wouldn’t follow through with any of them.

I personally could never live my life with that kind of outlook, but granted some people are just inherently pessimistic. That isn’t the problem though, it’s the total apathy a lot of people have towards broadening their horizons. 

Maybe I’m on my own in this and at the risk of sounding horribly clich├ęd, but the opportunities this world has to offer are endless and not only that, there are so many personal goals that each and everyone of us can achieve. Scrap that obvious image of jumping out of a plane from your mind; I’m talking about any type of goal you want. Even if it’s something mundane, it’s still something that you may have harbored a desire for, anything from getting a pet, to getting in shape, to saying ‘I love you’ more to the people you care about.

Once you’ve conquered some smaller goals, then set yourself more challenging ones. Move abroad and experience a different culture. Sack in a job if you hate it and pursue something that you love. Compete in an Ironman. Whatever it is, it really doesn’t matter. Even if you are a pessimist, that’s ok, but just give something a go. Break the mould and open yourself up to new experiences and new memories. Above all, anything is better than pure apathy. To be scared or to lack belief is ok, because you’ve already taken the first and biggest step in taking the challenge on.

So not to be labeled as a hypocrite, while I was lying in bed sporting some very stuffy sinuses, one thumping headache and with the traditional January blues, I thought about what I wanted to take on as a challenge. I decided I wanted to challenge myself to get fit and to motivate myself I decided to sign up for something slightly daunting…a 10k Assault Course run. 

So now I’m steeling myself to be covered in mud, drenched in ice-cold water, burnt, cut and electrocuted around a 10-kilometre course. And as if that wasn’t enough I decided to try and do two in 2 consecutive weekends. A quick thank you to Jonathan Friedman for being as crazy as me and joining me on this!

But this is just me, and my weird obsessions with challenging myself physically and mentally. What about you? Don’t be that apathetic person who reads this, thinks about it for a minute and then glides serenely back into a comfort zone devoid of any real heart stopping experiences. Challenge the monotony, I dare you. Tick off the first box on your bucket list, complete your first resolution…because once you do you’ll soon see that life just becomes that little bit more breathtaking.


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