Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Just Do It

I have a confession to make. Tonight I have been to college. No, not to improve my IT skills or to learn a new language, but to learn how to sing.
I have another confession to make. On Friday, I have a cycling lesson. Not to improve my technique and to make me safer on the roads, but to learn how to cycle. Nope, I never learned how to ride a bike as a kid. And yes, I am doing something about it at the grand old age of 31.
You see, recently I have come to the conclusion that it is about time that I get around to doing all the things that I really want to do, or think it is about time I got to grips with. I always loved singing at school, and although I know I will never win the X Factor, I would love to have the confidence to belt out a power ballad or two in a karaoke bar. So, a couple of months ago I searched the net and enrolled at the Working Men’s College in Camden. So far I am loving it, even if I seem to spend more time laughing than singing. As for the cycling, well, after over eight years of having the mickey taken out of me by Him Indoors, I decided it was about time I got myself in the saddle. Okay, so I doubt that I will start cycling around London to work every day, but at least I will be able to wobble around Centre Parcs when I go on my jollies. And the added bonus? My council are providing me with up to four hours of tuition absolutely gratis.
So, what has happened? Why have I suddenly started to do all these weird and wonderful things? Well, I think there are a lot of factors to it. One is suddenly finding myself in my thirties and in a job that makes me go “meh” rather than “WOOHOO!” Another is the wakeup call the possibility of redundancy gave me earlier this year. But mainly I think it has been the “sod it” attitude that I have developed over recent months.
You see, I have come to the conclusion that, if you don’t give it ago, you will never know. How will I know if I can sing or ride a bike unless I give it a try? Okay, so the ability to warble along to Celine Dion or wobble along a bridle path in the middle of the Cotswolds is not going to change my life. But learning how to set up my own business and attempting to write a novel? Well, who knows what could happen?
I can’t say that I have got to this state of mind completely on my own. About 18 months ago I went to my first “More To Life Than Shoes” meeting and, before I knew it, I had committed to writing 1,500 words of my “long piece” every week. Over a year later and I am now on my second edit. Slowly but surely, I am producing a piece of writing that, even if it doesn’t even get sniffed at by a publisher, I can be proud of and say, I did that.
It doesn’t stop there. In March I went to a London Business Link seminar about setting up your own business. You see, I dream of opening my own cafe one day and had come to the conclusion that it was about time I dip my toes into the business world. So I have decided I will try out the concept by selling some of my crafty work on the internet and at market stalls around London. I admit, I haven’t got far with it yet, but it is a work in progress. And, you never know, I might even sell something.
Full of enthusiasm I then turned to my old favourite – the “self help” book. I am in the throes of “Creating a Life Worth Living” with Carol Lloyd and have just finished “More To Life Than Shoes” by Nadia Finer and Emily Nash. Written by two of the founders of the support network, it explores how women have overcome various obstacles to get where they really want to be in life, whether that is as a speaker in the House of Commons, a fighter pilot or a novelist. And, even if you don’t fancy any of the career paths the 100 women interviewed for the book have followed, you will be inspired by how they got there, whether they had to fight sexism in the workplace, juggle their career with family commitments or overcome their greatest fear.
So, whatever you feel like doing, wish you had tried or have never got round to, just do it. Okay, I am not suggesting you jack in the day job just yet, but put the feelers out, do some research on the net, enrol on that college course, get inspired by others. In London alone there are dozens of colleges, social groups and life coaches who can give you the help that you need to try it out and say you gave it ago. And okay, so you might fall off your bike, but you can pick yourself up again and always try skateboarding instead.

1 comment:

  1. Aha, something I can do better than you (just about). Hmmm, bike riding - not a family skill :)

    You do beat me on the singing side of things though. Not that I'm competetive.... at all :)