If something makes you happy – JFDI!
Life’s too short, right? We hear this all the time, and strangely it’s often from those people who are perhaps the least likely to grab life by the balls and follow their dreams, instead sticking to the normal, comfortable, safe option they know inside out. Well this year, in case you hadn’t twigged, I’m walking the walk on this one. Since losing Simon, my parents and I have talked about life being too short so many times, but this year (14 years later) it really feels we’re doing something about it.
So many people have commented that it’s a great thing that we’re doing what we want, and how lucky, brave, crazy we are for doing some of the things we’re doing! But in my view, it’s not about bravery, luck or having a slight mental streak (although I’d probably own up to truth in the latter). It’s about opportunity and, most importantly, not waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap. More often than not, we have to create them for ourselves – not always as hard as it seems.
Take last week, for example. I spent an hour in the company of some friends I’d not seen in over seven years and in that hour, probably smiled and laughed more than I did all week.
Many of my friends live all over the country so I make every effort to travel to see them. I travel a lot with my work, so if I can tie in visits, I do, wherever possible (York’s a long way North for them to come to me, more often than not!) So when I first went to Sutton Courtenay ten years ago, to see PauliePaul at the George & Dragon (the local pub where he was living), I was welcomed into the G&D drinking fold by not just PauliePaul, but NevNev, Ed & Sarah, Live Wire, Sharkey Dave, Pete & Sue, Big Pete, and anyone else who had two parts to their name. (If, like me, they just had one then they simply doubled-up, hence I was BokBok). For a year or so, I drove 3.5 hours each way, most weekends, to socialise with the G&D crew; either in the bar for a standard Saturday night, at Brise Norton at silly am to welcome ‘Sexy RAF’ back from the Falklands, for a garden party at the Crazy Bear, to partake in a black tie casino night on New Year’s Eve, for a cheeky chinky in Abingdon, or a tow at the Ski lake. Whatever the reason, I quickly became good friends with a whole new group and felt wholeheartedly welcomed into the fold. (In honesty, I suspect this was more Paul’s doing than mine; he seemed so respected by them, I think that any friend of his would’ve been a friend of theirs, but don’t tell him that 😉 …)
So knowing I’d be in the area, and having thought about calling in soooooo many times before, I spotted an opportunity on Facebook and pounced. NevNev (who now lives with wife Lisa Poos and son George in Spain) is coming over, I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere? Meanwhile, as I’m heading down to the Crazy Bear for dinner, I’m thinking there’s a meet-up brewing here, I can feel it! So en route to dinner, NevNev (who’s staying at Ed & Sarah’s) gets a call consisting muchly of giggling and shouts of “NevNev!!!!!!” and “BokBok!!!!!” and we call in for a quick hello. Seeing them again was just lovely. They haven’t changed a bit – maybe Ed’s hair is a little thinner / more blonde, and with the addition of some gorgeous small people, they’re just as happy and welcoming as always – goodness knows why I haven’t called in to see them before now, probably because I didn’t take or make th opportunity. But I’m so glad that this time I did. Peroni? ooh don’t mind if I do…