…………………or slow and steady wins the race, two great sayings that we are taught when we are younger but I never really took much notice of it. I lived my life at 100 miles an hour growing up playing loads of sports, working three part time jobs whilst studying and once hitting 18 (cough cough) burning the candle at both ends pubbing and clubbing in the evenings even once having a full time job. All night poker games were finished in time for me to return home to shower and dress and go out for a days work and everything was possible. With this lifestyle and “fitness” that I was doing I felt invincible. I drank heavily, I’d like to say I was a binge drinker, but if it’s everyday it’s less of a binge and more of a habit, I smoked heavily and my diet was atrocious. I really was in all honesty heading full speed in to an early grave. It is perhaps with some irony then that instead I headed full speed into my car accident and had my lifestyle changed for me.
Initially I became very depressed after my accident stuck indoors, weight ballooning and bad habits continuing. I’d spent 24 and a half years being the hare, I wasn’t sure how to be the tortoise. Some would say still today I don’t know how to be the tortoise but I am beginning to see the benefits of being the tortoise.
- They say men are either legs and bums or breast men (obviously I’m talking chickens). I’ve always been the former and being a slow mover now whether its using my walking aids, my wheelchair or my mobility scooter I now spend 90% of my time following my wife and I have to say it’s the perfect view!
- I really appreciate days when I can escape the monotony of the four walls at home, be it a coffee and cake with my neighbours or a day out with family and friends.
- Moving slower I see more beauty all around, the fantastic skies that our weather can throw up, the different colours you see, spotting insects and bugs I would previously have run past or worse on without even noticing them.
- I get to use the family camera and capture our special moments, the zoom lens even means that when I fall behind I can still capture some lovely photos
- Little things make me smile whereas before I wouldn’t have noticed them.
- I no longer smoke and I drink far less (14 Vodka Cokes a night have been replaced with 1 pint a month if I am lucky)
Now arguably as time and age approaches some of the slowing down would have happened naturally but having it thrust upon you decisions that you make are with a whole new thought process. Today as I spent 3 minutes walking 10 metres to our neighbours I started to contemplate the change of pace.
The flip side of becoming the tortoise is that my fuse seems to have gotten shorter as my speed decreases, living in the country I was notoriously laid back before my accident and little things rarely got to me, now the Norfolk habit of not knowing what the little orange lights called indicators are for on cars is like a red rag to a bull. Does this also happen in time, are we all heading for a retirement life like Victor Meldrew or has this change in fuse been caused by a combination of the pain and the meds? Even more questions for me to contemplate, and contemplate I will as there is plenty of time for that whilst sitting up agt 3am!
I know people who work so hard and chase life so fast like the hare so that they can have all the material things that society dictates, that there is little time for them to enjoy the simple things in life the sand under your feat, a picnic lunch etc I feel sorry for them, but not as sorry as I feel for people who have become the tortoise during hibernation. Those that have had their get up and go stolen, I’d give anything to be able to try and strike the balance between the two again. The trouble is temptation is all around us and we all too easily forget to live our lives. It is not until something is taken from you or your are a crisis point that you start to feel happy with what you have. I think it is human or rather animal nature to always want more, I learnt this week that supposedly 10% of male penguins are caring for the upbringing of another penguins child. DNA data tests proved that the Penguin who supposedly mates for life doesn’t. Talk about disappointed.
Is life ever what you expect it is going to be, if you can’t grab the tequilla when life bings you lemons what can you do. I’m not sure who I am racing anymore, whether the tortoise has credibility or the hare is more enjoyable. All I do know is that have prattled on long enough……………..