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Adventures, Old Friend

Friday, March 13, 2015

By Paul Willgoss

“Adventures, old friend!” is the cry of Don Quixote de la Mancha to Sancho his squire, and whilst one friend has called me the “Knight of the Woeful Countenance,” I hope my grasp of reality is somewhat firmer than Don Quixote’s. There is something important about living your dreams and tilting at windmills.

I’m still in the middle of the testing cycle that I mentioned a couple of blogs ago. I’ve been MRI’d, done the 24h ECG, and have the exercise test on Monday. Having just run a half marathon, I’m not exactly sure what it’s going to show but hey ho! Some of us would decide, probably rightly, that this wouldn’t be the time to seek out new adventures, but I tried that for a whole month and got bored and tetchy.

So I’ve looked for new adventures, things to challenge me in ways that I enjoy—and it’s all about the combination of physical and mental challenge. Mentally, planning and executing a multi-day hike is hard work—logistics of when and where to sleep, eat and these days charge the gadgets can involve spreadsheets and timetabling of the sort that I’m sure in days gone by would’ve been enough to get a man on the moon. Physically, after a long winter of the flu and generally feeling rubbish, I can sense the growing need for commitment, for three runs a week—in short, to run a marathon again.

These adventures are the ones I’m known for, but there are also the ones I do more quietly, like the arts and humanities degree I’m doing by distance learning. I’ve been a scientist for best part of 30 years now, so studying art history is as scary as any mountain I’ve walked up. So why am I doing it? For the adventure, that slight thrill of stepping into the unknown and not knowing if you’ll fall or find yourself on a travellator.

There’s also the finding little adventures, the doing the new thing at work, the going to an exhibition that you’re not sure you’ll like, the trying new restaurants, and the whole new cuisines. Yes, there will be duff ones, but adventure is like that and the joy should be in the experience itself.

And I think that’s the point I’ve been struggling to find for this blog. As GUCHs, ACHDers, we have hundreds of totally legitimate reasons not to do things, but sometimes putting a shaving bowl on your head, sitting astride an old nag and looking for your Dulcinea is the thing to do. At the moment it is for me; when it’s the right time for you—you’ll know.

Adventures, dear friend. Adventures…

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