Alone

Well, it’s been a considerable amount of time since I last penned a post. A lot has happened since then. I had my work trip to Rio and then got swept up in a million and one things that I didn’t really have much control over. It’s been a tough last few weeks and today, on the 2nd anniversary of losing my Grandfather, I’m finding myself in a generally reflective mood.

One of the things that has been on my mind for a few months now, is the subject of loneliness. At what point are we actually alone? The reason for this trail of thought is due to a man, probably in his 80’s who I used to pass everyday on my journey to work. He would be walking to, or already sitting, at the bus stop as I drove past. He was always on his own.

It made me sad to see him there like that. His walking cane rested against his left leg, his eyes bright and a small smile as he waited eagerly for the bus to arrive. But why? He could very well have been going shopping, or to visit his friend/loved one in hospital, or perhaps just going to meet someone for a coffee. But what if he had no one? What if this man, whom the years had painted with wrinkles and the sun had weathered his skin, was completely alone in this world.

That last point made me stop and think. He’s not alone. He may not realise it, but every day, even now, when I pass that bus stop I think of that man. If someone is thinking of us, are we ever truly alone? So I don’t know his address or even his name, but he’s in my thoughts and, were I a religious person, he would be in my prayers.

We all have times when the days, weeks, months and yes even years, may drag us down and we all feel that no one knows what we are going through. But why is it that no one understands? In my case, it’s purely because I take no time to let people in and allow them to get to know me. That is easily fixed in time. There is always someone who will understand. Be it a therapist, friend, lover, colleague or anonymous stranger (The Samaritans for example), there is always someone to turn to.

Sometimes we need that grounding, to be reminded that we aren’t alone. We all have to muddle through and carve out a path in life. Rich, poor, hungry, full, married, single. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we take the time to make sure people know that they are never alone. When you next goto the shops or to work, take a look around you at the people you see everyday. Those cars that pass by every day. Those people on the train with you. The people and those cars may be nameless, but chances are that at least one of them will recognise you and notice if you’re not there.

I haven’t seen that man at the bus stop in a few months now. I hope that it’s purely a change in his routine and that nothing has happened to him. My office will be moving soon so I will never see him again, but I hope that he is happy and safe. It may seem a weird thing to say about someone I have never (and will never) meet, but it goes a long way to remind me that no matter what happens in life, there is always someone who recognises you and probably thinks of you.

And for as long as that goes on, I can never really say I’m alone.

Advertisements

Inspiration v Age

What did you dream for your life when you were younger? Was it for fame and fortune? Perhaps just money? For me, it was to be a Paramedic. At least that was until I realised I hated people being sick, so I then decided I wanted to be a Fire Fighter. This still holds some weight with me. I would love to be able to say that I help people. To be able to say that I am making a difference.

Money and fame seems to be the driving factor for most people. I wonder whether this is born out of a need to be noticed, a sense of worthlessness in their life, or whether these people honestly believe that the only way they can make something of themselves is to be on X Factor, or some other ‘talent’ show.

London 2012 was a chance for everyone to experience a different sort of ‘talent’ show. The likes of Jessica Ennis, Charlotte Dujardin, Pete Reed, Jade Jones and countless others put themselves out there to challenge to be the best in their respective sports. The aim of the games was to ‘inspire a generation’, but I wonder how many young people will step up to this challenge. And is it only the ‘young’ who can dream to compete? Nick Skelton took Gold at the age of 54.

I have seen a number of comments on Twitter, particularly from younger people, who would love to represent their country in a sport. Some have no idea which sport to take up, but all the same, the interest is there. I think in that way, the message has been broadcast, heard and understood. I only hope that those who have the passion to compete, are given the support by their families, friends and have the money to undertake the training. To everyone who makes the choice to take up this challenge, I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope that one day we are all watching and cheering you on to Gold.

But, I have also seen others who claim that it’s too late for them to try. These are people who are currently sportsmen/women, some in their 30’s, who feel they would be unable to compete at an international standard due to their age. At what point are you too old? I remember having a conversation with a fellow crew member at a rowing club who said she would love to compete at the Olympics, but because she’s in her early 30’s, she was laughed at.

So is that it? At the age of (nearly 30) am I now too old to ever reach an international standard? I agree that there are times you may be out done by a younger competitor, but does that mean that we no longer even try? I refuse to regret decisions I have made in my life, but sitting here, I wonder if I should have continued with my Karate training (and taken my black belt exam) rather than a change of direction and treading the boards at the local theatre. You certainly get more support, it seems, when you are younger.

I start my Karate training again this week but people approach you differently when you’re heading toward (or stumbling past) 30. As the average population age increases, why should people in their late 20’s and 30’s be made to feel like they are heading over the hill?

Personally, I think I’m still (slowly) climbing the hill and have no desire to hit the top or head over it, until I’m heading toward 50!