Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

I've been somewhat distracted of late with illness and haven't posted my latest results. I was going to go on with a bit of a whinge about my stomach bug but something has happened just in the past few days to put that into perspective. My 26 yr old cousin had a bike accident. She wasn't wearing a helmet, came off the bike and banged her head.

She didn't survive.

This is a tragedy in every sense of the word. Nikki was a beautiful vibrant young woman who loved life and engaged herself at every opportunity. She had overcome some not inconsiderable hurdles throughout her young life and had so much left to offer the world. It's left our family, in particular her dad and grandma, reeling.

I hadn't spoken to Nikki for a while but we were pretty close. I'm still in a bit of shock to be honest. The shock and numbness is strange, it was so sudden and unexpected that it all still seems somewhat surreal.

Our family has had it's fair share of death and illness in the last few months and it has inevitably got me thinking about my own mortality. What do I want from life? What sort of legacy will I leave? I have been guilty of putting things off, making plans and not following through because "I can always do it later". Truth is it's easier just to stay in your own little comfort zone where you are not pushed or tested. Nikki's accident just goes to show that we never know when our number might be up and we have to take full advantage of each and every opportunity that we have. Every day you draw breath is a good day and full of new opportunities to embrace.

Throughout this challenge I have noticed some unexpected transformations taking place within myself. It's not just my body that is changing but my mind and my approach to life. I haven't had a dedicated goal that I have been striving toward for a while and I had forgotten how much this can really affect you. I feel stronger mentally for pushing myself through this and, whilst I can't claim victory yet, I have put in the hard yards so far so I am really primed for a strong run home. I had forgotten how great it feels to push and test yourself (mentally and physically). I have found at times in the midst of a hard session with the lactic burning through my muscles, my lungs gasping for breath and sweat free falling from my pores, that I am grinning from ear to ear like an idiot. My mind, being freed temporarily from the ills of alcohol, sugar and other insidious substances and instead treated to 2-3 hours of substantial exercise a day, is functioning with a clarity I have not possessed for ages. This has has allowed me to assess what it is I really want from life in both short and longer term and start planning some solid achievable steps to attain these goals.

The wheels are already in motionwith another fight scheduled for July (possibly one before then as well) and the Sunsuper 200km ride against cancer in October this year. Coincidently the ride falls on Dad's birthday and 2 days after the first anniversary of his death. I will be looking for donations from all of you in the coming months - all funds are going toward Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA which is a cancer research and treatment facility currently treating another very close family member for this insidious disease. I'll be posting details shortly about how to donate and will also be doing some fundraising activities as well.

Before I go my latest weigh in results:
Tuesday 17th April 2012 – 92.6kg – Weight loss for the week of 1kg
Tuesday 24th April 2012 – 90.9kg – Weight loss for the week of 1.7kg (this is mainly from illness – I was at home on the lounge for almost a week)

Due to the illness I’ll be extending the challenge by a week to make up for the time lost training.

The purpose of this post is not so anyone can feel sorry for me or console me or ask me how I'm going but rather to re-enforce the million clich├ęs that are floating around out there to "seize the day". Life truly is precious and as we have seen, can be tragically cut down in its prime all too soon. I'll leave you now with one of my favourite inspirational poems. It was written by Robert Herrick and made famous by the movie Dead Poets Society. Its message is timeless.

To the Virgins, to make much of Time
GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,       
  Old Time is still a-flying:              
And this same flower that smiles to-day               
  To-morrow will be dying.           

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,             5
  The higher he 's a-getting,        
The sooner will his race be run,
  And nearer he 's to setting.      

That age is best which is the first,            
  When youth and blood are warmer;       10
But being spent, the worse, and worst 
  Times still succeed the former.               

Then be not coy, but use your time,       
  And while ye may, go marry:   
For having lost but once your prime,         15
  You may for ever tarry.

RIP Nikki. Love you.

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