It may be simple but it’s not easy

I realised recently that I am going to turn 50 in around six months time and amazingly I didn’t feel the fear and worry that I did when I was approaching 40. That time was full of panic and worry about crossing a major life hurdle and what would become of me in the following ten years.

It was on one hand very simple. I was going to have my 40th birthday and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. However on the other hand it wasn’t at all easy. I spent three months trying to avoid it, make excuses, change the subject and run away from it. Turning 40 wasn’t going to be easy. The words simple and easy are often used in the same way but they can be very different.

This time however as I approach 50 it remains just as simple. In October I will reach the half century anniversary of my birth in Good Hope Hospital in Nuneaton whether I like it or not. Simple. However I have now chosen to learn lessons from my previous experience and set myself challenges and to ask others for help. So this time it’s all feeling far easier.

One example of this is that I want to get fit and loose some weight. That’s a really common wish for people of all ages but a little more challenging when you get older. On one hand it’s just a case of eat more healthily and do more exercise. That’s really simple isn’t it. However as I’m trying to live on a plant based diet and am forced to follow a strict gluten free diet it’s not all that easy to simply change my diet.

In addition when you consider the number of injuries I have sustained in the last 12 months it’s not that simple at all. I have managed to build up an impressive list which is keeping two NHS hospitals and three private hospitals very busy.

The list includes:

  • Pubis symphysis dysfunction (that’s where the pelvic bones move apart and it’s very common in pregnant women in preparation for giving birth and in premiership footballers who have an uncomfortable meeting with a goal post).
  • Umbilical hernia (that’s the tummy button and it needed surgery)
  • A slipped disc in my lumbar spine (needing the magical healing hands of a chiropractor).
  • Shattered a piece off the end of my clavicle (that’s the collar bone).
  • Torn the articulate crucial ligaments (that’s the one that holds my shoulder together)
  • Three cracked ribs.
  • A cracked vertebrae in my spine and an old trapped nerve in my spine which needed two injections of steroids through my throat a couple of years ago).

Hopefully you aren’t of a particularly squeamish disposition and have managed to reach this point without the need to reach for a sick bag. So I decided that during my 50th year I wanted to play one last season of rugby union which has been a game that I have loved since being introduced to it at school in Leeds and thoroughly enjoyed it at all levels since. However that’s not the only goal. I also want to join the international rugby touring side to play in Toronto, Canada and to climb Mount Kilimanjaro which at nearly 6,000 meters high (or nearly 20,000ft if you went to school in the 1970’s) casts a long evening shadow over Namibia. That’s a more challenging set of goals. A final season of brutal battering which some people call sport, an international tour of culture (and a few bars and a bit of rugby) and a walk up a hill.

So getting fit isn’t easy from a diet or exercise perspective.

I remembered a story I tell in my book Zero To Authentic Hero about how to eat an elephant. “Don’t eat it all at once” I hear you shout back !! However there is also another answer to this question which is to invite the whole village to join you. There must be enough elephant to go round.

That approach is the one I have adopted and I have chosen to work with a great team of personal trainers, nutritionists, physiotherapists and rugby mates to make this happen. Turning 50 sounds simple on one hand and it’s only easier than turning 40 because I have taken the lessons from this to apply going forward. Getting fit sounds simple but in reality it’s far from simple but I have set clear goals and built a team around me to support me.

I have also decided that as part of turning 50 I’m going to create a challenge and have a bit of fun. So I have created #Challenge50 where over the next 18 months - six until my birthday plus the year of me being 50 - I will help another 50 people through inspiring, challenging or supporting them to achieve their goals.

So if you want to join in with the challenge, if you want to join the trip up (and importantly back down) Kilimanjaro, if you want some help to achieve your goals, or if you just want to follow the journey then please connect with me here, like and share the posts and welcome to a simple (if not too easy) challenge. All I ask in return is that you like and share the journey and share the updates to follow so that we can reach more people and inspire them to join #Challenge50.

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