Look carefully, it’s me 40+ years ago. Not long after this photo was taken I had my hair cut. That mop took a lot of looking after. I remember having it cut in Egham in Surrey. The barber just found it so hard to do. He cut it a few inches at a time. He didn't quite understand that I wanted a short haircut until I used the word commando. Then I got what I wanted!
Much of my life I’ve spent having an idea of where I wanted to go and then working out how to get there. Of course I’ve often ended up somewhere completely unexpected. But we all know it’s not always about the destination but it is always about the journey. If I exclude my matrimonial journeys I still have dozens of journeys and unexpected destinations I could chat about. Lots are in the blog bag waiting to pop up. Just thinking about the houses I’ve lived in or the cars I’ve owned is probably enough to keep me going for months.
“Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”
At the moment I make small plans. Just a couple of weeks ahead. Way away on the back burner is an Easter road trip to the south of France (maybe). Or a trip in the motorhome if we get a bit of lockdown relief. But I really have no plans. Even Christmas hasn’t arrived on our agenda yet. If we don’t get out of this lockdown for Christmas that’s fine with me. It’s all too much stress.
The young man in the photo was about to witness an element of stress taking his final exams prior to becoming a teacher. He's had his fair share of stress. Probably not much more or less than anyone else. We know there's a bit of stress involved in moving house, I’ve done it at least 9 times, that averages, from buying my first house until now, a house move every 4 years. There was also a bit of stress involved when the chap in the picture got divorced........twice. Job interviews, stress. Redundancy, stress. Children, a constant source of stress.....still! At least, I thought so at the time, it all seemed very stressful. You could probably score stressful situations and give them a “stress value" from 1 to 10, 1 being calm and 10 being maniacally over stressed. I even know people that got stressed over the general election or over Brexit, as if that helps. But at the moment I’m a bit more stressed than usual. Beware my stress levels are having a growth spurt.
For a few years, before my first cancer diagnosis the most stressful time in my life was working out my tax return and ensuring it was heavily skewed in my favour. I would gather all the paperwork together and do the whole tax return, spreadsheets et al, on our dining table in Brittany. Didn’t seem so bad after all.
But just at the moment my levels of stress are making me less tolerant of anyone who wants to lay any of their stressy issues on me. I’ve got enough of my own. Take yesterday’s post. On Wednesday I’m booked in for a CT scan. That will help determine the efficacy of my treatment. Then on the 26th I meet with my consultant to discuss the outcome. Now if you want to think about stress terms think along these lines. On the 26th I should be doing the walk I'm planning from Luxulyan to Prideaux (http://iwkc.co.uk/w/156) no stress involved, just walking. Instead I'll be with my consultant discussing my own personal longevity or lack thereof. Now if you want this in “stress value” terms it’s a bum clenching, tear inducing, frightening stress level of 20. I'll be having a discussion that’ll include my prognosis.
We all know the word prognosis but do we really know what it means? Well read on......
Prognosis is a medical term for predicting the likely or expected development of a disease, including whether the signs and symptoms will improve or worsen (and how quickly) or remain stable over time; expectations of quality of life, such as the ability to carry out daily activities; the potential for complications and associated health issues; and the likelihood of survival (including life expectancy).
Now this is stress the likes of which you just don’t want to experience.
Never has the journey been more important than the destination.
Given the opportunity to provide one critical nugget of advice to my younger self, with all the experience I've accumulated, good and perhaps not so good, what would it be?
Lose the shoes!