Mid-life crisis, step 3: having real fun is hard work

I grew up with an amazing godmother who, as well as providing wonderful smiles and biscuits, used to say, ‘Hard work never killed anyone.’

Technically, I’m not sure that’s true, but as a child I really enjoyed working hard. Not the work, necessarily – cleaning the bathrooms was, you know… but I enjoyed the physical activity, enjoyed watching the work have an effect, and enjoyed any thanks and praise afterwards. I was rewarded – sometimes with sweets or pocket money, other times with a clean bathroom or crisp bed-linen (my favourite). I don’t know if it’s ubiquitous, but for sure, some children enjoy living in a clean space and working to be part of a family team. I was one.

It didn’t make me look “cool”. I grew up in an era when it was cool to not make too much effort, and I still hear kids talking of the “try-hards” – the families with pushy parents and children who take competitions Very Seriously and can’t accept anything other than top marks. I’m not one of those people. I like to work hard, achieve something, then blob out in front of a movie with good company, a lapful of hot, sugary lard, and a bottle of puddingy booze.



But I enjoy my fun most when I’ve worked hard just before, and my latest goals are going to require a LOT of work.

  1. Find and create a whole new fantastic career that benefits the community and includes me in a big team of people and also gives me some credit in the process, because I’m sick of working purely for everyone else’s benefit.
  2. Run an ultramarathon. I’m embarrassed to even say it because honestly, I’m a little fat thing that moves slowly, and I’ve never even run a half-marathon, let alone a full one, and it might kill me. But I really, really want to have a go. It would be SO cool. It could be SO much fun. I’m stupid, but I’m up for it. I’ve already asked someone to help me build a training program. Bring it on.
  3. Write a novel and a collection of short stories and then build a whole new career out of this. (Possibly as a main, or as a parallel to (1) – the jury’s out.) Life keeps getting in the way, though, so I’ve blocked out some time PURELY to write fiction and I am doing it. I might even come out of my hermit shell and get out there and meet people and talk and do readings and embrace the whole damn thing.

Also, reality, my top priority in life is parenting (love my kids), so this lot all has to happen within that totally amazing, brilliant life choice.

It’s going to be good, right?

It’s all terrifying but it’s also really exciting and a whole heap of fun, yeah?

I’m going to do it.


Image attribution.

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