13. A Confession

For weeks now I’ve been writing about the importance of experience; real life, hands dirty, down to earth experience.

But I have a confession to make; experiences like that have been a glaring omission from my life recently.

To be blunt, I’ve been talking the talk without walking the walk.

Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty about that, feeling like a fraud, feeling dishonest.

I’ve got excuses, there’ll always be excuses.

The biggest is one we can all use. The Covid-19 pandemic put the brakes on many experiences for a lot of folks. It feels like life has been put on hold this year and it’s been the same for everyone. 

My partner and I had plans to live on the other side of the country for a few months in April and May. We would have been in a place neither of us had visited before. That mini-adventure would have been packed with new and exciting experiences. It would have got the year off to a cracking start.

You probably had plans as well. You probably felt as we did when the rug was pulled from under us.

Five months down the track most of us have got some freedom back. Things are far from normal but travel is an option again, there’s some sense of normality returning. But I don’t think things will be the same for a long time, maybe never. Those of us who’ve lived through this pandemic will carry the memories for the rest of our lives. They’ll find a vaccine, normality will return, but subconsciously we’ll all know it could happen again, and we’ll all do things a bit differently.

Personally, I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet. We’ve decided we’re not travelling anywhere this year. My trust in Government was never high, right now it’s at zero. Personal responsibility is something I value above all else, so I’ll make my own decisions thank you.

Perhaps you feel the same?

Whatever the reason it’s likely that the opportunity for big experiences will be limited for the rest of this year at least. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stretch ourselves to do something new.

Just before the UK lockdown in March I stumbled across a possible business opportunity that I hadn’t even known existed. It sparked my curiosity, and so I dug into it farther. I soon found out it involved working in a world completely alien to me, using tools I’d never heard of and a skill set I didn’t possess.

The easy thing to do would have been to write it off and walk away. Before Covid-19, I might have done just that.

But with time on my hands and new experiences hard to come by, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and experiment. Sure, I’d have to invest some money, but that was OK. I wasn’t buying something new and shiny just to get a quick buzz, I was buying into a new experience and exploring. That’s the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.

So, that was six months ago; here’s what’s happened since.

I’ve discovered a new interest.

I’ve learned some new skills.

I’ve found a new community of friends.

I’m starting to make a little money.

I can see an exciting future for this.

Maybe I have an advantage; I’ve never felt limited by what I already know. 

The science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein once said —

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialisation is for insects.”

That’s so important. 

I guess it’s all about being open-minded, I’ve talked about that before. Whatever you do, whoever you think you are, however others may categorise you, don’t imagine that’s you finished.

Be open to anything and everything, you never know where it may lead.

I started out saying that I felt like a fraud; I feel less so now. This isn’t a competition, no one is keeping score. All that matters is to stay in the game, play big or play small, do whatever you can do, but whatever you do, keep playing.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, that new business I found is Sports Trading. Specifically in-play horse race bet trading.