Getting older is a strange thing. On Tuesday of last week I went to the fitness center bright and early (well cold and early to be more precise) and worked out. On Thursday I went to the same fitness center at the same time on an even colder morning and did exactly the same work out on the same machine. But on Thursday the machine flashed an alarm at me saying that my heart rate was too high.
Funny thing was that Thursday’s peak heart rate was exactly the same rate as I had reached during my Tuesday work out – without an alarm. So what was the difference? Well Wednesday was the difference. I didn’t go to the fitness center on Wednesday because it was my birthday. I had a selection of very nice cards and presents to open that morning before work.
On Thursday morning as I started my exercise, I entered my new age on the machine. I was only one day older but the machine assessed me as being a year older… and the peak acceptable heart rate (before flashing alarm) was lower. One day later and I was assessed as being less fit, less able to exercise and presumably less able to do lots of other things.
But I didn’t feel any different on Thursday than I had done the day before. I may have been older but fortunately I didn’t feel any less fit…but nor do I feel any wiser. I don’t have any better insight. But also I don’t feel any less energetic or enthusiastic. I don’t feel any less able or less motivated. Less driven nor less passionate. It’s only a number and it’s only a day. It’s all in the mind. And I don’t mind.
I also realised that Wednesday was a special day to have a birthday. 12th December 2012…12/12/12. I wasn’t twelve years old, of course, but it was still an impressive date. I realised I have been waiting for this date for years – probably since 01/01/01. Some years ago, I looked to see if anyone famous shared my birthday – and the answer was yes – someone very famous. Frank Sinatra. But he died back in 1998!
Birthdays tend to be days when we look back and reminisce. I like to look back for two reasons only – to celebrate and to learn. Both these retrospections derive from the same philosophy…that we only ever realise how far we have come when we pause to look back where we have been.
My last year has been a year like no other. Well that’s a great start! It would be unexciting if any two years were the same. I am doing different things, with different people, in a different place and in a different way. Exciting things with outstanding people in superb locations. I have learned more in the past year than arguably I have learned in any other year. More about our industry, more about people and more about myself.
Undoubtedly there are things – events and actions that I would do differently…words I would say differently or not say at all…if I had chance again. But I can’t go back and change any of those things. All I can do is take that learning and take it all forward with me.
My next year will be like no other. I can’t predict the details. I can predict the bigger picture. It will be exciting and enthralling. There will be challenge and opportunity. Heartbreak and laughter. Good news and bad news. There will be more people. More celebration and more learning. And more elevated heart rates.