The 35:35 Challenge is about to step up a gear, as a couple of bigger challenges are looming ever closer, Yorkshire 3 Peaks in September and then Cycletta in October.
For now, I am undertaking what can only loosely be called “training” for both of those, and trying to fit in a few smaller challenges along the way. It has recently dawned on me that in order to meet my self-imposed deadline I need to be doing about one a fortnight, which is not easy with a full time job and two small children! Luckily, I have lots of support from my family which enables me to find a bit of free time, and some talented friends who are happy to help me try some new things. Or, they just enjoy watching me make a fool of myself… I’ll leave you to be the judge of that.
One of the things I have come to realise is that we all carry around beliefs with us that we consider to be the truths about who we are and what we can do. Sometimes this comes from the labels we were given during childhood – we were the sporty child or the academic one. Sometimes they are labels that we tell ourselves; that we can’t dance, or draw, run, play an instrument, cook. Whatever. What we seem to believe is that we should have some innate ability to do these things. I know that there are a few geniuses out there who are truly gifted. I remember my Granddad used to be able to pick up any instrument and get a decent tune out of it, whether he’d played it before or not. On a somewhat grander scale, there are sports people, musicians, scientists and writers who seem to be effortlessly brilliant. But for the rest of us mere mortals, one fact remains true. The reason we cannot do something is not because we are useless, it is because we have never been taught how. Even the best of us get better with tuition. The more you practice, the luckier you get. So what if, instead of saying ‘I can’t do that’ and believing it to be the full stop to the discussion, we ask to be taught how?
This is the premise behind much of what my challenge is about, and it has led to the first rumblings of a plan. I do love a plan. How many of us have wanted to try something but not known where to start? Or have been too frightened of making a fool of ourselves? Or thought that it was too late, that time had passed us by? What if you could try something out, just dip your toe in, to see how you get on, in a positive, supportive environment, surrounded by people just like you? Would you try then? Let me know.
In this spirit, my latest challenge has been to play the drums. Well, count to four, whilst attempting to keep some kind of rhythm, anyway. It is at this point I must thank my lovely friend Hillary who not only attempted to teach me this, but didn’t laugh at my attempts and provided sustenance in the form of cake. See, this is what I mean about a supportive environment…
Anyway, we started with a quick tour of the drum kit – an electric one in this case, much easier if you have neighbours, plus they are somewhat smaller. Then Hillary went on to try and teach me to basically do three things at once, which you’d think I’d be used to, what with being a mother, but it’s pretty tricky.
We spent the best part of half a day just playing around, me being utterly terrible and Hillary putting up with me with lots of good humour and it was GREAT. I left with the buzzy feeling like the one I’d had at the Northern Ballet which set me off on this challenge in the first place. We finished with an attempt at a bit of White Stripes (Meg, you have nothing to fear…) and I now have such a desire to try again that I was actually in a music store yesterday pricing up drumkits. Which would probably have to live on the allotment, so for now, I am searching for music teachers.
I do have a short film, showing how dreadful I was, and how much it didn’t matter, but I’ll save it for a rainy day…