The Gift of Life (and how to open it)

Life sits like an unopened present

An invisible box that I daily circumnavigate

Never opening

Never revealing

I give it a little shake sometimes

Wonder what’s inside

Yet like the celebratory treat a loved one has hidden, kept in store for me

I’m never quite sure what to make of it – or some days – where it even is

Yesterday I glimpsed it

Oddly, right out here in the open

For so long I skirted the edges



Until at last

One string at a time

The gift is revealed

There all along just waiting for me

And all that is left is just crumpled paper, ribbon and a card that reads

“The joke is over, let’s begin”

*a milestone this year. I’m turning 50. When I was younger I had no idea that 50 would feel like this, look like this. Yes, smile wrinkles, a few grey hairs but so much energy. I’m just getting started and it feels like my life is beginning to make sense.

I’m deeply grateful to have made it to here, many don’t. I shudder to think of dying ten years ago, ten months ago, even ten days ago – so much would have been left undone,unthought, unknown. Then I think ahead – there is time, time yet to become a better person, a wiser one, I hope to take advantage of that.

It’s been quiet on the blog but busy in reality. I’ve got big plans for the year that will take a lot of fitness and health changes.

We bumble along thinking “oh I’m not so bad off, I run, I eat pretty healthy, most of the time” “I’m okay”.

Complacency lies. I stood on the scale – something I usually avoid as being so self judgemental and self critical. Yet there is something about those numbers in black and white – irrefutable evidence of a curve that is bending in a direction I don’t want to go…

I had no idea just how far it was trending heavily. Damn that holiday period of indulgence! Clearly things were out of hand (and on my hips)

The trouble is I have a good level of baseline fitness. I can run 5-7km relatively easily any day of the week, I can swim a km, bike 20km without dying. But I don’t do any of that consistently. A week here or there when I go after it, and then become complacent again. Or distracted by other interests


The flip side of which is that odd thing that we humans do – of being in life – right in the stream of it every day – but not really allowing ourselves to plunge in and get wet

What if I took that base line fitness and actually built it into a daily practice that soaked me?

What if instead of thinking “tomorrow” I realised that actually this is it, and filled up todays dance card to the max?

We live lives of such unexplored and unfulfilled potential

There is a lot to be done and much of it begins with less talking (writing) and more action, but thought I would check in and offer a little burst of inspiration to anyone who’s January goals are slipping.

Don’t give up now. The year is just beginning and it could be the greatest of your life

Open the present

Live in your life

Have a brilliant year but also, have a brilliant today, hour, moment

Because everything changes in a decision and a decision is made in the moment

Header photo courtesy of Unsplash and Olivia Bollen.


19 thoughts on “The Gift of Life (and how to open it)

  1. Like you, my january goals are just blooming. My son took up weightlifting a few months ago so we got a family gym membership. My wife is doing HIIT and yoga, I’ve been doing spin. Today I went to HIIT with her. I’m really enjoying moving my body in a way I haven’t in a long time. But wow, I feel my age (59). The shoulder I dislocated last year mountain biking hurts all the time. My mom died at 49. God, what a ripoff. My father is 90. He is a good example of what an active life buys you. Turn up the heat. Fifty, you’re just a kid.

    • Thanks Jeff – I feel far fitter then I did in my 20’s and 30’s – I truly was a case of “youth is wasted on the young” you guys sound like you’re killing January in the best possible way. I’ve been cycling for the first time in ages and my body wants to have a meeting about it but shall avoid all communications until I’m more inured – it will settle down and the benefits of being cycling fit are definitely worth the initial set up costs. I did HIT a few years ago, will pencil it in for March, at this stage I just can’t fit it on the dance card 😁

      • I think those indoor exercise programs are only necessary in the winter weather. When I was a fitness instructor, the seasonality of the participants used to drive me nuts, but now, if the weather’s nice, I’m outdoors.

      • Can’t beat outdoors – I used to have a stationary bike years ago so I could exercise if it was raining …nothing like a dawn sky and sleepy town streets and a breeze (as long as it’s not a headwind 😬) much prefer to ride outside in the real world

      • Unfortunately, my tolerance for discomfort has fallen off over the past few years. There never used to be anything such as too cold, too wet… Soft in my old age.

  2. I turned 51 two months ago and I am loving my life more than ever. After fifty life is better than the stormy life of 30 s and 40 s. That’s how I perceive it. Thanks for sharing.

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