Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pushing your boundaries.

'To have an extra-ordinary life you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Only ever regret what you wish you had done, but didn't.' unknown.

This was posted on my Open University Creative Writing Facebook group by one of my fellow students. It had a profound effect on me as this is how I'm trying to live my life at the moment; it's not always easy. But it's one of life's lovely quirks that sometimes things happen or come to your attention just when you need them to.
 I recently watched the Last night of the Proms on BBC television. I'll be honest here, it's not usually my thing. All that bobbing up and down and waving flags to the same songs that were sung last year and countless years before! I'm sure that it's one of those situations where being there makes all the difference. So why did I watch it? Out of curiosity, is the short answer. Earlier in the day I'd heard that the orchestra was to be conducted by a woman for the first time in the 118 year history of the Proms, and this intrigued me.She told the Today programme that she is "very, very proud, but also pretty surprised to be the first".

At the tender age of 9, Marin Alsop expressed a desire to learn to be a conductor, but her violin teacher told her that; 'girls don't do that!' But undeterred her parents went out and bought her a box of batons and told her that with practice there was nothing that she couldn't do. How wonderful to have such supportive parents. It took a while, but not only did Marin conduct the BBC orchestra at the proms, but she also has her own orchestra, the Säo Paulo Symphony orchestra and she's also the Director of the Baltimore Symphony orchestra. Not bad for a girl! 
 Coincidentally, Marin happens to be the same age as me, although I'm a few months older!  In an interview the day after her performance she said; 'Follow your passion, never give up.' So how can I fail to be inspired and challenged by this incredible woman.

Well that suits me! For the past couple of years I've been doing just that. Now the thing about doing this is, sometimes it works and, sometimes it doesn't. But if you're doing something that you're passionate about, it doesn't really matter if it goes wrong. We all know, we can learn from our mistakes, sometimes even more so than when things work out. I know that I seem to remember the things that have gone wrong more vividly than the ones that have worked out alright!

I'm also very fortunate in being surrounded by people who are very encouraging. Although I'm sure that my children must roll their eyes sometimes, wondering what mum's going to get up to next! But the way I see it, we only get one life. I've taken risks in the past simply because I didn't want to look back in the future and think, 'if only'. I wouldn't have my youngest son if I hadn't taken a risk.

So today's challenge to anyone who'd like to accept it is; take a risk; push your boundaries. If there's something that your passionate about but haven't pursued yet; go ahead and try. What's the worst thing that can happen? As I've already said, if it goes wrong you'll at least be able to learn from it and perhaps try again with the knowledge that you've acquired from your first attempt. 

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Surround yourself with the people who will support and love you, no matter what. I can promise you one thing, it won't be boring.

Now what new challenge can I attempt today? 

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