I’m sitting in my lovely new home, in our kitchen/family room, its 4:30am in the morning, and I have less than two weeks before I leave to row the Atlantic ocean! Which is precisely the reason why I’m awake at 4:30am on my day off. The nerves are starting to kick in a little, but its nervous excitement , I think?! I’ve had my last training session with Kevin and only have 3 shifts left at work, so it’s getting very real now. People keep asking me if I’m worried, anxious about anything, and right at the moment I’m not, ask me in 10 days time and I might be!
The journey has been an amazing life changing experience, sounds like a cliche, I know, but it honestly has. I’ve found out things about myself that at the ripe old age of 49, I never knew about myself. Its changed me physically and mentally. I’ve learnt things about other people, good and bad, and I’ve become an emotional wreck in the process! Over the last 7 months, I’ve learnt that even if you’re terrified of things, if you believe you can do it and face those fears head on, you can do things you pushed aside all your life, and sometimes enjoy them, honestly! I’ve faced my fear of heights, water, needles, having blood taken…..I sound like I’m terrified of everything, but these were all things I’d avoided or just weren’t part of my everyday life, so didn’t need to face, but unfortunately for this challenge, I did.
I’ve learnt things about other people; people are very generous and impressed where ocean rowing with Parkinson’s is concerned. I’ve also learnt things about family members and close friends. One example is my Mum; she’s shocked me by rising to the ocean rowing challenge with a determination that I see in myself. I now know where I get it from! I thought she might crumble under the thought of her baby disappearing for two months, but no, she has risen to the challenge and talks very proudly of me, when I know deep down she’s screaming ‘don’t do it’. But my Mum knows it’s something I want to do and she’s got on with everything it involves…being an ocean rower’s Mum. I have tears in my eyes typing this as I’m so proud of my Mum…….who am I trying to kid, I’m sobbing uncontrollably, like I’ve done on many occasions lately.
So back to me sitting here at daft o’clock in the morning with less than 2 weeks to go, with Christmas and New year in between, I still feel to some extent I’m talking about someone else, it’s getting a bit more real but it probably won’t feel real until I’m in Lanzarote and I’m waving from the boat. This journey has been amazing, I’ve loved every minute of it, there haven’t been any major lows, the one bit I found difficult was being in the best shape of my life, looking and feeling amazing, only to be told, that’s great but you now have to put weight on, which to a woman who has lived her whole life struggling mentally with her weight and what she eats, was, to put it politely, bloody difficult. I managed to overcome that though, and am now putting weight on willingly because I know I can come home and get completely ripped and be f*****g fabulous at fifty!
Everything I do at the moment is being equated to how long I’ve got , so for example, I did my last evening gym class on Thursday and on the drive home, I thought, the next time I drive home from the gym in the evening, it’ll be March and I’ll be a fully fledged member of the ocean rowing club…..:-)
There’s one other person I need to mention in all this, and that is of course my lovely Lee. People always laugh because I say about him, ‘he’s no bother you know’. But really he honestly is. I always knew that he loved me unconditionally from the moment I met him really. I could come down the stairs in a bin bag and ask him how I look and he would say I was gorgeous , as he just sees me, not what I’ve got on or how fat or thin I am, he loves me for the person I am, and through all this he’s been amazing. He’s been there when I’ve ranted about things, when I was tired and narky, he’s put up with me travelling up and down the country, being away a lot of the time. At times we’ve hardly seen one another because I’ve worked loads of hours, and trained in the gym morning and night as well. He’s just literally got on with it all and not once suggested I take it easy or stay at home. I honestly couldn’t have got to this point without his unconditional love and support.
I’m going to wrap this up as its now 5:46am and my beautiful dogs have decided its time for them to get up, yes I went all the way through this and haven’t mentioned them! The poor things, they won’t know what’s going on when I leave them, but they’re like everyone else in this journey; they’ll adapt and survive and everything will be back as it should be in March.