Earlier this week, I was listening to an episode of Blood On The Tracks, the Colin Murray-fronted show, where guests bring their record collections and debate their favourite tracks in certain chosen categories.
In one particular round, the guests were asked to name their favourite act to come out of Scotland.
Fashion queen and former guitarist in The Fall Brix Smith chose Donovan.
If you don’t recognise the name or the above picture of Donovan, don’t worry.
In the 60s, he had a string of hits, such as Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman and Hurdy Gurdy Man, but his star waned in the 70s.
It transpired that Brix Smith knows Donovan and has his number, so Colin Murray challenged her to call him live during the recording.
He duly answered and immediately launched into an excited monologue about the new album he’s about to release, and if he can send it to her.
When the call finished Colin Murray was ecstatic to hear that Donovan was still enthusing about making new music at the tender age of 73.
Find a passion and stick with it
And that’s my point here. Try and imagine yourself in your 70s.
For many, this will be half a lifetime away or more. The thought of still doing then, what you do now AND still being excited by it seems unreal.
So find something you enjoy and keep doing it differently in order to avoid it getting dull.
I spent a couple of hours gardening this afternoon and – at the end of a major weeding, pruning and watering session – it struck me how a garden is much like a body.
Bear with me – I know it sounds a bit far-fetched…
We all have a tendency over winter months to let ourselves go.
Bad habits creep in, we eat comfort food, and we don’t think about doing the best for ourselves.
As spring approaches, and the weather improves, something changes.
New thoughts and ideas flourish and blossom and it suddenly seems a good time to jettison the habits that are holding you back.
Are you beginning to see the metaphor here?
Over the past couple of months, I’ve pruned away a lot of dead/bad habits and hopefully given other things space to grow that were previously hidden or smothered.
Similarly I’m trying to weed out those niggly things that don’t seem significant, but given time can take over.
I’m not there by any means – I still have things to improve, seeds that hsve been planted haven’t quite yet come to fruition, but the signs are hopeful.
In other words (if you’ll allow me to stretch the metaphor to its limit), providing I tend to myself regularly and properly, I hope to re-flower later in 2019.
Ok, metaphor over. Essentially, though, I’m sure many of you will recognise how easy it is to forget to look after ourselves and it’s much easier to do a little bit regularly, rather than wait till we’re beyond repair.
Night-time was cold – with a capital C. Within minutes of the sun going down, the temperature plummeted. Obvious, you may think, but in comparison to the high-20s during the daytime, it can come as a shock.
And the stars! Oh my goodness, the stars. Living in industrialised countries, we forget quite how pervasive electricity is, even at 2am.
In the Sahara, there is barely any electricity. No streetlamps. No lightbulbs. No TVs. And no ambient light to ‘pollute’ the night sky.
I have almost never seen such a sky. The stars are always there, but we just never normally see them.
No trip of this kind would be complete without those who complete it with you.
The other trekkers were to a person wonderful. Walking with people who are living with a brain tumour, who are directly affected or who have lost someone is hugely humbling.
I laughed. I cried. I listened and I heard the most touching and moving stories.
And we all did it together. We all helped each other. Through the difficult moments. The blisters. The times when it felt as if it would be easier to stop.
And we did it all because we believed in a common goal. That we will find a cure for brain tumours and help those affected by this terrible disease.