Even my mother would never have described me as sporty or athletic or svelte. But despite the fact that gym lessons at school were a tacit agreement that I probably had an excuse note (the teacher decided never to ask me to produce it, and I reciprocated by never offering), I now enjoy my exercise … which is a good thing as I also enjoy my food!

I’m never going to win any prizes, break any records, or set the world on fire, but I am sure that I am fitter than the average couch potato.  I play squash and badminton (probably very badly), run along country roads or treadmills, and try to improve my times or distances (despite the occasional setbacks).

Is there a secret to this change of heart? Self-motivation, achievable goals, having fun doing it with friends, and expert coaching.

And despite the fact that I might well be at the back of the field, maybe I’ll enter for a 10k next Spring.


Judging books by their covers

A couple of weeks ago I had a limo collect me and take me to the airport, and a chat with the chauffeur got me to thinking about how we read people.

A few years earlier (probably in his early twenties), the driver had immigrated to the USA from Haiti only to find that his civil engineering degree and work experience wasn’t recognised – and so his first job was as a night-shift supervisor in a parking garage.  He said that on his first shift he had cried all night – and then decided to go back to University to get a recognised degree and start again.  Parking garage supervisor led to taxi dispatcher at JFK, and then to being a limo driver – and part-time study at a New York college.

I hope he makes it – but his story made me wonder: if I had seen him on his first or second night in the garage, would I have just mentally written him off as a deadbeat in a dead-end job?