39: Part 2

I’m not sure where the long-term future lies, but that’s OK: I don’t need to be able to predict it to invest in it. Investing in the future is about furnishing yourself with the skills, experience and resilience to give it your very best when the time comes: put simply, tomorrow will always be the product of how you lived today.

When I think of it like that, it all becomes very simple: there are four things that are important, and that will never be a waste of time, wherever the future lies:

  1. Learn. Keep learning. Keep developing as a person; keep growing. Staying open to learning keeps you connected with that most valuable ally of progress: your beginner’s mind.
  2. Experience. Embrace new things; hold onto your sense of wonder; expand what you know of life and its possibilities. Keep on exploring; find new ways to connect with the world outside.
  3. Challenge yourself. Never forget how it feels to be stretched. Step beyond your comfort zone; seek out what’s tough or scary. Be determined to be more. Don’t settle.
  4. Achieve. Don’t just do it; do it well. Be accountable; use achievement to renew your faith in yourself and your own abilities. Success in one part of life breeds success in others. Celebrate it.

My Action Plan: #4X4B440

In my last post, I talked about endless possibilities – and the sense of paralysis that can come with the recognition that your destiny is in your own hands. I talked about the questions I ask myself, when the way forward isn’t clear. With all that in mind, for the final year of my 30s, then, I’m committing myself to focus on four actions in each of the four categories above: Learn, Experience, Challenge, Achieve. Some are big, some smaller; some will take more work than others … but each, in its way, is significant for me:


  • To swim (at least one stroke, competently)
  • To maintain a bike, competently enough to ride it confidently
  • To speak business French, competently: I’ve worked in France before but my language skills have backslid a lot and now I’m rusty
  • To climb, well enough to enjoy it with confidence


  • A microadventure in Glen Rosa, Arran
  • Ski in Scotland for the first time
  • Wild-camp with the family for the first time
  • Travel by rail to Loch Ossian, one of Scotland’s most remote youth hostels, and stay there en famille


  • Complete the UK’s first Vertical Kilometre race, the Mamores VK
  • Run the West Highland Way in three consecutive days
  • Complete a multi-day bicycle adventure, with the kids, following Scotland’s Cycle Route 7
  • Complete a mountain marathon (specific event TBC): it won’t be my first, but it’s been far too long. It’s time for me and Ryan to dust off that two-man tent!


  • Stage Glasgow Trailrunning Festival TrailFest2, together with Ryan – and make it bigger and better than ever
  • Qualify as a Personal Trainer, building on my existing Fitness Instructor qualifications
  • Publish at least one piece of writing – under my own name. My last published work was an essay on Seamus Heaney in a literary compendium from Manchester University Press, way back in 2011(!) – it’s time I wrote something else …
  • Re-establish my fitness and freelance marketing businesses on return from maternity.

Four areas of life; four goals in each; one year to complete them. GO!