A zest for life

At 99-years-old my friend’s father has travelled further than most on life’s proverbial journey. Bas

Now the nonagenarian might just be about to rack up more miles than most too, as National Express is today (Tuesday, December 17, 2013) giving him a year’s free coach travel – so he can carry on with his adventures well beyond his 100th birthday.

Mr C has been travelling on National Express coaches for 20 years, and several times a year he makes an impressive 420 mile round trip by coach from his home in Sheffield, to Kent to see his friends and family.

Three years ago the pensioner became a firm favourite with National Express staff after writing to them asking if they could suggest a better way to get to get to Shipbourne, Kent.

Mr C had always travelled from Sheffield to London Victoria coach station by coach and caught a train to Kent, but he found changing difficult while carrying an unwieldy suitcase.

National Express staff were touched by his letter and amazed a person of his years had the confidence and independence to still be making such a long journey.

As well as recommending him a convenient coach service to take him closer to his destination, they decided to provide him with a year’s free travel pass, and the pass has been renewed each year since.

Despite his years, Mr C’s enthusiasm for travel has not diminished and he likes to travel around the UK to see his large family, which includes four children, six grand-children and five great grandchildren.

The power of positive thinking? I’d like some of that.

Hogmanay hugs

Hogmanay 2013

Hogmanay 2013

One of the many things I like about living in Scotland is the way people say “Happy New Year” to one another the first time they meet after The Bells (midnight on 31st December). This can continue for the whole of January and occasionally beyond. It’s a custom that may be dying out in younger generations but I hope not. It still takes me by surprise, as an ex-pat, reserved Englishwoman of 30 years’ standing, to be greeted that way well into the new year, with a warm handshake, or more often a hug.

Remotivating yourself after a holiday is not so pleasant. For those of us lucky enough (or unessential enough!) to take a longish break, starting back can seem hard. All of the tasks you didn’t finish are still waiting, together with a full Inbox and (probably) an internal voice telling you to turn over some kind of new leaf; that is, to make New Year resolutions and (harder still) keep them.

Overwhelming? It can be. Let’s remember, though, that “resolution” originally comes from the verb “to resolve”. It has a number of meanings including “to solve a problem” and “to make a firm decision”. Why not single out the one thing that you really want to change this year – just one. Make it a specific goal:

Not ” I should spend more time with the kids”, but rather “I want to do something really special with them every week”.

Not “I need to connect more with my customers” but  “I will call one of my customers or good contacts every day no matter what else I’m doing”.

Changing “need to” and “should” to “want to” and “will” is a great start. Being specific about what you will do differently makes it far easier to decide how you will go about making the change.

Have a very Happy New Year – and consider yourself hugged!