The Concept 2 rowing machine, while not uncommon in most gyms across the United Kingdom (and perhaps the wider world) is now my church, boardroom, centre of gravity and now primary source of reflection. It is where I spend forty-minutes early morning, four days per week, because at almost fifty years of age, cardiovascular health is now to me, far more important than anything.
Having spent many years favouring weight-training over fitness, I now look forward to several miles of sweaty, gruelling escapism in the hope that it will enable me live longer than my father, particularly given that he passed away at age sixty-three, to the hell we all know as cancer. In fact, when I calculate that sixty-three is merely fifteen years from today, a wave of nervous gratitude reminds me to just ‘let go’ and enjoy my life.
While the view in front of the rowing machine is one left wanting, my personal approach is one of closed eyes and total detachment, accompanied only by the uplifting sound of numerous ‘Anjunabeats’ trance albums pouring from my cherished blue Bose SoundSport wireless headphones (far and away the best wireless headphones I’ve had to date). It’s become a sanctuary of sorts, a place where I can listen to my innermost thoughts, while soothing myself with reassuring calm and earnest praise.
As a compliment to my physical health management, I maintain a non-meat lifestyle supported by a genuine passion for cooking world cuisine. By non-meat, I admit that I do still have a fondness for fish, and so while I appreciate the contradiction, I could easily remain solely vegetable reliant, but with a wife and two children to consider, it’s just not practical (at least not right now).
When cooking, I consciously try to experiment with at least several new dishes a month, and although some inevitably prove disappointing, I feel the benefits of trying new recipes far outweigh the occasional flop, while those considered ‘keepers’ by us as a family, will often find themselves on my social media feeds (for whatever small pleasure they might bring viewers).
Upon reflection, I suppose live a rather uncomplicated life, either spending time with my family, or sitting at my desk, again facing yet another wall, but gratefully one adorned with the creative musings of my five year-old daughter Cassidy, who loves to bring her new creations for me to proudly display.
My greatest wish is that one day we will all be able to live in a home affording me a work space with a view as inspired as it is nourishing, because nobody should strive to earn a living in the corner of a bedroom (at least not for long), and yet that vision can, at times, still feel more like a fantasy and less of a destination.
For the record, I try to work every day for around 5-6 hours at a time, fuelled by fruit smoothies, taking occasional breaks for green tea and chance conversations with my wife Natasha, who herself owns and operates an online high-end vintage clothing store (www.barefoot-vintage.co.uk), and so when we’re not sat at the diner table discussing our thoughts and emotions, or brainstorming our commercial objectives, she can likewise be found either studying for her psychology degree, or working at her own desk in yet another corner of this, our home for the last seven years.
I do however take time off for our family holidays (largely because Natasha arranges them for reasons of sanity), but generally speaking you can pretty much guarantee my whereabouts, until I am instead found happily preparing the day’s dinner in the kitchen, accompanied again by music from one of my many playlists.
In the last few years, I have become acutely aware that all work and no play is not the best recipe for a ‘fun’ life, and so I do consciously try to achieve some semblance of work-life balance; however without my writing and hopefully selling a reasonable number of books, our dream home will not simply build itself, nor will my current view change for one now long-imagined and eagerly anticipated.
I would like to stress my immense gratitude for having found a vocation that gives me tremendous satisfaction, and although my first book has not yet found itself in the hands of as many people as I’d initially hoped, my goals remain staunchly resolute, which means that right now, it’s business as usual, despite all of my worries about dying undiscovered and penniless.