The sun has at last been out this weekend and my children have come blinking mole-like into the daylight from enforced indoor imprisonment for the last 5 months. Hurrah! Finally they can partake in wholesome activities like cricket rather than the definitely less appealing screen-based activities which form such a large part of their lives, particularly in winter, only relieved of course by the odd game of Cluedo (see previous post).
As I sat outside and watched them play, my daughter who is currently going through a purple-gymnatics-rapunzel stage (sometimes all at once), attempted a roly-poly (technically called a forward roll I believe). For one insane moment, I thought I might show her how it’s really done and then thankfully I remembered the “cartwheel incident”.
A couple of years ago, showing off, I thought I might demonstrate my childhood gymnastic skills by cartwheeling on the beach. It became abundantly clear half way through the cartwheel that this was possibly one of my more foolish decisions. Too late. 38 year old women who only irregularly partake in exercise should never attempt anything that they did with ease in childhood.
My cartwheel was less beautiful circle in motion and more immediate and somewhat explosive irreparable puncture. As my son pointed out at the time, he had learnt something from my cartwheel demonstration just not what I had intended – how not to do a cartwheel and how to keep a straight face when your mother starts her gymnastic demonstration with the grace and flair of Olga Korbut but ends it splattered on the sand looking as though she has been run over by said cartwheel. Utter humiliation.
So somersaults are something I shall never do again. It got me thinking. What else will I never do (or never do again)? I will never dive or even jump off a diving board again. My relationship with swimming pools has definitely changed over the last decade. When I was young and on holiday, you could never get me out of the pool – pools and I had a largely harmonious relationship. Now, it’s a little bit more fractious, and honestly I’d be perfectly happy to spend 2 weeks in the sun sitting around a pool without ever getting in it.
Why? Well for the reasons outlined above with regard to my gymnastics prowess, it would be potentially mortifying to dive/jump/bellyflop off a diving board at my age – the permutations for embarrassment and humiliation actually make me shudder.
As for swimming itself…I know it sounds a bit pathetic but I don’t really like putting my head in the water now – not because I’m precious about my hairstyle (far from it…largely as I don’t really have a hairstyle as such to be concerned about) but I just don’t really like it. A nice leisurely, but regal, breaststroke is about all I can manage these days with my head firmly out of the water. I’ll leave the more energetic strokes to those a little younger than me. To be honest, I never really got the point of backstroke anyway – why would you swim on your back, unable to see where you are going, towards a concrete wall? Backstroke is pointless and to my mind potentially dangerous.
What else? Oh yes, I am unlikely to spend an entire day (unless ill) watching back to back soap operas like I (obviously occasionally) did at university. There was a brief period after the birth of each of my children when I dabbled in Neighbours, Home & Away, Hollyoaks and even, on a particularly bad day, Doctors, but I managed to wean myself off them once I no longer had the excuse of sitting on my sofa for hours ostensibly feeding a baby.
However, at university, (obviously occasionally) soaps determined my daily schedule and it was not unknown for me and my best friend to spend an entire afternoon watching back to back soaps just because we could. Now however I have much more intellectually challenging tasks to complete such as deciding whether pesto pasta is on the cards for dinner (which it is today incidentally) or driving my “taxi” around the local area, picking up my non-fare paying customers and depositing them at their various required locations for tennis, football etc. I do allow myself one little indulgence though – EastEnders. Love it. I always watch it and feel so hugely lucky and grateful for my little life – however miserable my day has been, at least I don’t live in Albert Square.
There are, of course, hundreds of other things that I shall probably never do or do again equally as trivial as the above. There are lots of things, not just trivial things, which I wish I could do or wish I had done. Equally there are lots of things that I can do now which I couldn’t have done when I was younger and that’s where the focus should be I suppose. What would you never do now or never do again?