A Few Closing Notes

athensflameHappy Christmas everyone, hope you all had a good one. Thanks to all my friends and family who made it a good one for me. I got well spoilt, which is unusual for someone as old as me. I got a picture of myself and a pink cardigan  – so I couldn’t be happier. The pic on the left is the one I got (without the watermark of course), it’ll look great on my wall.

As Mr Akabusi says – the past is for reference not residence but it’s always good to have open access to some of your greatest memories, as is the case with this picture.

It’s hard to believe this year is almost over, next year will be my last full year as a twenty-something year old, which is even harder to believe. Every year is another story, this year has probably been one of the most eventful and toughest yet. I frantically worked on completing the writing of my autobiography at the start of the year to ensure that it could be released in time for Beijing. I had the best winter of my life and went warm weather training in April in great shape. My first nephew, Ben, also arrived in April and life couldn’t get much better. In May my hip flared up worse than ever and I lost at the Paralympic World Cup for the third time in a row.  In June I basically spent a month in the gym as I was unable to throw or compete, it was a hard time and I didn’t know if I would be able to compete in Beijing or not. I met a lovely girl in June too. I competed at the end of July and threw a new unofficial world record, but was very much struggling with my fitness, I truly believe that my great winter carried me through to Beijing. Everyone knows what happened in Beijing,  the experience will stay with me forever, and it still gives me goosebumps when I think about my last throw and what would’ve happened if I’d fluffed it. Since Beijing it’s been a roller-coaster, I seem to have gotten more recognition than ever, whether that’s because of the increased coverage or my book I don’t know, probably a bit of both. The end of the year has been tough, my hip has got worse since Beijing, and this is the first time in 13 years I haven’t been able to do a full winter’s training, which is very weird and frustrating. A lot of things are uncertain going into 2009 but I look forward to next year with lots of hope and anticipation and excitement. So here’s to another year of life with plenty of stuff going on, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

politics

Rather surprisingly my photo is on the cover of a book about the cultural politics of the Paralympics(right). I’m not sure what cultural politics is, but I’m sure its very interesting, although I’m not entirely sure if I should be getting royalties for the use of my picture. Anyhow, here’s some pretty deep thoughts to finish the year with…

Desire, dedication, routine, planning and positivity are the keys to success, but a willingness to listen and adapt to change are fundamental.

Not knowing when you’re beat is a great characteristic to have. When under extreme pressure, if you think about the consequences of failing you’re done for. If you think you might fail, you will.

You can’t please everyone, and you never will so don’t try, and the hardest person to please is yourself. Self-fulfilment is a never ending quest, as long as you completely believe in what you’re doing you’ll be fine.

All the perceptions you have of yourself and others will probably be completely wrong, its good to not get totally absorbed by your routines and self confidences, a bit of vulnerability and naivety helps us to cope with the complex world we live in. People change, situations change, things change – it’s how you react that counts.

See you in 2009.

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