Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Get Lucky

I went back to my old college (BCoT, since you ask) yesterday to deliver a talk on how choosing to go back into education after a shaky finish at secondary school gave me a second crack of the whip and most certainly changed my life for the better.

*Nervous face*

It was an important event for me, so much so that in the weeks leading up to it I slept fitfully amidst dreams of failure, and the adrenalin rush caused by facing eighty automotive students during the first session made my heart pound.  I tried to break the ice with a joke centred around Pixie's 'What Goes Boom' (my heart - geddit?), but it was like holding a match to the Antarctic as twenty-year-old students evidently do not listen to Pixies.....  The second round, with a group of thirty hair and beauty students fared a little better thanks to the sharing of snacks (as they informed me: "sharing is caring"), and a bit of coaching from my host who is possibly only known to some of the students as 'Learner Engagement', but who I found to be a talented artist with an incredibly moving and motivational story - but I'll leave that for her to tell.

Happily I didn't make any more music-based faux pas' and discovered that the video for 'Infinity' by Guru Josh c.1990 despite holding great fashion comedy value, (gold hareem pants and bare chests for the men - nice) will still cause impromptu 'arms in the air' dancing.  I also discovered that when you follow that video with the statement that 1990 was also the year one of your parents died, an audience will sit up and listen.

A lecturer during one of the talks asked whether the good things that have happened in my life were down to luck or conscious decision making and I guess that it's a combination of the two. I didn't want a teenage pregnancy so I took contraception - I was lucky that it was effective.  I didn't want to be skint so I chose to go to work - I was lucky to find a job straight away.  I didn't want to be asked every day of my working life why baking potatoes are priced differently to normal potatoes so I went back to college - I was lucky to be born in a country where that college education is free.  I wanted to pursue a corporate career and continue it after having children - I was lucky to meet and marry a man who doesn't expect his wife to stay at home.

Photo credit: www.outdoorlife.com 
And so it goes on.  A little luck but a lot of conscious decision making and a lot of seeking out opportunity.  Originally I likened it to a cat going after a laser beam before then realising that the cat never catches the beam, so perhaps it's more accurate to say I'm like a dog in a field full of interesting smells.  I am constantly darting around, seeking out new opportunities to improve, collaborate, try new things and progress.  And like the dog chasing the scent, sometimes I run into things and bang my head, sometimes I find the trail doesn't go where I thought it would, and sometimes I become so focused on the possible opportunity that I miss paying attention to the bigger picture and have to be shouted at until I return like "FENTON!", but every now and then the trail leads to something truly brilliant which causes me to bound around in joyous delight.  With a constant pull between getting on with the job in hand and chasing those opportunities it's a difficult balance to maintain.  Life is good, so perhaps I should just enjoy things as they are and be grateful for what I have, I'm certain my family sometimes wishes I would.  But the passing of so many friends and relatives at a young age reminds me that life can be incredibly, shockingly short, and so I plan to cram as much experience and opportunity into whatever time I have.  For as long as I'm here, I'm going to chase those trails, I'm going to work hard on getting lucky.

Soundtrack: Get Lucky - Daft Punk

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