Your Life Stories, Lessons and Plans

“Learn from the past,  live in the present, plan for the future” – Audrey Farrell.

During a recent business trip, I had opportunities to have meals out with my colleagues whom I don’t really talk too much in the office as I am in a different team. As an Apprentice, it was especially important to not just learn about the job and what it entails, but also about working life and the stories and lessons learnt by colleagues that are far older and wiser than me.

A man in his mid-50s emphasised the importance of doing things while I am still young: to travel the world and to live and love without regrets. He told me about his time in the Royal Air Force and more about his life regrets and ambitions. He was a bit more drunk further on in our conversation and mentioned a lot about his love life, but I won’t go there, but there is more to come later.

The main point I got out of this was that I should live in the moment and not worry too much about things that aren’t too important. To live without regret and go for every opportunity was something I took out of our conversation also. This conversation was then interrupted by another apprentice to convince the middle-aged man to spill the beans on his love life which he refuses to talk about when he is sober, so, unfortunately, our conversation had to end there.

I will now split this post into 3 categories to talk about my life lessons, stories and plans, using the quote I mentioned at the beginning.

“Learn from the Past”

As cliche as it sounds, the past has made me who I am today. Through the opportunities, experience and regrets that I have made through life, I have been able to appreciate and learn about the present and future ahead.

Moving from place to place when I was young, I haven’t made many strong relationships with friends from previous schools, which has had a knock-on effect on the relationships that I have made in primary and more importantly, secondary school. I guess I have learnt a bit more on how to make and maintain new relationships with others and this is something that I will continue to learn and practise as I network with other people during my apprenticeship programme.

I have been fortunate enough to have plenty of opportunities in my life from doing all sorts of adventurous things such as skiing in the Canadian Rockies, kayaking in the Welsh/English whitewater rivers, hillwalking in the Scottish Highlands and Jungle Trekking in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, to more general things such as a good education, job and stable lifestyle. And from this, I have compared my lifestyle to my extended family that lives in the Philippines and by visiting them I have learned to appreciate the opportunities that I have and learned to take nothing for granted from it.

“Live in the Present”

To live in the present is basically what I am doing now, but without focusing on life’s worries and enjoying things as they are now. Being after Christmas with only a few days left of the year and on leave until the 2nd January, I have been able to have the freedom to do what I want as I sit at home with a cup of tea and with a piece of shortbread on the side. I do appreciate this time to have the chance to unwind and relax from the job and projects I am working on, but there are various tasks I would like to accomplish before the New Year to start afresh:

  • Finish all apprenticeship assignments before I am back in the office – if you don’t know what an apprenticeship is, it is a form of education where you work towards qualifications by completing assignments as you are on-the-job. There has been a recent policy at my workplace where assignments can only be completed at home, so basically, I have homework to do. To me, it just feels like school again but harder as I work on an important project.
  • Pass my Driving Theory Test – if you have read my previous post on failing my third driving test, I have re-booked my driving theory test after it has expired back in November. I have revised quite a lot for it, completing and passing 23 mock tests (at 95-100% if I should mention) and a few Hazard Perception test in the space of a few days. I have the test on Thursday so wish me luck!
  • Catch-up with Friends – simple one really. Since most of my friends are back at home from university, it’s a good opportunity to catch up over a pint and talk about any experiences and stories since the last time we met. There have been a few friends that I haven’t been speaking to for some time due to personal reasons, but I do want to leave it all behind and start afresh. I’d like to build up more confidence to do so and meet up, so hopefully, this can be done soon.

I have more tasks to do but these form as part of my long-term goals and will be included in the next section.

“Plan for the Future”

With the New Year coming up, it is important to plan for the future ahead, although it can have its twists and surprises. There are lots of things to think about such as:

  • Passing my Driving Test – I have mentioned this in the previous section which also mentions about my previous post on failing my third driving test. Passing my driving test is something that I want to pursue and I have struggled to find a motive for getting my own car and driving, simply because I can get by without a car and driving. However, from initially perceiving driving to be of just a convenience, I have learnt more on the importance and necessity of it if I were to pursue other goals without being an inconvenience for my parents to drive me, and also for myself with not having the opportunity to explore places only accessible by car (or a very, very long walk). Therefore, this coming January after passing the theory test, I will resume driving lessons with my instructor and obtain insurance for my Mum’s car to get enough practice for my fourth (and hopefully final) test.
  • Travelling Solo to [Insert Country Here] – this blog has mostly been about my solo travel plans and I have used this blog to motivate me and to get the ball rolling when it comes to planning my journey this coming April/May. You can read more on my latest update here.
  • Career plans and goals – as an Apprentice, it is very important to stay focused on your work as well as your career-related plans and goals as you are on the firing line when it comes to the end of the apprenticeship programme. Got an offer to continue on with the job? Great! Otherwise, what is the plan? Lots of things must be taken into consideration when it comes to career planning. If you were to leave as an apprentice, how will you compete with a graduate fresh out of university? How can you use your experience to your advantage against a graduate? When is the right time to negotiate for a pay rise after your apprenticeship? These are all examples of what to think about during and after the apprenticeship programme I am on and these will work towards my career and goal planning.
  • Getting qualified as a Kayaking and Canoeing Instructor – I help out at a scout group and the biggest contribution I can give to them is further assistance by providing kayaking and canoeing coaching during the summer months. I have been doing so last year, but only as an experienced and permitted paddler on the water and not a legally qualified coach and I was able to do this by assisting a qualified coach and helping out with rescues. A few years ago, I had a grant awarded to me by the Scout Association to enrol in courses to obtain these paddlesport qualifications. However, I was unable to commit to these courses because of other responsibilities such as exams and family commitments. This is something that I do regret because I would already be a qualified paddlesports coach if it wasn’t for this and I could have contributed to the group further by leading and assisting in more adventurous kayak and canoeing trips. I have learnt from the past and will aim to get my paddlesport qualifications as soon as I can this year to provide coaching and further contributions to the scout group.
  • Getting trained as a Scout Leader – last year, the Chairman and Group Scout Leader registered me to be trained as an Assistant Scout Leader and the funny thing is that they did not tell me and I did not know until I got a call from the Scout Committee for an interview. I gladly accepted without much thought on what they could ask and the interview just involved questions about me and my motives to be an Assistant Scout Leader. I have been told that I have been assigned to a coach/mentor to provide me with the training to be an Assistant Scout Leader but I have yet to be contacted by her so I aim to fly through the training and contribute to the group even more by having an extra Assistant Scout Leader in the group.
  • Pursuing more adventurous activities – aside from skiing, trekking, hiking and kayaking, there are many other adventurous activities that I would like to pursue such as mountaineering and climbing. I have been inspired for a long time by this GoPro Ad and the thought of travelling the world and doing all sorts of amazing and scary stuff somehow appealed to me. I need the balance between being in the office and doing adventurous activities and I plan to do more in the New Year and have done so by signing up to do a mountaineering course in Snowdonia. Life is what you make of it, so by wanting an adventurous challenge, you should not let the opportunity pass when it is right at your fingertips!
  • The possibility of joining the Reserves – this is a mixture of both career plans and pursuing more adventurous activities because the joining the reserves will fulfil my needs to become more adventurous while supporting my career. I have not put a lot of thought into this other than visiting RN and TA reservist sites and searching for the roles I am interested in, but I do plan to consider how this can affect my job and what the company can do to support this venture.
  • First School Reunion Planning – I have just slotted this into this post only after being contacted by one of my classmates at my First School (like Junior School for other school systems). 6 years ago when I created my Facebook account, I uploaded class photos of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 at my first school in an attempt to find classmates I have not seen for years as I have moved towns and schools briefly after Year 3. I managed to find one friend by their very distinct name and by adding him, I managed to find most of my other classmates. Looking at the comments made on the photos to this day makes me feel a bit embarrassed, but I can only move on from it! Anyways, I am planning with my classmate to organise a small reunion, maybe at a pub in the town of the first school, as it has been over 10 years since then. A lot of us are all spread out because of people being at different universities, but hopefully, I will be able to plan something successfully meet up with my classmates whom I have never seen in years, so it is time to get the ball rolling!

Phew! That was a long post, the longest one I have done so far. This post mainly sums up what I have learnt from the past and how I apply it to the present and plan for the future. I hope you have enjoyed reading this on the lead-up to the New Year and that it may give you an idea on any resolutions for you to come up with.

Please let me know your thoughts and if I hope you have a Happy New Year if I don’t manage to say it before or on New Year’s Eve.

Thanks for reading,

-RGS

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