Penned Friday 5th July 2019:
I was just considering the disgusting prospect of writing a first draft of this blog on paper (ugh! Paper? What is this, the bloody dark ages?), when the nurse called me in for my consultation. And my two-and-a-half-hour Minor Injuries Unit stint was finally over, with a suspected ‘badly sprained ankle’. Now I’m lying on the sofa with my super-fat foot propped up on two cushions, and a pair of spanking-new crutches nestling on the couch beside me. But how did I get to be in a predicament like this? Well, sit yourself down with a cup of coffee, readers, and I’ll fill you in.
As you may remember, thirteen billion years ago when I wrote my last blog, I was just embarking on a Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer Diploma for five weeks. And that five weeks has finally come to an end. Today. I’m not going to lie to you you, the last five weeks have been utter hell. No, really, I feel like I’ve been through an incredibly traumatic experience – like having a baby, or being thrown in a foreign prison for a crime I didn’t commit (as you can tell, I really didn’t like having babies). I’m literally scarred for life.You see, I haven’t been in full-time education for a LOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGG time. And the shock to the system was almost a little bit too much for me. Over those five weeks, I have sat in class convinced I wouldn’t be returning the next day on numerous occasions. I’ve cried all the way home in the car more times than I’m happy to admit. I just couldn’t decide what it was; perhaps I was incredibly dense. Or perhaps I was, y’know, just too old to absorb new information. Maybe you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks (are you calling me an old dog?). What’s more, I often felt a little intimidated amongst this field of super-fit and super-talented peers; iron men, sports-science grads, doctors, Olympic athletes – I kid you not – but never a more humble bunch of people could you wish to meet. Still, mainly out of sheer bloody-minded pride, and the fear of admitting I’d made a rather expensive mistake, I have dragged myself through this course kicking and screaming. And it is finally at an end. Well, sort of…we’ll get on to that.
My last experience of education ended in 1995. I started my nurse training at the tender age of 20. I was the young one then, and like some young people (not all), I did the bear minimum, scraped through my course, and enjoyed almost every evening of it pissed down the hospital social club. But our nurse training intake had a few ‘oldies’. They had kids; nursing was their second chance, they had made a lot of sacrifices to be there, they had the fear. And we sort of…didn’t. Those oldies worked like dogs. They never joined us on our nightly nights out; they were too busy revising or carrying out their other motherly responsibilities. But now I’m the oldie. And now I feel their pain. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices, I couldn’t afford to fail, because the fear wouldn’t let me. So, I’ve worked my arse off; each and every day at University, every evening, every weekend. And I’ve literally crawled (with bloodied fingertips) through the ordeal. Heaven knows, I haven’t had time to even think about this blog until today.
On a positive note (what? Positive? Moi?), I have learned a few things about myself that I didn’t know before. It turns out I quite like multiple choice exams. If you just put a positive spin on them (positive? Moi?) and try to imagine you’re just doing a pub quiz or a magazine crossword or something, it really does take the sting out of it. And I’ve learned I have resources I didn’t know I possessed – I could sit down and revise for hours on end. I don’t think I’ve ever studied this hard in my life – I didn’t know I was capable of it (my anatomy and physiology knowledge, for one, is at an all-time high). Also, I’ve learned a lot of young people are incredibly lovely, and age doesn’t really add up to a hill of beans when you’re amongst people you genuinely like. I’ve met some wonderful characters – young and old (there were only four of us over forty, I was the second eldest…ahem).
So, I’d like to close this blog with a happy ending. Like, y’know, I’ve passed, and I’m now a fully qualified PT. But I’m afraid it’s a soap-opera-world out there, and life doesn’t always go according to plan. At 8 am this morning, nervously on my way into the gym to take my final practical examination, I tripped down the stairs and turned my ankle completely over. Look, I don’t like exams, but I stress, I DID NOT THROW MYSELF DOWN THE STAIRS ON PURPOSE TO GET OUT OF IT. Anyhoo, to cut a long story short (that would be a first for me), I was unable to sit (stand) my practical exam, and have to take it in a few weeks when I can walk again. I’m currently a qualified Fitness Instructor, but not a Personal Trainer yet. I’ve passed my PT theory and assignments – there’s just this one dreaded practical to do. One more hurdle.
So, there you go. In a roundabout way, I’ve got my old life back again. That is, I can sit on the sofa and watch Netflix in the evenings once more. Probably in the daytime too – I can’t walk, you see. But it’s nice to chat to you readers again. Maybe I can make more time for this blog now. And although this (incredibly traumatic) episode of my life is over, I have no regrets (apart from the ‘stairs’ incident. That was sh*t). I’ve met some amazing characters. Good luck with your future endeavours, guys. You’re all ace.
PS: Sorry to let you down at the last minute, Jason. I’d have been your ‘pretend’ client for the practical exam any day of the week – but my blasted ankle just wouldn’t let me…
PPS: Thanks, Gary, for the lift to MIU.
PPPS: Thanks, Hanorah, for rushing to my rescue at MIU and bringing me food and drugs (Paracetamol, you understand). You’re a real pal.