Every Tuesday after school I look after a friend’s children. At 3.15pm you’ll find me sat on the wall outside the youngest one’s primary school, in a flashback to the days when I had to do the school run every day. I’m always early – you have to be when it’s someone else’s child – so I have a good ten minutes of listening to the lollipop lady’s banter and watching the children spill out of the gates.
Once we’ve have found each other, we have a five minute walk home, where she tells me all about her day. Today though the chat wasn’t about school.
“I can do a handstand into a bridge!” she told me, before we were even half way across the road.
“Into a bridge?” I said. “That’s amazing! That’s really hard isn’t it?”
“Yes,” she said, with no false modesty. “I spent a whole day at the weekend practising. I started on the trampoline, then on my gym mat, and then the grass.” I was suitably impressed. “Once I knew I could do it every time I did it inside. And then every ten minutes for the rest of the day I went outside to do a few, just so I didn’t forget.”
That’s commitment isn’t it?
Do you remember being young and all consumed by something like that? I remember being about 10 and finally mastering a handstand against the wall. I wasn’t really a natural when it came to gymnastics and never quite got the hang of the cartwheel, but handstands against the wall I just about managed.
I remember moving to a new house and going for a look around. While everyone else nosed around downstairs I snuck up to what would become my bedroom to practice. It was an irrepressible urge – wherever I was, all I could think about was the next opportunity I’d have to do a handstand against the wall.
Unusually for me, I even remember what I was wearing – it was a black and white checked shirt that I really loved at the time. Every time I did a handstand it would flop down in my face.
I get the same feeling sometimes now with books – if I’m reading something amazing I will think about it when I’m not reading, wondering about when I might next get to read some and sneaking away for ten minutes alone whenever I can.
When was the last time you felt that passion for something?
Image credit – handstand from Hannah Eckman/shutterstock