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… you think every slight ailment could be life threatening.
A headache is an aneurism.
An aching back is a tumor.
When you get angry, people tell you to ‘watch your blood pressure’.
And it doesn’t help that DR’s start using words like ‘cholesterol’ and ‘prostate examinations’.
Seriously, whoever said ‘life begins at 40’ didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about.
Oh you young ones can snigger, it’ll happen to you eventually.
I used to be you.
Looking at my older colleagues and smirking when they told me of their aches and pains, woes and stresses.
While I know I’m not the healthiest person whose ever lived, DR’s always said the fact I’ve never smoked, taken any drugs or drunk any alcohol for literally decades always put me in the ‘generally good state of health’ category – despite the eye, the gall bladder and everything else that has fallen off/apart over the years.
So you can imagine my surprise when following Nigel Dougherty’s induced health check, I was advised I needed ‘blood pressure pills’.
Now I’ve always had relatively high blood pressure but nothing mental – and nothing has changed – but now, at 41, Doctors deem it is something that needs to ‘controlled’.
To be honest, this has affected me a lot.
Not because I always thought this was the medication you got when you were 60 … not because I will always have to answer “yes” to questions about taking medication … not because it will limit my roller coaster experiences, but because it is another reminder of my own mortality.
OK … OK … let’s get something in proportion, it’s not because I’m in a life-threatening state of health, it’s about being proactively preventative – but that said, it has knocked me for six.
The reality is that nothing changes.
I pop ½ a pill a day and everything is OK but that’s not good enough.
I don’t want ½ a pill a day.
I don’t want any pills.
The reality is I need to change things.
Not just diet and exercise, but my whole attitude to life – and my biggest concern is that while some of that is easy, some of it will be near impossible.
I work in a mad industry.
An industry that can make mountains out of molehills.
An industry full of prima-donnas and egos, bursting to be released.
An industry that can changes its mind and viewpoint at the drop of a hat.
An industry that is constantly juggling between pleasing itself and pleasing its clients.
An industry that is mad, bad, dangerous to know and a whole lot of exciting on the top.
An industry that – for all my frustrations with it – has kept me interested in it for the best part of 2 decades.
When I was at cynic, we had a poster that read: Remember, it’s only a job.
It’s purpose was to remind us that while we were doing something important, it wasn’t something that should be regarded more highly than life and family and friendships.
It would appear that I need to remember this myself.
No, I’m not blaming work for my blood pressure, I’m blaming me.
My problem is I still get stupidly enthusiastic about things.
Despite having been in this industry for longer than some of you have been alive, I still see every project for what ‘it could be’.
In some respects, this sets me up for failure – and frustration – time and time again, but I have this uncontrollable need to try and do something great with everything I do.
Of course most of the time I don’t get anywhere near where I hoped it could be – but thanks to my personal “issues”, that desire is always there.
People say adland is a young persons game, but while some say that’s to do with talent or their ability to keep pace with the industry, I think it’s actually about their ability to move on with things.
I find it very hard to let go of what ‘could have been’, especially when it hasn’t happened because of short-sightedness or fear.
I keep pushing things. Trying to find a way around the obstacle. Trying to find people who can help prove it can work or can help make it happen.
Sometimes I’m successful, quite often I’m not … but I have a backlog of opportunities I am trying to clear.
Maybe it’s all to do with being an only child or something … an incessant need to get what I want, despite the fact I never managed to achieve that when I was a kid – except for the Raleigh Grifter and Digital Clock Radio.
I should learn to let go .. I should learn to accept defeat … in fact now, thanks to being scared by my blood pressure medication – I have to.
How utterly depressing.
I honestly don’t know how I’m going to manage it, but as much as I enjoy my job, I love my family way, way more and besides – as I wrote here – the older I get, the more things I see I want to do, try and explore and there’s no way that’s going to happen if I let adland get to me first.
Growing older is part of growing older, but health has a funny way of giving you the sort of clarity a planner could only hope to deliver … so to end this post, let me say that if you are under 40 and think every ailment could be life threatening, then you’re a hypochondriac … however if you’re over 40, then you’re being ‘careful’ and sometimes that’s braver than simply taking things on without regard for the consequences.
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