Anyone that knows me will recognise that rugby is a game that I love.
I played it, I coach it and I love watching it especially when Scotland are playing. So, I am relishing the prospect of Scotland playing the world’s No 1 side Ireland on Saturday (albeit I’ll be watching some of it through my fingers).
Although I’d love to be there in the Stade de France, Shona and I have just returned from a truly fabulous RWC (Rugby World Cup) trip taking in the wonderful cities of Nice, Lyon and Lille.
Our schedule was based around Scotland’s pool matches in Nice (Tonga) and Lille (Romania) and whilst the results were (almost) foregone conclusions the match day occasion was exciting, and the crowd created some wonderful atmospheres.
As it only comes round every 4 years, and Shona and I are now into our 50s, we were determined to ‘make it happen’ and do France in style. To put it in rugby terms, we are well into the second half of the life game and time’s running out.
Typically, the tournament will alternate between northern and southern hemispheres and whilst I love rugby, I am not sure if travelling that far away appeals, and therefore maybe we’ve only got the chance to see another 3 or 4 RWCs closer to home – personally I’d love it if France held it forever!!
But all this got me thinking – when we are in our late 70s and 80s a trip to a RWC may have lost some of its appeal; realistically we may only have 3 more opportunities to be there in person and savour the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere, meet new people (shout out to the 5 Uruguayan brothers and their 7 sons on their rugby tour to France) and catch up with old Scottish friends (you know who you are The Haddington Massif!) and international buddies (we shared a lot of the trip with Marty my great pal from NZ).
It also reminded me of a clever graph I saw (apologies as I don’t know the creator of it) but essentially it breaks down your life into years, months, and days using an ambitious 90-year lifespan.
Having lost some very dear people to me recently I also recognise that there is no guarantee of ever reaching this milestone.
I saw someone use it in a post around only having a certain number of ‘All Ireland’ Gaelic football finals left.
Whilst I am sure a day at Croke Park would be an amazing experience, for me, it is around things like swimming in the sea (which I love and managed to do in Nice), holidays with my family and going to (other) major sporting and entertainment events.
And on our family holiday to Skiathos I nearly managed to do all three in just the one day.
I swam in the sea firstly.
I then enjoyed a long and lovely beachside lunch with family and friends.
Then to cap it all – admittedly in a slightly Rose wine haze – I ended up booking a bunch of ABBA Voyage tickets for family and close friends to see (and experience) in December!
Study after study shows that we all get more enjoyment when we spend our hard-earned money on experiences rather than new ‘shiny’ things.
Your new gadget or car might give you a fleeting thrill but the memories of doing enjoyable and exciting things with the people that matter the most last a lifetime.
And my message here is a straightforward one: time is slipping away, so use it well…
Juggling our commitments, responsibilities and pleasures takes a bit of planning and forethought. But remember time waits for no-one and as the months and years roll on your energy and desire (and maybe even ability) to do some of these ‘best life’ things get less and less.
Think about what makes you happy and who you want to spend time with.
Don’t wait for the stars to align, just do it – make those precious moments happen! I promise – you won’t regret it!