Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taking the Bull By the Horns

It has been brought to my attention recently that I am a coaster. No, not the kind your mam puts on the coffee table to prevent glass rings.

Coast·er (kōˈstər)

One that coasts, as:
a. One who acts in an aimless manner.
b. A sled or toboggan.

Seeing as I have never been on a sled and dont actually know what a toboggan is, we're good to assume that I mean option (a). One who acts in an aimless manner. I wont go into how much this realisation has upset me because to be honest, I've always known I was a coaster, and yet, I continue to coast. I think the hurt that has now surfaced and spurred me to confess my current state is the fact that it was brought to my attention by someone rather than in a moment of self reckoning.

aim·less (āmˈlĭs)

Devoid of direction or purpose.

I have GALLONS of potential. I know this. In the last three months alone I've met enough people, seen enough sights, completed enough tasks to last myself a lifetime of material for a blog like this.

I've been hosted by Mercedes-Benz on a trip to the bloody Dead Sea (its not actually bloody, its salty, I'm just cussing), test driving their latest SUV range, hence cruising one of the world's most frequented religious historic sites in royalty's ride of choice, i.e. the G-Wagen, amongst others (the lovely GLK features in the photo below). I drove past where King Herod used to live, in a motorcade of ten Mercedes-Benz, and trekked terrain that literally had me sending prayers up to Jesus, Mary and Joseph in fear of 30+ meter drops into rocky abyss.

I was whisked away by Qatar Airways for an inaugural flight launch to Copenhagen, Denmark. I stayed in a five star hotel that charged more a night than some people make in a month. I ate in restaurants that provided Arne Jacobsen cutlery for my perusal - knives, forks and spoons that cost 20,000 kroners a pop. I also partied with legendary Danish pop star Thomas Helmig and watched aerial artists spiral down lengths of curtain as I sipped on vintage champagne and feasted on black truffles.

I completed the Mazda London Triathlon. I trained on my own for months, and with a personal trainer for 7 weeks. I wanted to give up every single session and my back hurt, I got blisters, I cried whilst on a treadmill and fell off a stupid alien looking bike (it was a fantastic bike, but Im a noob) and hurt myself. I swam in the bloody Thames. THE THAMES. Like, the river, you know? I raised 500 pounds for a brilliant charity, YouthNet UK, and intend on doing so again next year. All in compression shorts.

In under a year I've worked a job that's seen me promoted to Deputy Editor of an international luxury lifestyle magazine, met influential figures like the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova and Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter to celebrity chefs, one of the original three tenors and developing relationships with global haute couturier's and jewelers alike.

I am also a masters graduate. With distinction, believe it or not. I have a degree in Social Change and Development, which ideally means I should be working a position that allows me to evaluate and analyse governmental initiatives in SouthEast Asia, i.e. the damming of the Narmada River in India. My thesis was actually based on the evaluation of the labour movement within the construction industry in Saudi. Like drawing blood from a stone, that research, I tell you.

What is my point?

I should not be described as aimless. I am not a coaster. I am much more.

I have enough interests to write a dozen books.

I LOVE to cook. I can identify spices as I eat and have a natural flair for the kitchen. I could name 30 odd chefs off the top of my head, their respective genre's, the shows they've hosted, my favourite dishes and which one's I've actually attempted and conquered. Or destroyed. I could spend hours in a supermarket and would rather go grocery shopping than for a beer at the pub (we can always do that later).

I am a music/movie/reading aficionado. I'll listen to/watch/read anything and have unhealthy love affairs with items I love. I could quote scenes from Lord of the Rings word for word and if you dont think that's impressive, I could do the same with Pan's Labyrinth. In Spanish. No, I dont understand Spanish. I could do the same with Vicky, Cristina Barcelona. I also have more song lyrics in my head than your average karaoke machine in its archives.

I need to put things into perspective and utilise all these wonderful things I've been given. It's one thing to experience and enjoy all of the above, and it's another to bring to life the lessons I've learned and the skills I've been fortunate enough to absorb.

I've just come up with a new commandment of my own: THOU SHALT NOT COAST.


  1. I love the productivity of transforming criticism into a call to action.

    You clearly have gallons of potential and there are obvious success stories within the article alone that amplify your ability to achieve on a consistent basis.

    It is within your own desire, self belief and aspirations that you so rightfully take what you have absorbed and create a path so that the rest of the world can recognise your brilliance.

    The future is bright Bambi.

  2. To have experienced so much at such a tender age proves you are not aimless in life. You just haven't found that one thing that lights the spark inside of you.

    When you find it though - you'll know.

    Why don't you start writing a book, even if just for fun, or even better - enter Masterchef!

    Whatever you decide upon, give it all your energy to make it a success, and no longer will you think of yourself as a coaster.

  3. "Aimlessness" isn't necessarily a bad thing. A person's late teens and twenties should be spent experiencing as much life as possible. In that, you have excelled. Your numerous interests will supply you with an abundance of choices, when you decide which 'primary' course you wish to follow. However, there's no rule that says one has to be tied to one thing for the whole of their lives. I've done lots of different 'jobs' to pay the rent and have had lots of different 'hobbies'. I may also be "aimless", but I've had a more rounded life because of it.

  4. Guys - thank you all for your responses. Everything you've put forward resounds with me. My intention wasn't to express sadness or distress, rather to prove (to myself before anyone else) that I do have what it takes to excel in whichever path I choose for myself.

    Aron - I think my main concern for myself is actually 'when?'. When will I realise what it is that I want for myself? Technically, sure, I have the time to figure it all out. However, I'd rather be utilising this time strengthening my skills for whatever it is Im going to do rather than sampling a bit of everything, which undeniably is not the worst thing I could be doing. Masterchef eh? Hmm thank you for your suggestions - duly noted :)

    S - thank you for your vote of confidence. I appreciate you sharing your experiences with me. I just think at this stage of my life I need to hone down and focus on a particular task because I want to excel. That's not to say I can't excel in a variety of different areas, but I'd rather have a single interest that requires all of me, all my energy and focus, than coast from one to the other, doing this to an 'ok' standard and continuing on. You see what I mean?

  5. I understand completely. I think, like Aron, you'll know what that specific interest is, when you run across it. In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with 'trying out' anything that you feel drawn towards. Only by experiencing it, will you know whether or not you want to devote all your time and energy to it.
    I have no doubt that, when you determine your main goal, you will have no problem excelling at it. You've already proven your drive and focus.

  6. As a coaster, I have an inkling you probably work a bit too hard to qualify.

    REAL coasters are too lazy to write blog posts too.

  7. Thank you for the follow up, S, I do appreciate the vote of confidence.

    SJ, I suppose you're right, tho its one thing to write a post, and another to actively go out there and do something about my current dissatisfaction. I know I will be ok. Thank you for your kind words.

  8. Sorry to be a harbinger, but, you won't find your key drive or passion.

    As should be clear from your list you are someone who can pick up almost anything that grabs you; then make more progress instantly than people who have put in years of energy into thier one sole passion.

    You would die of boredom if you had to give up many of your passions for just one... I think the problem you have got is of a different stripe.

    You are concerned you are missing out. You want to do everything.

    Be careful you don't swallow your world and find yourself unable to move.

  9. I'm glad to see you recognizing that the amazing experiences you've had are due to your hard work, talent and dedication. I'm sure there are plenty of people who are jealous of all the things you mentioned in this post but dont have the drive or courage to make those things happen for themselves. Keep up what you're doing. You may have been a little fuzzy on the destination, but you certainly haven't been coasting. And to be perfectly honest, some of the most interesting people in this world (like you) didnt know what they wanted to be at 20, 30, 40, and so on. Tell whoever called you a coaster to enjoy their boring life and if they want to live vicariously through a real winner to read your blog. It's like biting down on the medal after the triathlon; it's the sweet taste of success. Dont let anyone sour it for you.