Why?

“Why?” That’s the first question people ask me when I tell them about my challenge. “Why would you want to do all these challenges?” And then they ask “why would you do them all in one year?” They have a point.

Time has been split by BC and AD.

BC or Before Challenges. A chapter of my life had reached its conclusion, my job was causing low self esteem and I turned 40 (let’s not talk about 40). I don’t know which one was worst or which one caused me to feel like everything was spiralling out of control. Perhaps it was a combination of all three that did it but I couldn’t stop crying. I was angry at those closest to me and I questioned whether it was better if I wasn’t around. I thought about my daughter and how I couldn’t leave her motherless and this triggered me to seek help. Senior managers, although supportive, suggested antidepressants and their diagnosis of depression. My doctor disagreed and encouraged me to change my job. Still this morose feeling and anxiety settled around me sucking the colour out of life until a friend suggested that I set myself a challenge. He pointed me in the direction of Wales Online and their bucketlist “100 Things To Do In Wales Before You Die” and left me to mull it over.

There were some easy challenges on the list and some peculiar ones. Some I had done before and some I’d never heard of. For example, did you know that Wales hosts the World Bogsnorkelling Championship or that you can watch dolphins on the Pembrokeshire coast? I wasn’t dying but I’d thought about dying so maybe this was right up my street. What did I have to lose? I set myself the target of completing all 100 in one year – if I allowed any longer I wouldn’t do it – and I’d document it on Instagram to evidence each activity. Despite feeling ‘down’, and knowing that the coming months would be difficult, I would be able to look back and see my accomplishments. I didn’t expect to get anything out of it other than to have some control over something.

AD or After Depression. Its July and I’m halfway through the year with 40 of the challenges completed. Every weekend has been busy, filled with activities across Wales and nights camping under the stars. I have found fossils on the coastline, got claustrophobic underground at Big Pit, grown a fondness for Welsh Whisky, seen puffins up close on Skomer Island and climbed Wales’ three highest mountains all on one day for Ty Hafan, a local Welsh charity. I have grown a love for this county – MY country – and the beauty I have previously failed to notice. I have realised that I am not a failure and am capable of doing things that most people would be too scared to attempt. Not only that I have built relationships with family and friends who have accompanied and supported me on this journey. Strangers from the other side of the world have watched my stories and have donated to the charity. People I’ve never met have volunteered their time to complete these challenges with me and I now call them my friends. It has made me happy. It is as simple as that.

Research indicates that exercise and getting outside can help reverse the symptoms of depression. I can vouch for that. As I sit outside my tent watching the sunset over the Preseli Hills, whilst sipping my glass of whisky of course, my answer to their question of “Why?” can only be “Why not?”

19 thoughts on “Why?

      1. You have such a happy, infectious smile and sparkly eyes in all your photos and videos. Just goes to show that what goes on inside can be very different to outward appearances. I call it the painted face of a clown when referring to myself. I’m a natural extrovert and professional presenter so everyone expects me to be larger than life. If only they could see the dark thoughts that sometimes loom in my mind. I’m glad that they can’t actually. Hang on in there kid and enjoy life whilst you can. I’m loving following your challenge – it’s inspirational 🙂

        Martin

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  1. You are an absolute inspiration- and as someone at a challenging place in their life, it has filled me not only with admiration, but also with hope following your posts on Instagram ❤️

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  2. What you have already achieved is remarkable. I’m glad we did the seals & dolphin watching together! You have a beautiful daughter who is a credit to you. You live life & the challenges. You are an inspiration to many. Keep smiling & keep on going. I believe you have definitely turned a huge corner by doung these challenges! Pob Lwc for the rest of them! Bobs X 😘

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  3. You’re an inspiration. I think the Welsh tourist board should employ you to promote Wales. Getting out there and exploring the great outdoors is great. I always look forward to your next adventure.

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  4. The fact that you started this challenge is a massive success in itself – there are so many people who wouldn’t have even attempted it.
    To have the new experiences and to meet new people are additional bonuses along the adventure.
    I’d say that the main thing to focus on is not completing the challenge, but just having as much fun as ppssible along the way…success is not the destination, but the journey!

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  5. What an amazing goal, so fun and empowering! I wish i could do something like this, because i kind of feel a little stuck, lacking of motivation for everything…
    But.. I live in Illinois (i am French)

    Go you! Show us all about Wales! We will be visiting your amazing country next May. I used to go therr when i was a child. I had a penpal who lived in Llanfechain ♡

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  6. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Although I don’t know you in the 3D world I have enjoyed watching you take on this challenge through the wonder of Instagram. You’ve inspired me to explore the loveliness Wales has to offer. I hope you keep going even after the challenge is complete as it is clearly something you’re passionate about. As the great Roald Dahl said “I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. … White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

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