Something so harrowing happened today that I can't get it off my mind. I took the children to watch the Tour de France come tearing through the tiny country lanes in a neighbouring village and I ended up comforting a woman as she watched her husband slipping away before her very eyes. I just can't comprehend what she must be feeling right now.
Ask any sports star or pop star what they want and, without hesitation, they will say a 'Gold' or 'No. 1.' They set ambitions and then go about achieving them. I'm not saying we should all want a number one song in the charts, but shouldn't we all be setting goals for ourselves? Join a gym? Learn how to cook properly? Find a hobby?
We are either heroic paralympians or more likely miserable benefit claimants living a life comparable to being in a Victorian work house. But disabled people are three dimensional characters who have plenty to offer society, plenty of wonderful experiences to enjoy, and can lead amazing lives in a way that is just normal.
This morning I arrived back to London after a month away. I had been traveling for 48 hours straight. I was a little tired to say the least. I turned on my phone; it was like welcoming an old friend (an old friend that had been relegated to an occasional acquaintance for the last 4 weeks due to international roaming charges). A call came through almost immediately.
I'd like to think that, if I'm lucky enough to exceed the age of 80, with all my marbles and my more important faculties all present and correct, I'll be cut some slack in the matter of my more treasured bad habits. I'll feel that, having survived so long indulging my relatively few vices, I might as well head for the exit in a like manner.
I write with stark raw honesty and humour about living with chronic disease and was astonished at the heart-warming reception my little book with its big message received. I quickly realised that fellow sufferers and caregivers related to my poems, knowing they are not alone in their daily struggles.
As young or mature adult learners, I think it's very important to do some self-assessment here and then, and check that what we believe to be true is not in fact a construct of our underlying fears: we do create barriers for ourselves for example when we are scared of being seen as incompetent or foolish.