The Year of the Dragon hasn’t been entirely a success. I have raced with the team. Trained with the team in the winter with the freezing water. Worn bandanas in the summer when training with the team to stop stinging sweat from getting in my eyes. Dressed as Spiderman for a party with the team. Felt disappointed not to win an award for being the best newbie. Drunk bottles of supermarket beers with the team in a Regatta centre car park.
But I said I would compete in an international competition. That was my self-imposed goal, that was the challenge. That was the adventure. It didn’t happen. Sometimes it can be hard enough to get a team together to race anywhere outside of London, I lacked the courage or confidence in myself to go alone.
I lost my job a few months back, and the black dog came padding back almost unnoticed. Unnoticed except for a loss of interest in doing things. My original motivation to get up and go swimming every morning fell by the wayside, and when one week a training was missed and another week training was missed, I find myself having missed more trainings than attended.
Next month I leave London, and have made the decision to leave the team when I go. It’s hardly worth the round trip car journey to and from London on a Sunday morning, likewise commuting into London when my current job has me working from home.
We can’t call the Year of the Dragon a challenge bested, but a challenge attempted is better than one not taken up.
Next month I leave London. Early next year I leave the UK, and probably for good. That’s an adventure all of its own, and I will find a new dragon boat team in Australia to join and train and paddle with.
This week, after a delay of far-too-many years, I am getting back into rock climbing. It’s hard to believe it’s now been a few years since I last climbed. I climbed, I passed my safety test, then I broke my collarbone snowboarding and haven’t climbed since. But this week I will again.
And although I have nobody to join me climbing, I will go anyway, and find my peace on the wall once again.