40 Days to 40. Chance, Choice and Optimism


The closest I came to a Pretty Woman moment happened when I was in LA on business and a geriatric kindly billionaire gave me a ride to my hotel in his Bentley.  We’d been at the same industry bash and as I was waiting in  line for a cab, he was standing next to me in the line for valet parking.  Perhaps it was another of my ‘this could be a good pub story’ moments; I didn’t know he drove a Bentley until the valet returned so it wasn’t that.  In my old age I do see that getting in the car possibly wasn’t my wisest of choices but I have always been too trusting.  On the way back to my hotel he told me about his life as a producer in Hollywood, he wasn’t one of those old Hollywood types who name dropped and tried to impress, he’d obviously met some amazing people, made an enormous amount of money and he was now just a bit sad and lonely.  He lived in a big house in the Hollywood Hills and since his kids were all grown up and his latest (and I think 4th) wife had left him; he was doddering around his mansion alone.  If I had been a different person I could be living in Hollywood sporting egg sized diamonds and designer clothes now. He was obviously charmed by my English accent and my youth (and my outrageous naivety).  I think I made the right choice; a widow, albeit a rich one, at 35 isn’t terribly appealing (I shudder to consider the bit before he popped off).

In my very humble and possibly warped opinion, the way your life pans out is simply down to the cards you’ve be dealt, chance (you can call it luck) and choice. Whatever ‘The Secret’ says about thinking good things and good things will happen I just can’t swallow, although there’s a lot to be said for looking on the bright side. If the key lay merely in positive thought The Priory would be out of business and we’d all be happy billionaires.  Everyone in the hospital is not a negative thinker right?  Fate, luck, chance call it what you like but it decides and the only time we get some semblance of control is when we make choices; bar of choc or apple, rich old fella or impoverished young fiancé.

In an ideal world as we get older surely we should know what the right choice is, older and wiser, bah, it’s a myth, it doesn’t get any easier. You just get more choices about more important stuff and less time to make the right decisions.  Then the next tricky bit is following the decision through. I made a choice to go on a mini journey of self-improvement before I turn 40 and although I have made some very tiny baby steps (I have done some exercise – I know – can you believe it?), I am still thinking rather than doing. So how about trying the challenge with me; in the next 40 days make a choice to change something, just one thing that will improve your life, it can be big or small but I find if I have a time limit I’m more likely to see it through.  Go on, give it a go and keep me posted.


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