Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Sir Ken Robinson, Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila, The Happiness of Pursuit: Find the Quest that will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau, Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way by Steven Pressfield, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins…
This is just a selection of the books that have arrived on my doorstep over the past few months, and it doesn’t take a boffin to work out that there’s some kind of existential dilemma going on. Whether it’s age/hormones/circumstances, I’m hyper aware that my daily routine needs some kind of switch up - I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS. So, while I plough through my reading list, I’ve embarked on two thumping projects to occupy my ruffled mind: a new house and a new body.
Starting with the house, the bank finally acquiesced and offered me a mortgage for an investment property - I got the keys last Friday. Now all I have to do is give the tired and dated three-bed a ruddy good facelift.
Set close to Club Nautico Santa Ponça, the 1980s-built artefact needs pretty much everything done to it. Previously owned by an elderly gent (now living on the mainland) and his elderly sister (recently moved to a residential home), the apartment has no heating, no cooling, broken window panes, retro tiling and far too much Anaglypta to be accepted in modern society. The job list is far from insignificant.
Plan A was to go for the full immersion and tackle a chunk of the work myself. I thought I could channel my inner Sarah Beeny, take a mallet to some internal walls and rip out kitchen cabinets with my bare hands but, when I hotfooted there excitedly from the notary’s office, reality hit.
It’s all very well tearing down a wall - but what if it’s full of pipes or wiring? And how do you pull out a gas oven without carbon monoxide leaking into the ether? In order to prevent some kind of structural catastrophe, Plan A swiftly became Plan B - call a builder.
Several builders, project managers and tradespersons later, I am now surrounded by varying quotes and chewing nervously on the end of a pencil.
The problem is that there is a fine line between spending money to update the apartment and over-capitalising i.e. renovation costs outweighing the potential added value.
It’s perfectly clear that if I do everything (new kitchen, bathroom, glazing, flooring, air-conditioning, wiring, plumbing…) I’ll exceed that market-value ceiling. But, if I do nothing, I’m not going to attract the end-user I’m seeking - whether that’s a tenant or a buyer.
Furthermore, if you ‘just replace the kitchen’, you’ll need to re-wire to comply with current regulations, and if you re-wire, you’ll need to plaster and paint over the chasing, and if you plaster and paint one room, you may as well do them all - and so it goes on. In short, I’m still doing my research and chewing that wretched pencil.
Bizarrely, the body is a far simpler project. All I have to do is follow every letter of The Six Pack Revolution law and I will have a transformed body in just 75 days. A piece of cake. (Actually, no pieces of cake, they’re banned.)
Costing 119 of your finest British pounds, the finely-tuned programme claims it is a great way to lose weight, get healthy, build confidence and improve your mind-set. You’re given meal plans, recipes, daily workouts and regular exercise challenges, and popped in a private Facebook group to keep you motivated and on track.
Why am I doing it? Despite performing endless sit-ups, I have never developed a decent set of abs. This is likely due to my dedicated passion for crisps and wine. I’ve always been curious to see if it’s possible, or if my genes simply don’t allow it.
I also want to stay healthy as my age catches up on me, hence turning to The Six Pack Revolution and giving it my best shot. My motivational photograph (as required by the programme) features Davina McCall, a 50-something who has certainly put in the graft for her washboard tum.
The good news is that Plan A plus Plan B plus day-to-day life equals very little surplus time to focus on the existential dilemma. I’m either scanning Pinterest for monochrome bathroom ideas, fitting in interminable push-ups between household chores, or stuck in the bl@@dy kitchen slaving over a hot stove or a soap-suddy sink. Let me tell you that preparing three meals and three snacks a day, for two people, ranks a logistics level ten.
Well, today marks day 19 and the biggest physical transformation so far is in… drum roll… my husband. He’s not been following the daily workouts or regular exercise challenges, but he has been eating the food that I put before him, and it’s already shaved a few kilos off him - thus proving it’s not the exercise but what you shove in your mouth that makes the difference. If you happen to be a patron of Santa Ponsa Dental Practice, do make reference to his svelte physique, it will please him greatly. Meanwhile, I’ve followed the rules, not a blueberry or a front plank out of place, and adjusted the bathroom lighting every which way but can’t yet see a hint of an ab. Ah well, 56 days to go…
PS I’ve encountered a few ‘women shouldn’t have abs’ and ‘you don’t need to diet, you’ll waste away’ comments. First up, it’s my body and therefore I have the great privilege of choosing what to do with it, just like you can decide to dye your hair pink and tattoo some angel wings on your back. Second, there is nothing ‘starvation’ about The Six Pack Revolution.
Trust me, it’s hard to find the time to eat the prescribed amount. Seems swapping empty calories (booze, biscuits, bacon, burgers) for healthy ones (chickpeas, eggs, avocado, Greek yoghurt) fuels your body rather than fills it. Panic not, I shan’t be wasting away any time soon…