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Change takes courage. Standing alone for what is right, even braver. Together, we are stronger.

If something isn't right, then you have basically two options, either accept it and stay with everything that annoys you and bothers you. Or step out of what you know and take a chance that it may get better. I could relate this to work, a relationship, or pain, (be it physical or mental.)

This is endless and different for everyone.

I was out on my road cycling bike the other day after making some very slight adjustments to my seat height as I was beginning to get pains in my knee joints again. When I was 15 years old I was playing football 3 matches at a weekend, (school, town and local village matches.) I couldn't get enough, but being competitive with it comes the risk of injuries. In addition as years passed, I was pushing myself with Karate and abusing my joints, finding myself on my knees a lot, squeezed into so many tight spots in the Fire Service has gradually it has taken its toll on my body. Only now that we are living in the Algarve, Portugal where I am no longer stressing as much as I was with everything I was dealing with, can I begin to truly look after myself? I have time for myself now.

Am I selfish? To some maybe, but I owe it to myself to look after my own health too.

Hence riding my bike in the warm sunny climate.

Having time to ride and exercise also allows me to have much-needed headspace.

Physical and mental health go hand in hand.

This has had an effect too, for the more kilometres I put in and the harder I ride, the more again my joints are showing their weaknesses from years of sports and training.

I've achieved a lot since being here only 5 months ago, feeling stronger and adding more distances and longer times. Being a stubborn sod, I like to push myself and go a little faster or further than last time. This attitude is healthy, but not if it is going to hurt my joints in the long term.

The damage from a football injury when I was 15 to both knees, was haunting me a little. This injury where the Doctors told me back then, I may not be able to walk properly again, let alone play football. Well, I took that as a challenge and was playing 3 weeks later. Knees strapped up, but I was out doing what I loved. Told you I was stubborn.

I do like to prove people wrong! Plus I had damaged both knees during my service career too.

But hey I like a challenge and don't know when to quit.

So my point here, is that we know our aches and pains and limitations and we start to accept them. Accept them for what they are, irritating and restrictive, but we just adapt and soldier on as it were.

This to me is where I have to change. I have changed my perspective on life since leaving the Service and reflecting on what I've seen over so many years in so many situations.

Life is too short and precious. Why wouldn't you want to do as much as you can and be pain-free?

Maybe it's because we know where we are, surrounded by familiar items and people.

Eating the same food and drinks, who knows? But I needed some radical changes to enhance my life. Maybe a tad drastic moving away to another country, but I needed a complete change of scenery.

'You cannot heal in the same environment you got sick in.'

In making the height adjustments, I have had to push through the resistance of my joints and muscles screaming at me to go back to what I knew. But persevere I did and I now find I am riding pain-free, and to top it, I am riding longer and faster too.

Blimey, am I getting more sensible with age? lol

How does this relate to what I have to say next?

As I write this I am fully aware that the Euro Football final is on tonight. I wish I could be back in England to watch it with my father and kids, but there is also a huge side of me that completely wants to avoid the whole situation. I recognise the anxiety and stresses just from watching.

And this is all escalated depending on the results. My head is bouncing with questions and doubts.

But I truly wish the England team win. My thought process must remain calm.

I am patriotic, but I am also very aware of politics and how people can show their lowest side. Boo'ing at another national anthem for instance. Or where a player may cheat and completely alter the result of a game. And it is just a game. This I want nothing to do with. This energy is something I move away from. It is only a game remember. Can we have forgotten how many have sadly passed away since March 2020?

In comparison to life and someone losing theirs, it is nothing.

This is where I feel a complete detachment to the hyper energy and frustration that will flow from so many tonight. A heightened alert and state, this I have had enough of over my time.

Is it PTSD in the form of avoidance?

I just know I am torn between watching, with the added frustration of not being with my family, that if by staying away, I am safe in the knowledge that the energy of the nation cannot have an effect on mine.

If you truly believe that energy is not infectious, then take a moment during the game tonight to feel into yourself and how emotions arise.

I am typing away today, with earphones in listening to the soundtrack of the 'Last Samurai,' completely lost in my own little bubble. Bringing my mind back to my breathing and to a state of calm.

This is what I want in life, this is my choice.

With the final later, please reflect on it as a time to be humble and accept that the world is full of amazing people with good hearts and incredible talents.

The outcome of the game tonight can not be affected by me. My thoughts are behind the England team, not through politics, or to save the NHS with their kind donations from the players, (it shouldn't have to be this anyway,) it is for them as individuals coming together in unison as a team, giving everything and doing as best they can to win.

The energy of the nation I truly hope will be that of, pure intent and goodwill.

Enthusiastic and competitive to win.

No hate or frustrations or anger.

Not to allow anxiety and panic in.

To remain calm and keep striving forward.

Get behind the team in a positive way.

The nation's energy is infectious.

Living and being mindful, is a way of life.

Be mindful of what you resonate out, as it will be absorbed by others.

Make a conscious positive belief and spread this healthy energy.

'Believe to Achieve'........go make it happen!


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