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And now we face, the final… few days of 2011. Hmmm, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the Sinatra classic!

I always get reflective around this time of year and most of the time think that I’ve hardly achieved anything. But this time around it’s fair to say that my past year has been pretty eventful! After my backpacking and volunteer experience in India from August – December 2010, I gained a new outlook on life and made some radical changes. How cliche, but actually true!

Palolem Beach, Goa, India

 

Cows on the beach – standard India

First to change was my job: in April, I took the plunge and left a steady job with a good income because it was making me unhappy. It was a massive risk to apply for a job that I knew would hugely challenge my skills and intellect – not to mention my then relationship – but it was the right choice. Around the same time, I bought a proper grown-up car to cope with the extended mileage to and from work and to stick two fingers up to Arnold Clark for the appalling customer service that I’d received from them. That felt unbelievably good!

And in May this year, I also discovered roller derby and Fierce Valley Roller Girls. I’m not going to swoon and gush about how “totally awesome” it is and how “I’ve met such an inspirational group of people”, but it really has made a huge difference to my life these past few months. I’ve always been a bit of a part-time sports fan as my motivation and enthusiasm for new stuff tends to wane quite quickly. Even though I’ve had these moments with derby, the ladies and gents that I skate with help me quickly bounce back. Skating provides me with a 2-3 nights a week exercise regime, and also the opportunity to meet a huge number of people that I would never really have mixed with before. This extends way beyond the skaters in Fierce Valley Roller Girls: I’ve met skaters and referees from all of the Scottish leagues now, artistic and musical sorts who are always keen to help us fundraise, and too many fantastic photographers and reporters to name (except Jen Mitchell – she’s the best!).

FVRG's Parma Violents

 

FVRG

Playing roller derby has also provided me with another great opportunity: I’ve been approached to join the group of writers for the collaborative blog, Scottish Roller Derby. I kept a blog of our travels around India, and it reminded me of how much I enjoy writing and sharing these experiences. I guess that’s how this blog was born. After reading some of my articles, Sandy – founder of Scottish Roller Derby – made me an offer I couldn’t refuse; now I find myself interviewing the best of Scotland’s roller derby players in my free time!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve also moved house from the Alloa area to Falkirk, where many of the skaters from FVRG live and/ or work. Now I’m not that sad to relocate purely to be closer to our training venues (it was for work reasons – honest!), but it is quite reassuring to know that I have a lot of new friends nearby that I can call on if I want to go blow off some steam after a hard-day at the office, or just to go for a post-training pint.

So with such a busy 2011, I guess that means that I can take things easy in 2012, right? Well maybe, but only after I’ve got my house looking just as I’ve always imagined, and after I get some sort of self-study training plan in place to make sure I’m pushing myself to my absolute capacity at work, and after I drastically improve my fitness so I can complete the Alloa Half Marathon in March in a respectable time and to help me become a derby machine! Maybe it won’t be such a quiet year after all!

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