21 Early Days: Tipperary Infused Wisdom

The second week of early starts has been an interesting one for sure, and one of realization. It all started with a reunion, as an old friend made a brief return to Seoul.

I first encountered Rob Murphy almost 3 years ago, at a Gaelic football tournament. He was the captain of Seoul Gaels at the time, and I was playing for rivals Busan alongside my club mate, Daragh Meredith. I turned to ‘Big Lad’, pointed in amazement to the specimen out on the pitch, and asked, ‘who the f*ck is that unit of a man?’

From that day forward I would refer to the man in question simply as ‘The Unit’- unbeknownst to him of course at the time- but the name has since stuck. My impending ‘transfer’ to Seoul Gaels meant that I would soon be granted the chance to shake his hand, and introduce myself.

Rob cuts an imposing figure, and he is just as intimidating off the pitch as he is on it. That being said, a shared interest in tea and chocolate, and a mutual disdain for bullsh*t, appeared to spark some sort of a connection, and we hit it off.

You know when you just click instantly with someone- the feeling that you were cut from the same cloth.

It’s one of the magical aspects of the expat life, to be able to pick up where you left off with a close friend after a considerable length of time apart. Last Saturday morning at 7 AM- after an intense and grueling workout- ‘The Unit’ and I were chatting over a hot beverage and a little chocolate delicacy, and it all felt so familiar. One of those, like it was yesterday moments.

Conversation was deep and meaningful, as you could well imagine. We discussed everything from the gradual deterioration of the quality of Cadbury’s chocolate, to the importance of living in the moment and pursuing our passions, before contemplating the meaning of life itself.

One thing Rob mentioned while we were on the subject of self-development- which I feel is relevant to the journey right now- is how it is absolutely essential to embrace small positive changes, in order for change to be maintained, and improvement to be sustained over time. As an extremely knowledgeable strength and conditioning coach, it is an area in which he is familiar with.

Consider the areas of your life where you might like to improve upon, and look to make small, positive changes over time. Cut out bread, watch less TV, watch more TV, start a journal, read a book, drink less coffee, drink more coffee, cut out chocolate. OK let’s not go crazy with that last one, but you get the idea.

I don’t know about you, but if I try to implement drastic change immediately across the board, by the third day I’ll likely find myself waking up at noon, submerged in a sea of discarded chocolate wrappers and pizza boxes, after watching the LOR trilogy the night before, reaching for the phone with one hand to cancel the gym membership, and loading up an episode of The Sopranos with the other. I’m speaking hypothetically, of course.

Choose one small positive change, introduce it for 21 days, and see what happens.

In the case of the early starts, things have been going well for me. This week I’ve found that if I am still out and about come 9 PM, I will instantly start to feel antsy in the knowing that I should be at home getting ready for bed. I don’t quite know how I feel about this fact. I mean, I’m 28 years old and in the prime of my life, and I’m rushing home to put on the kettle, read a book, and wind down.

I assumed that getting up at 4:30 AM would make me feel more alive and energetic- which it does to a certain extent- but it’s also ironic that I’ve become increasingly aware of how geriatric-like I am in my ways, as a result of rising before the dawn.

It’s kind of hilarious, when I think about it. But then I think f*ck it, I love my slippers and tea.

I’m not sure if I prefer to exist in dominant superhero mode at 4:30 AM, or in languid Grandpa Joe mode later in the evening. Whatever the case may be, I’ll happily continue along the path which my inner compass maps out, and encourage you to do the same.

And if fate decides, I will cross paths with ‘The Unit’ again sooner, rather than later.