Little Challenges

I recognise this (

I recognise this (

This morning, something miraculous happened: I had a shave without cutting myself.  Well, when I say not cutting myself I mean not cutting myself badly enough to need a little square of tissue paper to staunch the blood flow (I think I may be over-dramatising things with that phrasing, but you get what i mean.) You might think that after over twenty years of shaving, I should be more accomplished by now, but as any man who wet shaves will tell you, it’s not as simple as all that. Most days after shaving, I look as if I’ve just been thrown through a car windscreen.

As you may be able to tell, having a shave without cutting myself has made me very happy, not just because I have more iron rich blood travelling my veins than most mornings, but because it is one of my little challenges; the things I do to help make the day more interesting. Occasionally, like today, they come from every day tasks (although shaving for me  stopped being an every day task when I gave up work) but most of the time I make them up. Let me give you an example.

They haven't stopped, they are just moving forward very slowly.

They haven’t stopped, they are just moving forward very slowly. (source:

Sometimes, when I drive, I try to do so without bringing the car to a complete stop until I get to my destination. I’ve driven over 300 miles in one go before without ever stopping. Even in towns. Traffic lights are a particular challenge. If the lights are red I slow down to a crawl and try to judge how much space I need between me and the car in front that will enable me to keep moving at the slowest possible speed before the lights turn green and the queue starts moving. Sad, isn’t it. Yet I get inordinately happy whenever I get it right. If you ever travel to Istanbul you will find the taxi drivers do the same thing, because if their wheels aren’t turning the meter doesn’t turn either.

Another little win when I was at work was to start my computer up, go downstairs, boil the kettle, make a cup of tea, then return, all before the computer had finished booting up. Another involves pasta. If I weigh out pasta I have to get to the target weight without stopping the flow prematurely, but I lose if I over-pour. This is particular challenging with electronic scales. I think you get the gist.

At this point I would just like to say that a part of me is dying inside telling you this.

So my question to you, my dear reader, is do you set yourself any little challenges, and if so, what are they? I’d really love to know, just so I don’t feel so alone.

Plus, I’m always looking for new ways to challenge myself…..

2 thoughts on “Little Challenges

  1. When lying in hospital with a broken back a few years ago the young nurse offered to wet shave me. ‘It’s ok my boyfriend lets me shave him’ ….Later, wondering when they’d take down to theatre after looking at my face I surmised that she’d left the ‘ex’ off her boyfriend statement … as for goals I try and see how far I can get through the day before doing something that qualifies as ‘work’ …ah the retired life 😉

  2. I sympathise with your personal driving challenge, one that appealed to me when I lived in Bristol. Now that I live in deepest Wales driving without stopping till I come to my destination is no longer a challenge, just an expectation.

    What I do do is try to avoid using brakes, using lower gears to slow me down, and eking increasing mileage out of a full tank of fuel. In fact they’re a matter of honour with me now.

    It’s years since I had a wet shave. An electric shaver does for beard and moustache, unfashionable designer stubble and a friendly skinhead look.

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