Best-self: What happened when Tomos came to stay
Best-self, it is that version of you that you know is bad ass, someone you admire and like to associate yourself with. What I recognize as I get older is that life is often like a sine wave. There are good parts and bad parts, happy times and painful times. Also, there are times when you are off the charts impressive and others when you are spinning the hamster wheel, producing nothing of importance and feeling pretty miserable about your existence. The thing is when you are feeling good about yourself everyone benefits. The question is how do you find that best-self person when you seem to be more lost than Coleridge's Ancient Mariner? How do you recover him or her from no-man’s land and give them a kick start? Thankfully, I have just experienced an answer. Last November, during a three month period when I was not able to go into work I got to grips with a side project (Where the Fruit is). I knew it was a good idea and I knew it can make a difference. The thing is I also wondered if I was the person to do it. Regardless of if I was passionate enough, capable enough or had the right experience, I found myself sabotaging my own efforts.
Thankfully, social media came to the rescue. By coincidence (or was it?) one of my old Welsh students appeared on my Instagram feed suggesting I follow him. I did. The first photo I saw was of someone wearing ski goggles, being inquisitive I asked Tomos where he was. His reply was Winter Park, which is not even 70 miles from where I live. We arranged that he came to stay for the night and I am extremely grateful that he did.
The thing is Tomos knew me at my most creative and productive. He knew me when I designed coursework that was referred to by Her Majesty's Inspectorate as exemplary. He knew me when we coached a group of young people (a number of them disenfranchised) to organize their own expedition to Finland and Norway with a minuscule budget (he was one of them). He knew me when I was at the top of my game, fresh out of a lot of training for teaching, instructing a variety of outdoor activities and assessing them as well. He knew me when I was the king of blag, able to see win-win potential and attract neat yet unlikely opportunities to myself while also helping others to gain from the relationship.
As I went through photos I discovered taken during the course I found myself realizing how special that time had been. As I looked at course work I was blown away with the experiences we had given the students. After a drunken night of hilarious reminiscing I realized just what I am capable of and I want to feel those sensations again. The beautiful thing is I am walking away from our time together invigorated. I am ready to make magic happen again. I am ready to shake things up.
Thank you Tomos, it is great to see what a fantastic man you have become. You made my year.
Who can you talk to who knows who you can be? And, how are you going to help others find their best-self?
Tom on a trip to Norway back in 2000 and 16 years later in Denver.