Birthday Blues? – Only On My Guitar!

Baby Tony 1961

Baby Antony Feb 1961

“The one thing that none of us can stop is the passage of time, so why stress about something you cannot change?” says me!

Featured here in a back garden in Jersey, in the English Channel Islands are Bill and Vera Inman showing off the last of their four surviving children, little Antony. (Yes that’s moi).

Although apparently I was a mistake (not wrong there!), Dad said I was a welcome one. (Boy did that cost them!)

So here we are, half a century later – where did it go?

Well if ever had any silly thoughts of dread at the prospect of being called an “old git” etc, I have only to think back of a few friends who have not been fortunate enough to live as long as I have, whereupon I can immediately replace that negative thought with a positive one.

Tony and Yogi

A Red Devil for life

In my lifetime, I’ve seen decimalisation, the replacement of ‘black and white’ TV’s with colour ones, and now digital ones. We’ve gone from computers the size of a room and telephones with annoying ringtones to tiny half-pocket-sized phones that access the internet with annoying ringtones!

We’ve gone from ‘no pill’ (at least that was my Dad’s story) to ‘morning after’ and ‘implant’ contraceptives.

I watched Sir Matt Busby, George Best and Bobby Charlton pick up the European Cup and I’ve seen Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville do the same.

I can remember the days when there were ha’penny chews, a can of coke was six pence and kids gave up their seats for adults on buses.

Those were the days when drugs were only dispensed by chemists, you could leave your house unlocked and even leave your keys in the car!

Those were the days when a naughty kid got a whack from their parents and the worst swear word a kid would say was ‘bloody’. We had respect for our teachers, did as we were told and grew up with a work ethic.

From Dad's Malta album

From Dad's Malta album

A person in trouble would be helped without a second thought – it was heartwarming to see images of a return to that kind of human compassion and community spirit during our recent floods and bushfires.

Look, obviously it wasn’t all as rose-coloured as my (no doubt imminent) spectacles will reveal through the haze of nostalgia, but I certainly feel as if I have lived through priviledged times.

Bill and Vera (my wrinklies) lived through World War 2. Dad was starving on Malta while the Gerries bombed it 23 hours a day. I lost count of the number of times I heard about how they had to crack open the biscuits and let the weevils crawl away, so they could eat the biscuits. Mum had ration coupons in Chester. They starved, so I had to eat everything on my plate (even the green beans) or I wouldn’t get my stodgy Northern pudding!

That’s why I’ve struggled to re-learn that it’s OK to not stuff your face with stodge!

As my parents subsequently became hoteliers, who adored escaping for well-earned breaks to fantastic destinations, I have been fortunate enough to follow in their footsteps with a love of travel and tourism. They were also very goal-oriented people with decent, ethical values and, luckily for me, a belief in education.

So what have I learned? Well I could dribble on all day – after all, I’m becoming like my mother and find myself explaining to bemused shop assistants why I needed to buy that ‘whatever’ product, then finding common ground and engaging in lengthy conversations with random strangers!

I also have ear hairs, nose hairs and rampant eye brows. Football injuries take longer to heal and as Billy Connolly (whom I saw in his very first Parkinson interview) likes to explain, I make strange grunting noises when I bend down to pick things up.

Craig and Kim Inman

My littl'uns

Nevertheless, to race towards my conclusions and life-changing, inspirational words of wisdom for you young whippersnappers out there, I still believe that you can choose how you feel about things, you can do things, if you think and believe you can, plus – and this is a biggie- life is definitely too short to take it for granted.

I read a great quote today by a man called Fred Smith – “Things are to own and people are to love, rather than  things to love and people to own.”

It is a no-brainer to remember just how important family and friends are to us all. If you don’t have any friends – try harder – be a friend to others.

Craig & Kim grown up

Craig & Kim grown up

I’m a firm believer in building a list of dreams and goals and working your way through them. The only person really ever holding you back is you.

I saw a documentary where a mountaineer called Chris lost a leg in an accident. His friend had just climed Everest, taken a stone from the top and challenged Chris to put it back. Despite having an artificial leg, despite contracting altitude sickness and having to go from close to the summit back down to basecamp, get slightly better and go again, despite spending a night in a tent in a howling gale and a snow storm, despite crossing a ladder over a crevasse with sheer drops below him, Chris prevailed through absolute determination and focus. The one-legged man climbed Everest.

So if he could do that, what can we do?

I don’t know about you guys, but my ‘bucket list’  of stuff to do is just getting longer and longer. (Things to do before you kick the bucket!)


Tony & Jo at Rottnest

I went from being a guy who couldn’t open his eyes underwater to last August diving 60 meters down to the stern of the WW2 shipwreck of the USS Coolidge in shark-inhabited waters. I achieved a long overdue goal of flying a Tiger Moth bi-plane with the wind in my face. I sold my backpackers business and nearly moved to Bali and nearly bought a resort in the South Pacific; I finally got around to finishing my first novel – soon to be published.

This year, I’m going to revalidate my Pilot’s Licence; learn ballroom dancing; run the Round the Bridges and City to Surf (thus reversing the effects of that Northern stodge!); raise money for shark and whale shark conservation; market my novel and write a second book; play tennis and volleyball; Jo and I are also going to dive in Borneo.


Tony the Tiger!

In 2012 we’re planning to do the Machu Picchu trail (before those unfit grunting noises become too deafening!).

I’m going to fit in learning another language and all kinds of stuff that will prove that I’m certifiably mad.

So whatever floats your boat, don’t leave it too late…the things you may regret are the things you didn’t do! Definitely, don’t let lack of money, the age people say you are, or your irrational fears get in the way.

Until next time, be the person to whom you aspire, do what is necessary to become that person and you can have the rewards of a fortunate life.

Ok if you don’t reach the destination, at least you’ll enjoy the journey more…

Tony Inman

About Tony Inman

If you are looking for a coach, mentor or consultant to help you strategise the way you want your life to be and to build your business or develop your career to achieve that vision, then Tony Inman is the man to call.
With over 34 years management experience in numerous companies in Europe and Australia, including many of his own businesses, Tony has coached thousands of staff and hundreds of business owners and executives to set new goals, overcome obstacles or limiting beliefs and create and achieve new dreams.
Today Tony is a published author and presenter on the topics of personal and business growth. He is an incorrigible entrepreneur as well as a business and lifestyle coach, consultant and mentor.

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