Last week I had a brief twitter chat with a girl that I went to uni with (follow her here) and she mentioned that she had signed up for a lifeguard training course. I thought nothing of it at the time but the next morning I thought: "why don't I do that?". After all it makes sense doesn't it? I'm training to swim the channel. I'm looking for a job? One that is fairly flexible and allows me to write etc and if I work at a swimming pool/gym surely they'll let me use the facilities for free? Saving me anywhere between £30-70 a month on membership fees. It's a no brainer.
I let the thought float around in my head for a day or two and then I had the following thought: if I can complete a course now, before I move back to London - which I hope to do so in the next couple of weeks - I can try and line up a job or at least a couple of interviews before I go back down. So I started looking for somewhere local to complete the course. Failing that thought that I would look for places to complete the course in London.
So I did a bit of research. Checked the Royal Life Saving Society's website and phoned local swimming pool and leisure centres and as luck would have it there was a course running at the swimming pool I have been training at in Chester, only as my luck would have it the course had already started the day before! Even worse it appears that the vast majority of the courses are booked to fit in with the school holidays (this will make more sense to me later). So it appears that if I want to do the course it looks like I'll have to wait until the October half term holidays.
And that's when I find it. A course taking place between the 3rd and the 17th September. Finishing just in time for me to move back down to London around the 19th. So I ring up but it's a Saturday and the lady I need to talk to is out of the office. So I leave a message and decide to spend the rest of the weekend looking for alternatives, after all this course starts in just a couple of days and so is probably all booked up. These courses are very busy. I rang one local sports centre and I wasn't even guaranteed to get onto the course for the end of October.
But what have I got to lose? Exactly, absolutely nothing. So I ring up again on Monday morning. I get the machine again but this time after leaving a message, the woman rings me back. & it's good news! She tells me there's one place left on the course but... (there's always a but) I have to decide right now if I want it. This is because there could be an application in the post, which comes anytime now. So I'm panicking (not really but lets build the dramatic tension). Do I want the place? Oh I don't know. Do I? Of course I do! But I need to think about it. The location isn't ideal and... well the course starts tomorrow night. What should I do?
I don't have my card on me, so I can't pay right away but I don't want to lose the place. I tell the lady this and she gives me an hour to ring back and pay. After that she might have to offer it to someone else. So I don't waste anytime thinking about it. I just head straight home, grab my card, ring back up and pay. And that's it. It's too late to back out now. I'm literally starting the course the following night.
That was two days ago - today is only a week after the initial twitter conversation - and I've already completed the first session! (I'll blog more about the details of the course over the next couple of weeks, including whether I pass or not so watch this space.) Pretty impulsive hey? Impulsive...who me?
I don't think I'm a particularly impulsive person. I don't think that that's how the people who are close to me would describe me? But from time to time I do tend to do something impulsive and when I do, it normally turns out to be pretty life changing.
I'm sure I've made a few impulsive decisions in between then and nob but the last time that I can remember making a potentially life changing impulsive decision was back in the summer of 2005. I'd just jumped ship from HMS Oxford Brookes - where I was studying (and failing miserably) Automative Engineering - before they made me walk the plank.
I was back at home and working in a clothes factory for a few weeks over the summer while I chewed over my next move. When my older sister decided that she wanted to go and study "I.T" - I'm sure it was slightly more specific than that but I can't remember what - at the local "University". She had an interview and didn't want to go on her own so I said I'd go with her (I'm not too sure why I was feeling so nice. Maybe it was just meant to be?). So we get there and my sister goes off for her interview, leaving me to sit alone in the lobby and wait for her. So I'm sitting there, minding my own business - pretending to be on my phone or whatever - and this friendly old guy with a white beard approaches and starts asking me about what I want to study. I tell him that I'm just there with my sister but the next thing I know is I'm telling him that I've always wanted to be a writer (of films mainly) and he's telling me about the courses they have on offer.
The next thing I know - two weeks later - I'm sat in the first lecture of my BA Creative Writing / Media Communications degree. Three years later I'm graduating with a 2:1 Hons from the newly renamed Glydwr University and a few years after that, here I am - the proud owner of an MA Creative Writing (Plays & Screenplays) which seemingly qualifies me to do nothing - training to be a lifeguard. But joking aside I can't underplay how much of an impact that impulsive decision had on my life and maybe, just maybe, deciding to train as a lifeguard might have a similar impact (probably not but who knows?).
So being impulsive (who me?) can definitely be a good thing and in this case I think that doing the lifeguard course now and not waiting was the right thing to do. However, it isn't exactly convenient. The course is in Sale. Which is 40 miles from my parents house in North Wales and the course is spread over 8 half and full day sessions. Which means the best part of an hour drive there and back 8 times and a shed load of petrol money on top of the course fee. (Which I thought was fairly reasonably at £220.) So not ideal but I'd rather just get it out of the way now instead of waiting until October and I'm "lucky" that I have some time on my hands at the moment. So why not... hey?