Just Show Up

Ireland - Dublin

1. Which living person do you most admire?
My mother. If we are talking about well-known people, Bruce Springsteen.

2. What is your current state of mind?
Positive. 20:08 on a Thursday evening, the girls are sleeping and I’ve just eaten after a shower and jog. I feel good, happy I pushed myself to get out in the cold. The nights are unpredictable and frustrating. I’ve been tired but wired now for a good while, but I feel very alive and that must be a good thing. Grateful too, there’s a lamppost at the side of a road I jog by that has new flowers on it every couple of days. A young lad got knocked off his bike and died there last year. I always say hello to him when I pass and feel thankful that I’m out there.

3. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
By all accounts, you know? Like

4. When and where were you happiest?
I think it has to be summer 2009. I’d just moved to Spain to teach English, Soraya and I were not yet together but very close friends and my Dad was still alive. It all changed in February 2010 and without doubt, my childhood ended then, but that summer and year in general was brilliant.

5. Where would you most like to live?
I love living in Dublin but I’d like to live in Spain again at some point in my life.

6. What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty of communication, no bullshit, no egos, vulnerability.

7. What is your most treasured possession?
I’m not great with possessions but in terms of practicality I love my bike and our clapped out Micra, it does a lot of good work for us and is very handy to park.

8. Who are your heroes in real life?
I’ll just say one person, my mother. She’s very tough and has been through a lot. This year was my dad’s tenth anniversary and we had a night to celebrate. I wrote a speech but decided to use it to praise my Mam more than anything. She still hasn’t said anything to me about it but I’m glad I did it.

9. What is your most marked characteristic?
I think I’m quite determined and focused, in a quiet way though. Reliable too. All of these things can annoy me about myself at times, in that I don’t allow myself to rest that often and am a bit hard on myself.

10. What is your motto?
I don’t have a motto but I write down a lot of quotes that strike a chord with me. Recently I heard the songwriter Jason Isbell quote the painter Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work”. My mam got me a pen and notebook set for my birthday. I was asked what engraving I wanted on the pen. ‘Show up’ is what I asked for.

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