Tetris – David Smith: As 2021 dawns I have to decide whether to take the plunge
I understand it won’t be for everyone, especially during these current times.
But I have adopted many of the lessons of positive psychology to aid me in my recovery and ongoing treatments.
And as I sit here in the sun waiting for oncology to call me with my regular scheduled call I look at my diary where I have the PERMA model written down.
If you don’t know about the PERMA model – and I’m guessing most of you don’t – it was a theory dreamed up by Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania back in the early 2010s.
He believes that for humans to flourish we need certain elements in life, which is where the PERMA model comes in.
It stands for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments.
And quite simply it is a guide for us to follow which should help facilitate a happier life.
Driving around Jamaica has made me think more about what Seligman is saying and how many of the aspects people naturally do anyway.
On a personal level, I use it as a self check-in to make sure I am living my life and not letting hospital life run me.
As I say, it might not be for everyone, but there is a ton of research showing that if we build our awareness around models such as the PERMA one we can live a happier life.
I know I tend to get more out of this way of life, rather than following my old life patterns where I only pursued medals as part of the UK Sport system.
Last week I spoke about my observations of the people living a very simple life in the bush compared to the faster life in Kingston and the more time I spend in Jamaica the more I appreciate the differences.
Driving in Kingston is like being dropped into level 20 in Tetris.
Everything is going at a much faster pace than I like.
Just getting around has been a crazy experience this week as heavy rain has covered the pot holes.
Just navigating myself to the pool and gym around Kingston has become a game of survival.
I am splitting my time now between the country and Kingston – this time staying on a farm.
And it is definitely a new experience for me: on the one hand it’s perfect to just relax and switch off, on the other hand there is always something happening.
This week 60 cattle escaped at 2am, causing havoc as they made their way into town.
And just before I got here the local police had a shoot-out with criminals who were stealing cows.
It resulted in one cow dead after being caught in the crossfire and one of the criminals shot too.
So it’s certainly two very contrasting experiences for me – as I embrace the edgy energy which sometimes exists on this island.
In terms of my training, I am finding a balance between the gym, the bike and swimming.
With the uncertainty of what the 2021 season will look like and the high risk of riding out on the roads here, my goal here is to just get fit rather than directly bike fit.
I just want to be robust enough so that when I come home I can handle cycling 15 hours a week.
Swimming is a big part of my fitness regime here but this week provided me with a different encounter than just the difficulty of navigating the current in the sea.
Before I drove up to Kingston I decided to go to the beach for a quick swim.
As I arrived at the little beach spot that I go to most weeks, I was met by a young man whose message was very simple.
He said: ‘don’t park here and swim or you will be robbed and your car will be smashed’.
As much as I wanted to swim it wasn’t worth the risk, especially as the radio news was warning residents of increased crime.
Apparently there had been more shootings between police and gangs and with this beach was only five minutes away from Steer Town where gangs are a dominant power.
So I just told myself to get back in the car again and drive away.
In many ways it feels like you’re living in a movie here but as I leave you this week I challenge you to think about the PERMA model and how you can bring these elements into your life.