Rewind to April 2022.
I’d recently moved out of my place in London. I was waiting for my visa to process to move to Portugal. I still had my British job and British visa and decided to spend a few months in Bournemouth with my friend Jeremy.
We’d decided the day before to road-trip to the little town of Lynton. We’d been to the town, had seen the hills and the coast, and were now heading back to Bournemouth.
“What would you do if you won the lottery?”
Jeremy’s poppy Spotify playlist blared on the speaker as we sped down the highway in my little VW polo. His answer was quick and sure.
“I’d quit my job and keep doing the podcast full-time.”
Jeremy has been working on his podcast non-stop for the last year or more. He lives and breathes his podcast, so doing that but with more money and fewer constraints made perfect sense.
Winning the lottery wouldn’t change the direction of his life in a “turn the boat around” type of way. It would be hitting the accelerator on the path he was already on.
“Why, what would you do?”
I had my answer ready.
“I’d try and become a pro tennis player with my brother.”
This had been on my mind for ages and made a lot of sense to me in a world where money was no limit on what I could do. I’d always been sure of this answer since I’d been in high school or university.
I grew up playing tennis with my brother. My parents had taken us to private lessons, we’d played at the local courts for years and even went to a few regional competitions.
That being said, I hadn’t picked up a racket in years. I’d played once or twice with my brother when I’d gone home to Australia to visit. Then not again until I was back in Australia the next time.
I played tennis, but I didn’t play tennis.
I’d been sure about my answer but hadn’t given it much thought beyond the hypothetical - “If I were a millionaire…”
We kept driving and chatting on the road back to Bournemouth.
And the question kept nagging. Why am I waiting to win the lottery? I don’t have any lottery tickets, literal or figurative.
Becoming a millionaire 20-something-year-old tennis player isn’t a reality I’m going to magically fall into.
I should just play some tennis.
Later that week, I got on Gumtree.com, bought an old racket and some balls, and headed to Bournemouth Gardens Tennis Centre.
Photo is from the Scottish Highlands. I thought the sign “Passing place” was pretty cool and unique but quickly realised they’re everywhere. I got bitten by a tick a few minutes after taking this photo and caught Lyme disease. Fun fun!