First of all I would like to give a big shout out to Oscar Wilde as I'm blatantly ripping off his book title for this blog post. I wouldn't do it unless he was cool with it of course. I also thought of calling this blog "The guy, behind the guy, behind the guy" but then I realized I don't even get what that means. It sounds really cool though. So this time I'm not going to talk about hanging off cliffs, chicken fighting with Shaolin monks, burning my feet on a volcano or getting stranded on an uninhabited island (all shameless plug-ins for my book by the way); I'm going to talk about something far more mundane, trivial and absurd; me. Or rather the perception of me. When I was lillil (aka before puberty) I used to be scrawny, puny and looking at some vintage photos my mum keeps safe in a tiny drawer, I dare say efen cute.
Then it all went down hill. I'll spare you the imagery but suffice to say I did not feel proud of my moustache then, the same way I did in the London moustache growing competition of 2006. The other alarming thing is I kept defying Newtonian gravity and getting taller but none the wider. I think this is known in colloquial terms as being a stick. During that era, I had to take all photos facing the camera. One time they took a side shot of me and I was nowhere to be found, not even in the negative. A cousin insisted on calling me a ghost after that, which didn't really add to my self image. I got her back by dressing in a white sheet and scaring the 'bejeezus**' out of her.
I later adopted the same strategy with my baby brother but in an entirely different context. That story is best reserved for a different occasion. Basically, I was comfortable being all of those things because lets face it, it was true. Yet in the past 5 years or so (basically since I spent 2.5 months walking up a hill) I've noticed that a lot of people who don't know me so well developed a bizarre perception of what I'm like and how I live my life. So for posterity (I've always wanted to use that word), I'd like to talk a little bit about Phantom Samra and Real Samra. So here goes: Phantom Samra has his life planned 10 years in advance to the minutest detail and he knew it all along. He wakes up at 4am every day in complete darkness when even the birds are still fast asleep; he then proceeds to down a chunky concoction for breakfast comprised of 10 egg yokes and a few quarts of milk that he calls the 'wimp buster'.
He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, lets out a mighty burp then immediately gets down on the floor to give himself 100 pushups before suicide sprinting out of the door. He doesn't remember the car keys because he doesn't need them. At this point a couple of birds are lazily yawning but he's wide awake and tells them to get their act together. He goes for a 10 mile run without breaking a sweat, showers in 30 seconds flat including washing his hair twice then goes out to pursue an honest mountaineers work for the day. You know, climbing hills, dragging heavy tyres around and sticking his head under a slowly dripping faucet to build up his mental toughness against chinese mental torture. Phantom Samra is super serious and means business.
Real Samra is very different. He never knew who he wanted to be growing up; not even a fireman or an astronaut. He struggled with his self image and only started playing sports at age 11 when circumstance forced his hand. When he graduated from school he had no brilliant epiphany about what he should study. He picked engineering because the queue at university was shorter. When he graduated he had no idea what he wanted to do for work so he became a banker in London because he wanted to experience what it was like to live abroad and travel. He then worked in a job he did not enjoy for years before he did anything about it. Most of the time he wakes up late and goes to sleep even later. He loves all types of food too much that he can never stick to a healthy diet for any good amount of time. He goes through ups and downs with his training and a lot of the time he's lazy.
There is one thing Omar is good at though and that is that he insists on challenging himself in every aspect of his life and commits himself to his goals and never gives up. Sometimes this makes all the difference. Very little people are like Chuck Norris or Phantom Samra and those who are belong in the movies or a marvel comic. We're all imperfect and have our moments but the difference between living a life you never regret and regretting the life you live is one thing; having a passion-driven goal that starts selfishly with you and ends up being something greater than yourself. It's understanding that getting there is a long and hard job but knowing it is fun to try. Never forget the first rule of climbing, "it doesn't have to be fun to be fun" :) ** an exclamation of surprise or emphasis regarded as a characteristic utterance of Irish people