Happy New Year! It’s 2024 now, and you know what that means – a mix of opportunities and challenges awaits us. Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs, and it’s all about how we deal with them. For me, this involves juggling speaking engagements, panel discussions, training sessions, and the ongoing ‘dance’ with health issues that come with both age and being disabled.

Ruben Carol

With 60 in view in a couple years, I can’t deny that I’m no spring chicken. Ageing naturally brings its own set of challenges. We, who lead active lives, often try to push our bodies beyond their limits, and are accustomed to managing our lives in a certain way.

Regular readers will know that in November 2021, a stroke hit me hard, but strangely, at the same time, my services became more sought after than ever. Life’s ironic, right? After a short time off, I forced myself to continue, but started taking more breaks along the way and found myself relying on others for help.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions; empty promises like shedding weight or quitting smoking on the first day of January feel like a setup for failure. Resolutions, if any, should be made when you genuinely feel ready. And when you do, it’s crucial to consider the steps and changes needed for success and to celebrate the small victories without focusing on the negatives. 

Quitting smoking? Maybe start with alternatives like nicotine gum, gradually reducing by one cigarette a week. Big changes, like shedding those kilos, take time, determination, and sometimes, support from others. And if you don’t succeed first time, it’s not a failure, you just didn’t succeed yet. You just have to keep trying. Remember, when Thomas Edison was asked about his struggles and 2,000 failures along the way to inventing the lightbulb, he said he never failed. He just learned how not to make a lightbulb 2,000 times.

Never shy away from discussing changes you want to make. We often can’t do it alone. Along with friends and family, there are also organisations ready to help. Often, those closest to us are the toughest to open up to.

Managing expectations and embracing change are key. Humans are creatures of habit and resistant to change, but remember, the smallest changes lead to significant outcomes. It’s the baby steps that matter – and babies don’t start walking overnight; they crawl, stand, and then take those first wobbly steps.

Remember, everything takes time. Be patient and kind with yourself. Here’s to navigating the twists of life in the year ahead and never being afraid to reach out!

About Ruben Carol
Ruben is a disability access and inclusion specialist, trainer and facilitator and has had the pleasure of training organisations, including TfL and Uber. 
He’s also an actor, VO artist, and public speaker. Appearances include Good Omens, His Dark Materials and Doctors. 
You can find him on Facebook and Instagram @Ruben.Carol.Actor