Penny Rowson on lifes top 5 Regrets

Firstly I was going to write a guide of; “how not to be bored on camp” and then I thought why is it I do the things I do? I seem to be very different from my ‘stereotype’.  I don’t exactly fit within my social norms with lad-ish behaviours, weird interests, and a different outlook on life.

Now I’m not going to bore you and ramble on about what goes on in my head that’s a world some would describe as insanity. However I recently read an article on top 5 regrets people make on their death bed and I think a lot of people could benefit from this. I guess you could just read the article but here’s my cycling twist, as it’s not applicable to all situations but take from it what you will.

For me the most important aspect to my life is all about balance. I was particularly looking forward to this camp not just because of the terrain perfect for training, the girls great company and morale, the sunshine meaning no excuses not to ride but mostly because I love change and to be taken away from daily distractions/ ‘comforts’. Makes you appreciate what you have.

So to your average Joe being a female professional cyclist seems a weird lifestyle choice but I think what’s most important is being happy. So this brings us to regret one; “I wish i’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expect of me.” For example going against society’s educational pathway. I personally chose open uni partly because it interested me and i wanted something to do off my bike and apply to my sport, partly because i knew i couldn’t live off the salary of a pro female cyclist and would need another career choice, partly because financially its cheaper and partly because I wanted to be different taking a learning style that worked for me, it keeps my life flexible, I can work it around me and stay balanced.


Penny Rowson
Penny Rowson

“I wish I didn’t work so hard”; i guess this one’s not applicable in the sense of don’t try so hard on your bike haha! But put time into what you value most! Eg. Family travelling etc Therefore with my lifestyle yes I have to make some sacrifices but because I’ve made most of it flexible around me I seem to have a lot more time than your average Joe. Therefore I’d change this regret to “not travelling and seeing the world”; another passion of mine is travelling. I love cycling because I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to be able to travel and meet the people I have. Lucy for example is travelling to New Zealand and is popping into LA on the way (as you do!) making the most of her travels and I admire that! In an idea world we’d all love to live to a grand old age and have interesting stories to tell. The great thing about cycling is you get a whole month called the ‘off season’ I decided to visit Sweden to see my best friend Sara. By exploring other countries, making time for friends and travel is great for the mind. I believe after I finish my cycling career I will travel and live abroad somewhere so I have that to look forward to. It’s difficult for me to say ill do that later when my mind also battles with the ‘living in the now’ ‘live each day as your last’ so a balance of doing things in the now and plan for the later is good.

Onto number 3 “I wish i had the courage to express my feelings”; this is a massive one for our society today. If people were more emotional honest the world would be a better place in my opinion. People tend to suppress their feelings and don’t get me wrong I’m defiantly guilty for this as being from Yorkshire you have to be hard bike riders and crying is a sign of weakness etc. But being appreciative and saying thank you to team mates and people who have helped you always goes a long way.

Number 4; “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends” now again this isn’t applicable to me as i have about 50 facebook friends who are people I would all let into my house and make em a cuppa. I’ve stayed in contact with all my friends from school and around the world because its quantity not quality. I’ve also met up with people i haven’t seen in years because I’m random and spontaneous therefore id change this regret to; “not going out my comfort zone” this is many stories in itself but one very simple example was on this camp where  there was a lizard in Molly’s room, everyone screamed and i took on the challenge (and i made Harriet video it for comedy value) I think the excitement of doing something new over rode my fears of the slimy creature, therefore do something that scares you! Not doing something because it inconvenient or out of your comfort zone etc isn’t a good enough excuse.

This brings me nicely onto my last point, regret number 5; “I wish that I had let myself be happier” …remember happiness is a choice.

This is my most favourite quote sent to me by a close friend who knows me well..

“so many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned by a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a person than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is their passion for adventure.”

Everyday for me I do something I love to do and something new, I personally challenge myself physically and mentally. From TED talks, to films. Learning how to play the Ukulele, listening to new music. New languages, reading up on current affairs, politics, world peace, equality. Going on hikes, exploring new rides etc

Anyway these are just my interests that make me happy hence why I don’t really care if people think I’m weird, different, or crazy even.  The main conclusion is it’s impossible to describe me and not say I’m living life to the full. As i said from the start take from it what you will but always look at things in a positive way, tends to make the world a whole brighter place!