The headline is a latin phrase that means “swifter, higher, stronger” and is also the official Olympic motto. Perhaps I should get that inked into the back of my hand? Because why should my best years be behind me?

I used to have a sixpack at twelve. I used to be able to play a full game of rugby and then go surfing afterwards. I used to climb up trees and jump off kranses; ride bike and see how many laps I could swim underwater. And you know what, I never trained for any of this, I never had any sort of goal, I just did it because it was fun.

So when did I decide that I’d peaked, and that my life should be about taking precautions, conserving my energy and thinking instead of doing? When did I start complaining, huffing and puffing, every time I was expected to do some sort of physical activity?

Why didn’t I just keep building so that my best years weren’t the ones behind me, but instead the ones in front?

Yesterday my friend Danni put things into perspective for me, and in her own special way answered the above questions. In case you were on the other side of the velvet rope, Danni Diana was the fiercest party-girl of her time, who ruled both Joburg and Cape Town with a razor-sharp tongue and a deadly flick of her hoof. She also drank like a lad, swore like a sailor and had a chemist’s dispensary of mood-enhancers that she necked with reckless abandon. But Danni grew bored of all this. Just like she grew bored of sitting at a desk and writing dumb things that made people feel bad about themselves. So she quit her job in advertising and went to live in India. Now she’s all enlightened and is in the best shape of her life.

“Well look, the way I see it is that partying and fucking it up used to be the rebellion, you know? The alternative to just being like everyone else. But as you get older, being fucked up just becomes mandatory, and hence, boring. Most people are toxic and unhappy and yuck. The same way that most people like Twilight and most people think Cinnabon is delicious. Never trust the masses, I say. Life is too short to make the democratic decision. And in the same way that, yeah, it essentially sucks to spend all your cash, put things in your face and have the best times of your life until 7am the following day (but we do anyway cuz it’s way more interesting than not), being healthy is like that too. It’s essentially shit to get up early, to go home at a reasonable hour, because you have to get up early, to go through all the admin… But actually, it’s just way more interesting. And feeling kiff and good about yourself, and life, is far more interesting than not.”

Getting up early is the new coming home early. I like that. And if Danni Diana is preaching this sort of thing, and you’re still spending your time propping up bars around town, then I hate to break it to you but your nautical inspired tattoos aren’t the only thing that’s dated.

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Swifter, higher, stronger.

My glory days are no longer something I speak about in the past tense, they’re there in front of me, the ones I’m working towards. Years that I want to fill up with things like boxing matches and half-marathons, cycle tours and ten-day mountain hikes.

Because why should my body’s biggest challenge be beating a hangover?