West Sussex County Times
Chronicling smallest wins in life on Twitter
It is commonplace for anybody who accomplishes anything these days to tell everybody all about it through the power of social media. First steps, first jab, second jab, weight loss, an especially long walk, a new recipe, a fresh start and a month without touching a drop are all chronicled on the Facebook feeds and Twitter accounts of millions. Every. Single. Day.
It couldn’t get any more boring, could it? Step forward Gareth Wild, a man who has taken banality to new heights.
When the 39-year-old took to Twitter last week to update his followers on his latest ‘achievement’, little did he know that he would become an overnight sensation. This dad hasn’t run 100 marathons in 100 days or sailed along the Severn on a raft made of washing up bowls but has managed to park in all 211 spaces in a supermarket car park.
On the face of it, negotiating a motor car in and out of spaces specifically designed for that very purpose is hardly comparable to scaling Everest in a pair of Speedos. However, Gareth’s efforts are a textbook example of the man in the street’s commitment to attaining the smallest of wins in life. It took this particular man six years to reach his goal and that alone should be applauded.
When was the last time you stuck at anything for six months, never mind six years? Six years focusing on a single goal requires dedication usually only associated with Olympic athletes or Trappist monks. That a bloke in a Skoda from middle England can stick to completing a task, regardless of how trivial it might seem, for more than half a decade makes it an accomplishment to be admired by us all, even though it probably isn’t quite worthy of an MBE. A Blue Peter badge maybe. My first thought on hearing this news was ‘how did he remember where he had parked?’ – as I only ever achieve this if I am lucky enough to park my motor within 10 yards of the automatic doors of the supermarket. I’ve lived in my house for more than six years now and there are still boxes in the shed that remain unopened, not to mention the half dozen or so pictures and paintings currently gathering dust down the side of a chest of drawers.
Yes, he was doing other things, such as earning money and raising a family during that time, but I am full of admiration for the way that nothing got in the way of him ticking off numbered spaces on his ever so slightly silly list. He even helpfully devised a map of the said car park, listing the best, not to mention worst places to park when stocking up on ciabatta and cat litter. A public servant as well as a local hero.
This light-hearted tale is a reminder to us all that life isn’t to be taken that seriously all of the time and that we are allowed to enjoy ourselves, especially now during a time when the word fun has disappeared from the vocabularies of many.
When the first lockdown knocked us all for six more than a year ago some of us set ourselves a goal of completing Netflix by Christmas while others vowed to bake every recipe in Mary Berry’s latest cookbook and post each result on Instagram.
Some people collect beer mats, while others will proudly tell you that they are members of the 92 Club – having visited every stadium in the top four divisions of English football. We cannot all play a concert piano or develop a life-changing app for smartphones but we should all set ourselves targets, no matter how small.
Of course, the bar for minor achievements has been set remarkably high and it is inevitable that there will be a crusade to trump Gareth’s gloriously dull feat. I suspect we’ll be waiting a long time.