WHILE we probably don’t want to think about dramatically altering our lives in 2019 during this cosy festive limbo between Christmas and New Year, it’s hard to avoid.

How can we improve and change our lives next year?

All that was swirling around mentally when I attended a pre-Christmas networking event. It’s very civilised: a pleasant time before lunch getting to know other business people, then a meal during which each of us around the table talks for two minutes about our business and the work we’re looking for.

We were also asked to finish by telling everyone what we’d like to find under the Christmas tree.

Earlier that morning, I had received an email and short video from my grand-daughter in New Zealand. She’s 15, very sporty and has been trying wake-boarding.

This was new to me but is basically being pulled along on a surfboard behind a speedboat. The video showed she was pretty good at it, zipping through the water very competently. I mention this because it has a bearing on what happened at my meeting.

So, after talking about what I do as a freelance journalist and PR consultant, I said that what I’d like under the tree on Christmas morning was a wake-board. I’ve no real idea why I said it – it just popped into my brain and seemed like a good idea.

Furthermore, we had all been discussing the 25th anniversary of the Children Today charity next year. The fundraising manager for this lovely charity buying specialised equipment for children with disabilities had been talking about 25 challenges to celebrate this milestone.

So, the next thing I found myself saying was that I would challenge myself to learn to wake-board during 2019 to raise funds for the charity.

I’m not sure who was the most surprised, the people around the table or me.

While this would not be too onerous a task for many able-bodied individuals, please bear in mind that I’m an, ahem, older lady with dodgy knees and more metal in my joints than the average wheelbarrow.

Getting into my jeans successfully is a major triumph, never mind hurtling behind a speedboat on a small piece of polyurethane.

However, the idea was actually very well-received by all there. “Yes, I’m up for that, too” came from another, much younger, businesswoman.

And another colleague, spurred on by the scale of personal challenges, offered to combat his fear of heights by going up in a hot-air balloon.

Actually, that seemed far worse to me so, by the end of the event, I was mentally planning how to achieve my challenge. A few trips to Lake Windermere (with wet-suit, of course) was the blasé plan. Or, if I manage to get to see my grand-daughter next year, I could get her to show me. Or, just fake a photo – not really, but I did flirt with the idea.

Ah well, at least I’ve got time to plan this. Pass me a mince pie, will you?