SINCE Christmas week, I have experienced four deaths of people either related to me or close to someone I care about. They were all men and they were all taken too soon.

It sometimes feels like death has no sense of fair play. No sense of obeying the rules and a blatant disregard for the handbook. So often in response, we rage that it doesn’t seem right, there seems no point, no sense to it and feelings of bitterness can chew away at the hurt and make your insides feel gnarly, twisted and downright rotten.

Often when a death occurs, heads are nodded sagely and people talk of how it, puts things in perspective; there’s a need to make the most of life; a realisation that our time here is short. I often wonder what this actually means.

We can cherish more closely those we care about; pledge to treat people with increased care, respect and dignity; spend less time on the mundane and more on the fabulous. But on this last point, I ask again, what does this mean, in reality?

I am writing a novel, there are some places I am determined to see, there are some experiences on my ‘to do’ list - the Edinburgh festival, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast at The Dorchester, to be lead in a Waltz in the Tower ballroom, sleep on a Malaysian beach and watch the sun rise, to name but four. Is doing all of this what it means?

My friends Lynne and Christian have both climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Christian is now training to climb Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, no less. I look at achievements like that and think, that surely is what it means. The respect and admiration I accord to both is enormous. To train, to work, to persevere, to challenge and ultimately to stand on top of a mountain, has to carpe the diem out of your days here.

But what of those of us for whom the top of Pen y Fan is a stretch? What is our proverbial, if not literal mountain and if we only ever wander up as high as the cliff tops of Penarth or Porthkerry Park, is this a life not fully used?

I took my children to see Pixars new film ‘Coco’ recently. Yes, the reviews are right, it is a weepy and yes the animation is stunning and yes ‘the song’ is utterly heart-warming and heartbreaking. But, sitting there with my children, watching a beautiful film about love in all its forms and then calling at ‘Joe’s Chippy’ in Dinas on the way home and chattering and eating together, felt pretty damn enjoyable and really special too.

I think the nub is this; we each have our own way and in our path will be various mountains and molehills, actual and metaphorical. Some we can train for and others we can’t and we just have to do our best, whatever our own personal best may be.