Life is just one of those things we don’t notice sometimes, right? We’re moving along, full speed, and it often passes us by. But the little moments, not the accomplishments or milestones we reach, are often where the best of life resides. These moments are small, so you have to look hard. But when you catch them, it’s simply awesome.
Last month Letizia from Reading Interrupted stopped us in our busy tracks when she beautifully spoke of something we all genuinely love…books. In my new series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, incredible humans from all over the world discuss what makes them tick.
Today I’m stoked to welcome Roy from Back on the Rock, a long-time blogger/author buddy of mine all the way in Jersey (the Channel Islands, not the Jersey Shore). Roy is just a good dude with heart, and his writing never fails to be insightful. The way he often shares the magnificence of his home through history, community, and physicality always makes me stop to appreciate the little place I’m lucky to live in. To encourage us to pause and reflect on our surroundings is a very lovely thing. And in my eyes, that makes Roy a bona fide life enthusiast.
Connect with Roy at Back on the Rock on Twitter.
Take it away, Roy…
How can I do Britt’s excellent blog justice? I don’t want to lose her all of her followers! I didn’t realise what a responsibility it can be to guest on someone else’s page. Britt herself has a great joie de vivre and she expresses this not only through her accomplished writing but by living life through her love of physical movement – dance, yoga etc.
Rather later in life I found that the simplest physical activity of all, running, revitalised me as I was about to drift into a lazy, inactive middle age. Sure, I had played team sports all my life – lots of endeavour and limited success. But the time came where I gave up active participation in favour of administration and coaching. And starting to coach young athletes I found myself sadly lacking in physical fitness. I wanted to set an example.
I began to run for fitness. I struggled for weeks to make any progress. It hurt, I hated it, I was about to give up. One evening I drove to the seafront and determined on making one last effort to run 30 minutes non-stop. I’d managed only 20 minutes up until then. I told myself that the only way I’d do this was to slow down, to go ridiculously slow. And so I did. 76 minutes later I was euphoric, still going, prepared to run for ever that evening. I had to force myself to stop and go home.
Ten years later I’m still running. In the intervening years I’ve completed two marathons and any number of half-marathons, 10ks and other races. I’ve loved the training, the hardship of putting in the miles, seeing my physical fitness improve, times come down.
But more than this, running has done wonders for my well-being in other ways. Britt and many of her followers will be familiar with the benefits of meditation. Out there, pounding out the miles, one’s mind runs free. On the lanes, trails, cliff-paths you get into a rhythm, the rhythm of life. You observe the work of Nature and how she changes week by week. You notice little things, interesting old buildings perhaps, remnants of long-gone railway tracks.
As you run a long road your mind clears, everything falls into place. At least twice during long runs the solutions to seemingly intractable problems have come to me unbidden. I am a better-balanced person than I ever would have been without running.
But now, inevitably, my fitness and times have fallen off a cliff. Age and a fondness for craft beers have caught up. No more marathons for me. But now I am finding equal, perhaps greater pleasure in introducing other adults to running. Maybe first-timers, others returning to fitness after raising a family, those that have tried running before and have fallen by the wayside.
Because I now know some, at least, of the answers. The ‘f’(ast) and ‘s’(peed) words are banned until completion of the beginners’ course. We have a chat and a bit of a laugh. Running ought not to be hard work in the beginning.
And maybe one day some, at least, will go on to experience the very good things that happen to you when you’re a runner.