Finally, I got home before the sun went down and was able to go out jogging in day light. Wrapped up, my dad’s old England rugby shirt covering my thighs (and love handles!), odd gloves and a hat that’s far to big for me, I took the extra light and hint of sunshine as an opportunity to run find a new route to run. In the dark winter days, I’m stuck with the same old street lit plans, no real enthusiasm to go off-piste. But tonight, tonight there was light to guide me, the motivation of feeling healthy, and losing some emotional weight to shake off.
Tonight I lolloped about wherever the urge took me. I meandered. I criss crossed. I put all my energy into just being outside and discovering new corners of Heidelberg. (It has, unbeknown to me until tonight, a tennis club nearby, a secret garden lounge and seemingly hundreds of allotments.)
And how nice it was to be out and running and somewhere new, all without leaving my post code.
Running is so important to me: It helps with my backache (when worry isn’t on my mind, it plonks itself in my spine and practices its sailing knots); it picks me up and energises me; it inspires me.
Running along today, thinking about finding new routes, I got to thinking about the routes and paths we take through our lives, our days, our relationships, our problems, worries, anxieties. All to often we (or maybe it’s just me?) take the head on collision approach – every knee-jerk reaction or seemingly automated response sends us headlong into worry and sadness. Quick, did this wrong, must fix it now.
Or we take the route to the bottom of the well and try and climb back up, still focussing on how bad it is and wondering how to cope. Distracted by this, we loose our footing and slide down again.
But are there other routes? Other choices to make, other ways to navigate the bumps? I’d really like to try, wouldn’t you? I’d like to try and put things in perspective more: you stepped on someone’s toe (metaphorical or otherwise), you didn’t break their foot. You forgot to put the recycling out, you didn’t dump nuclear waste into the ocean. You missed the bus, not the opportunity of a life time.
Navigating the world without a compass or map can be tricky.Learning to cope with getting lost is part of the lesson. Experimenting with different routes and finding your way through is the fun of the journey.