Happiness, learning, Positive Psychology

What my 7-year old taught me today….

Last year I started my “fit for 40” campaign but it came to rather an abrupt end with the discovery of a lump which turned out to be breast cancer.  Roll forward a year and post treatment, I decided it’s time for a new campaign “fit for life”!  

So, having procrastinated about which app to get, whether I had the right trainers, would I need a hairband, was it too cold, wet or now, too hot to go running I finally embarked on my first run.  Surprisingly it was ok.  I managed to run when the app told me and walk when it told me and I didn’t pass out and it actually felt good!  Feeling pretty pleased with myself, on my triumphant return home, my 7-year old son asked if he could come with me next time.  “Of course” I said…

What you need to know about Ollie is that he loves his sport and recently trained every day after school for the forthcoming football tournament.  Currently he wants to be a ninja, spy and viking alongside playing football for Barcelona and Ashcott when he grows up – what had I let myself in for?

We planned the route – the least hilly, shortest circuit I could find… He packed a backpack with essential supplies – water and plasters and off we went.  

We started off jogging to warm up and I found myself thinking this is ok, he hasn’t done too much running before so I can teach him about his breathing and how to tackle hills and maybe chuck in a few disguised maths questions to help with his school work….

Then the app told us to run, I slightly speed up my jogging thinking of the distance yet to go, when a blur of blond hair, back pack and pumping legs blitzes past me like a mini Marine grinning a gappy smile “I’m not even going my fastest yet!”  Great….I speed up to keep up with him and not lose face.

This is not how I normally approach running.  But do you know what?  I managed to keep up with him – just.  Though I can’t tell you how glad I was when the app told us to slow down and walk. 

However, in that moment I had a revelation!  What I realised was that by not holding back and, instead, giving it my all, it hadn’t killed me and I even actually, might have, just a little bit, really enjoyed it – I know, shocker!  

That got me thinking, what was I holding back for?  Was it fear of not being able to make it round, afraid of passing out, scared of making a fool of myself, keeping something in reserve for something which may or may not happen?  Or perhaps a bit of all of them.  

If I hadn’t let go and really given it my all,  I wouldn’t have experienced the exhilaration of trying something new, or at least a different approach.  Nor would I have felt the buzz, excitement and pride in myself of knowing that I could absolutely do it and achieve something I previously thought impossible.  

It made me wonder, how many other areas of my life could I translate this revelation into?   When else do I hold back and what am I therefore missing out from experiencing or stopping myself from enjoying or achieving?  And how can I change that, now I am aware of it?

So, when the app told us to run again, I did, properly, stretching my legs out and giving Ollie a run for his money.  

We’re going out for the next run in a few days and I plan to do the same again.  Although, I might have a little practice on my own, before then, when he’s at school, just to make sure I can catch him.  And there I was, thinking I might teach him something…..


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