E+E Column: Getting Stuck In

After sticking mostly to YouTube workouts and 3 mile runs and reading nothing more challenging than Harry Potter last year, the last week has seen me running a competitive 10k and starting a book for book club by the formidable Germaine Greer. A marked difference indeed! Whilst both body and mind are feeling a bit weary, paradoxically they are also feeling invigorated as I step outside of my comfort zone and get my teeth into something a bit more substantial.

It’s funny how sometimes, the thought of doing something is more intimidating than actually, well, just doing it. Turns out there is a whole lot of wisdom in the advice of diving in at the deep end. None of this paddling in the shallows for what seems like an age, fretting needlessly about the acclimatisation. And I say this as someone who could make a career out of worrying. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll all attest that laid back is not an attribute that I could lay claim to. I worry, I apologise incessantly, I over analyse. So partaking in the 10k on Sunday without weeks of preparation and starting a heavy going thought provoking text on a relative whim have in very different ways, been very freeing experiences for me!

The run was a physical challenge, one that I was glad to finish in reasonable time and has given me a bit of a taste for competitive running. We’ve already been searching for other local races that we can take part in and although the London Marathon might be a few(!) years off it’s nice to be feeling excited with friends about something healthy and separate from the children.

And the book? Well, it’s great to be using a muscle that hasn’t seen enough action in recent years – my brain! I loved the side of my degree that involved reading challenging political texts, picking apart arguments, deciding what I made of them. In the last half dozen years I’ve read a lot of Dr Seuss, a lot of A. A. Milne, a lot of Shirley Hughes and a lot of Julia Donaldson – talented authors in themselves but not quite on a level with Chomsky or Monbiot. And whilst I may not see eye to eye with Greer on everything she says, I’m very much enjoying reading her theories in The Female Eunuch and very much enjoying discussing them with a good friend.

So my advice this week? If you’re thinking about engaging in a new pastime or starting something new then stop. Think no more. And just do! You won’t regret it, I promise!

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