Did you used to skate? I was a big roller skater for a time and an occasional ice skater when we would visit the “big smoke” from our little country town. I loved the feeling of freedom. It felt just like flying, when skating down the road. Going backwards was one of the best parts, and I can still feel the feeling if I stop and imagine it.
The other day I was a bit bored with my usual jogging track and decided to mix it up a bit and go backwards, not literally RUN backwards, but go in the opposite direction. There is a certain point on my run where my mind says, “oh this is the bit where you start to run out of steam,” and sometimes, due to my type 1 diabetes, I do actually HAVE to stop. But other times it is just my heavy legs and mind which stop me in my tracks, and I walk the rest of the way. Now there is no issue with that. A year ago I had not run at all, for years. Now I can sustain a run for nearly an hour, mixed with a little bit of walking here and there. But it is the challenge of it, of wanting to be able to go a little further, a little longer. It is also the monotony of knowing I will reach a point where I have to stop and walk, like it is inevitable. So, I did something small. I went backwards. It was amazing how it changed things. That art of the run, where usually I am starting to run out of steam, was now early in the run, and so, my head said, this is easy, you have just started. By the time I got to what is usually the starting section, I was still running and then, I realised there was a big downhill run coming all the way home! As I ran down the hill, I suddenly felt like I was skating. I stuck my arms out wide and with a big grin on my face, skated all the way home. It was amazing, gleeful, full of joy, yet it was the exact same route I always go – just turned on its head.
That got me to thinking about how sometimes in life we get stuck in a rut. And it can be hard to keep going forwards. For me, this started to happen in my diabetes work. I had worked so hard for so long, as well as living with it, that I started to say in my head, I can not make the distance. I can’t take it anymore, I have run out of steam. Starting, and then keeping a charity going is no mean feat. And with the support of a small, passionate group of amazing people, I have done so for nearly 14 years. Yet there does reach a time where you can not run on that same track anymore.
Then, I didn’t exactly go backwards in my diabetes work, but I did take a different route. I started this blog. I started to write. I started studying Interior Design, I started my styling work. I began to create, allow my artistic side to blossom. This simple step, of taking a different track, changed my life completely. Now, most days I feel like I am flying, skating backwards, full of joy. The most incredible thing is that this spreads out into my diabetes work too, it gives that track light again, adds interest, balance, makes me feel the journey is more than just the same old same old. It makes me feel happy.
What we need sometimes is a different track, a change of scenery, a shake up, to allow ourselves an “other”, something different or new. It does not have to be big. It may be as small as starting at the end and seeing where it takes you.
Perhaps it is time to dust off the skates.