The Great Escape

It hasn’t escaped my notice that in recent weeks other than going for a run or an occasional Sunday afternoon stroll about town or somewhere, I haven’t properly ventured outdoors. I’m talking hills, mountains, trails and the like. Being consumed by all things life and work can cause this absence.

After watching my colleague effectively have a breakdown in recent weeks (I haven’t watched him like he’s an ant under a magnifying glass in the sun, slowly dying. I have held out a hand of support), I have been taking on more at work, questioning myself a lot outside of work and it’s led to this general feeling of being somewhat lost, like I was losing my identity. By mid-week I decided something was definitely going to happen: I was packing my bag and going walking on Saturday afternoon, and pretty much nothing was going to stop me.

Maybe some of you can relate if you have a partner, but I tend to feel selfish if I want to do something, even if it’s beneficial for my health or wellbeing. As I’ve written before, I am in a very supportive relationship nowadays where we both can (and do) talk openly about how we feel. So after a chat, I was told I was being daft for feeling selfish and she understood the importance of this event. Of course, I never planned to go alone, so my partner and I and kids in tow went off into the hills together.

The day was perfect: I got my outdoor time in, we all got quality time together, away from the confines of the house and screens, it wasn’t too strenuous for the younger legs, and it actually felt like an enjoyable, mutual adventure. I’d already planned ahead and decided where we could go, and things to show the kids to engage them a little.

It’s an interesting revelation that I can crave the outdoors like you would chocolate, and to feel that it is a way of resetting myself. Getting out there is stimulating and inspiring. If I ever feel despondent (which sometimes happens, more often than not without good reason), I have found being outdoors fills me with motivation to the point where I become almost carefree and annoyingly animated. Having younger minds around me and sharing my knowledge, daftness, and enthusiasm with is a major factor in this upward turn.

As if I ever needed proof that being outside was good for me, this has confirmed it.