Blog courtesy of Joanne Dowds MISCP.
During the long stretch into the new year, I went for lunch with 2 practically lifelong friends, the type where if doesn’t matter that we haven’t met in a few years, conversation gets picked where it was left off last time. Lets call them friend A and friend B. Friend A regaled us with events regarding her neighbour whom she described as ‘such a nice person’, clarifying ‘like you’ pointing to Friend B. There was then a long pause. The silence was deafening while I waited ….and….waited. No reassurance or polite late inclusion was forthcoming. Friend B was becoming uncomfortable (she is very nice) I asked ‘Are you saying I’m not nice?’ and friend A looked surprised and said ‘nice? You wouldn’t describe yourself as nice?’, this was comedy gold. It was one of those moments where you can see someone walk themselves deeper and deeper into a hole. Friend A then spent several minutes clarifying what ‘being nice’ meant to her and that friend B possessed these in abundance, I, however, possessed none of these specified characteristics. The whole incident ended in raucous laughter. Friend A clarified that I was amused rather than insulted but I wasn’t going to let her off the hook that easy, it will continue to be a point of merriment for me, possibly to my dying day. This probably proves her point, I am too prickly to even consider myself ‘nice’. I value friend A’s honesty and her opinion deeply, however her opinion of me is less of a concern than my opinion of myself.
Nice means pleasing or pleasant. What nice means to me, is the personality equivalent of beige patent high heels, goes with anything, non distinct, blends in well. I have a pair of royal blue 4 inch wedge heels, the heel is amber Perspex and there is a big bow on the front- analysis that. We all judge ourselves and other people everyday, consciously or unconsciously. I consider myself lots of different things but the evidence is varied-I have been a runner but not in a while. Am I a runner if I haven’t ran in 6 months? When do I fall out of that category? If a smoker successfully gave up (Yeah!! Health benefits all round) they are forever an ex-smoker, never a non-smoker. Am I an ex-runner? Two weeks off for a holiday, injury recovery, battered trainers get thrown out, new ones as yet unworn? If my intention is to run again in the future, does that keep me in the runner box? I contribute to a blog but wouldn’t consider myself a blogger. I like to write, I need space to reflect, I have kept a journal for years (as any of my sisters can testify- yes I know you all used to read them). Is that enough? With the New Year now in full flow, does it matter what happened in the previous year? Each day is a new page in this year’s story,
How each of us describes ourselves may be very different to what others may think of us. Others base their opinion on words and actions, evidence of behaviours. I base my opinion of myself on the intentions and motivations behind my words and actions. Others don’t have access to those thoughts – and they are probably relieved to be spared. Intentions are hard to prove, but actions are irrefutable. Actions may not always meet or best represent our intentions but they are the external evidence. If you decide that you are a runner, you should run, you need to run to get the physical and physiological benefits. Set a number of running sessions into your schedule and then so do it. The same principle applies for anything else. I recently read that deciding what is essential, eliminates choice or the need for motivation. Making exercise a potential way to spend your free time means it drops off when other things become more important. We all think exercise is possible to include with our day. Change the words around, make exercise essential. The #100daysofwalking or the globally recommended 30 minutes 5 days a week, whatever rule floats your boat. Just make it a non-negotiable part of your day (like coffee, facebook time) an active commute, walking outside for lunch options. Build it in, make it consistent and then it will be sustainable.
Currently I am neither a runner or nice, but I have good intentions!!