I learn from my children all the time. Every day.
They teach me about patience, about honesty, about gratitude, and many other feelings and emotions.
The lessons learned range from simple (White lies and fibs are still lies.) to grandiose (Why do we need war? Can’t they just say sorry?).
This past weekend we spent a lot of time at a few different beaches. Each time we arrived at the beach my son would kick off his sandals as fast and haphazardly as possible and bound toward the water literally hootin’ and hollerin’ jumping for joy. Pure ecstatic joy.
I should explain that at this time of year (as like most times of the year) here in and around Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the Atlantic ocean is a tad on the cold side. Ok, it is down right frigid! Today, the ocean temperature was probably about 14 Celsius. That is cold!
But my son throws caution to the wind, ignores the temperature, and just has the best time possible jumping waves and playing in the sand and surf. He faces the cold and shoves it to the back of his mind because he is at the beach and dammit he’s going to enjoy it!
My daughter is the 180 opposite of that. She tiptoes on the sand as she doesn’t like it if it gets in her sandals. She retreats to the blanket we lay out and spends the first little while acclimatizing to the wind and sun and her general surroundings. Then, only we she decides it is time, does she head to the water’s edge and tentatively test it out. First, she assesses the temperature of the wet sand, and if that’s acceptable she’ll get wet to her ankles, scream, then run all the way back to the safety of the towels and blanket. This will happen several times over and over until she either goes in and plays briefly in the water or decides the water is best left for polar bear dippers and stays out entirely.
When I run, I try to think of how my son tackles the ocean’s chilly waves: forward, aggressive, confident. I want each run to look like that.
The reality is that during my training schedule I often feel more like my daughter at the beach: unsure, reticent, wary. I wonder if it’s safe to run or too wet to run or too hot, cold, humid, foggy, etc to run. I worry if I have enough endurance to push the extra 20 minutes more today. I question the routine and am wary if putting 2 longer runs together on successive days is a good idea.
And what my kids teach me at the beach is that both are right. I can be both wary and aggressive, reticent and forward, unsure and confident. In fact, that is more the reality of day to day experiences, isn’t it? We have these mixed emotions all the time.
Whichever way I feel about my run, I do try to have the same joy that both my kids express at the beach. The joy that comes with just being in a moment and happy to be experiencing it.