I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. I make the usual stab at the traditional stocking fillers of losing weight, saving money and drinking more water and with them come their inevitable companions of failure, disappointment and resentment.
This year, following on from my fallow 2012 (see previous post), I’ve decided to bother. It’s inspiration comes from my eldest son, with a helping hand from the films of Kevin Spacey. Not Se7en obviously, that would be weird.
My first born is 6 and several weeks ago I took him to the local pool to do his swimming badge. He’d concocted with a friend that they would go together and swim their 200 metres. He was confident that he could do it, despite only having his 5m. His friend, to be fair, had already swum his 100m and therefore had maybe more realistic expectations.
He swam 50m. His friend swam 400.
He got out of the pool and his face crumpled into sobs. They were sobs that didn’t stop all the while he was getting dry, dressed and into the car. I was at a loss. I tried telling him that he had swum 10 times further than he had ever done before. I tried telling him that he should be incredibly proud and to not compare himself with others. He spluttered that he hated swimming and was never going again. Here was my child, feeling terrible and I couldn’t help him. I went through my own feelings of pity, pain, and helplessness.
By the time the seatbelts were on, these feelings were replaced by a growing anger and frustration. I turned round and unleashed what, even if I do say so myself, was a kick up the arse lecture rivaling Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, possibly with a touch of the bald chap from Top Gun.
I told him that if he couldn’t be proud of his own achievements then no-one could make him. I told him that if he wanted better he needed to pick himself up and have another go. I was in full flow, and then I stopped. I realised that I wasn’t really talking to him and I saw the look on his face that I recognised as mine. Just like the denouement of The Usual Suspects, after Spacey has left the station, I saw a fast cut edit of all the decisions I’d made; all the things I’d wanted to do but hadn’t, because I worried I’d never be brilliant; all of the things I’d ditched because I was only ‘alright’ or even ‘a bit rubbish’.
My Dad had always drilled into me that ‘If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’.
Well that’s not true and it’s used time and again as an excuse to not bother, or beat yourself up that it’s not good enough. I don’t want that for my children. I want them to fail spectacularly and do it anyway.
So I’ve decided that if a job’s worth doing it’s worth making a half-arsed attempt at rather than not bothering.
That’s not a resolution I hear you cry! You need SMART objectives, what’s the goal.
So I have signed up for this. http://www.thewolfrun.com
I have three months. It’s 10k, with some assault courses and a touch of open water swimming.
Now I admit, I did take up running last year, which has been something of a revelation. However, I am not an outdoorsy type. I’m very much the indoor girl. I don’t really do mud, or rain, or any real physical effort let alone pain. It is so far out of my comfort zone it makes me a little hysterical. What’s worse (and secretly, even more alien to me) is that I’m in a pack! We start together and end together. I’m not a team player. I know it’s probably on my CV somewhere but I can’t cross my heart and tell you otherwise. The thought of group exercise frightens me considerably more than the seven foot wall.
However, signed up I am. Not only does it tick the ‘more exercise’ box, I will be proving to my children that it’s OK to do things that aren’t ‘your thing’ and it’s OK to be proud of yourself for doing things others would find easier, or do better.
Mainly though, a secret dream may finally be realised. Although never an athletic person, I always had my sneaky role model for physical fitness. For me, you can keep your Jessica Ennis and your Victoria Pendletons. Mine has always been Jodie Foster in the opening scenes of Silence of the Lambs, sweating her socks off through the woods in an FBI T shirt.
Admittedly, it might be all a bit ‘desperately random’, but a girl’s got to have a goal.