Wrapped in cotton wool

When we are kids, we know no fear. We climb trees, jump over things on our bikes
and just generally do things that are insanely hazardous.
My son is only two, and I can only imagine the heart failures he will cause me as he gets older and more rebellious.
The older we get, the more we move away from this fearlessness.

Obviously, this is in some ways necessary.
Risk taking is fun, but as we age and as our responsibilities grow,
we cant afford to take as many risks.
People depend on us.
We’ve got families and jobs.
However, so often people go to the opposite extreme.

They wrap themselves in cotton wool.
They get set in their routines.
Scared of change.
Afraid to do anything new.
So often, their lives become sheltered and closed.
Their perpectives shift, their minds narrow
And they become accustomed to the soft warm comfort of the easy and the familiar.

I find it frustrating when I subconsciously do this myself.
I see it in others.
And I will be quick to criticise.
But of course, I do it too.

Our society encourages this wrapping in cotton wool.
Health and safety laws and regulations discourage risk.
I spoke to a guy who was into fell running and I asked him what the appeal was.
At this point I had just discovered a love for running.
But this crazy mountain running stuff sounded a bit nuts to me.
His reason was that for many it was a stike back against the “nanny state” we live in.
His words, not mine.
Nanny state.
I like that.

I haven’t started running up mountains
But I think this aversion to the nanny state and to wrapping oneself in cotton wool
Is one of the many reasons I have embraced training.
I actually have taken pleasure in donning a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and going running in snow.
Last night I went out and did speed work on a really windy night, with heavy rain.
It felt GOOD.

I love the fact that when I travel on business,
I no longer just see airport -> hotel -> meeting room -> hotel -> airport
I get to go out and see something of the places I visit.
This year so far,
I’ve run across the golden gate bridge.
I’ve run through a forest in Stockholm
I’ve run through Boston city centre and down by the harbour
I’ve cycled along the California coastline from San Fran to Corte Madera via Sausalito.
I’ve run in the worst snow in a decade in London.
And the beautiful heat of San Diego by Mission Beach.
Ive soaked up the natural beauty of greenlake park in Seattle
And the grim surroundings of a massive industrial estate in south-east England.
I’ve got mildly lost running through the streets of Frankfurt, Germany,
And All of this interspersed with my normal training in the less than scenic Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.
Where despite the unexciting surroundings Ive been happiest by far,
because all those runs and bike rides end up with me going back home to my family.

Ive done all of this with a busy schedule by simply getting up a bit earlier, or going to bed a bit later and by just having the balls to get up and get out.

By not succumbing to the temptation
of the sofa
of the glass of wine
of the TV.
And by recognising the wrapping myself in cotton wool does nothing good.

The sofa, TV and wine are all much better AFTER a training session.

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