Let’s think about this, how many of the great achievements in the World have been produced by someone who was considered to be just a normal sort of person? Not many I would think.
So now when you are returning home from an early morning run, at 5.30 – 6.00 am and you meet your sleepy eyed neighbour, who has just got out of bed really early to get his bin out for collection and when in reply to his curiosity you point to the local hill and explain that you’ve just run to the top and back, do not be surprised if he comes out with that old classic “you’re not normal”. Should this happen do not be offended just smile, and as you walk away, punch the sky with your fist and say to yourself, yes, Yes, YES!! Then you can start your day with a heart full of joy knowing that you are not only fitter and healthier than a large percentage of the general population but you also have the jump on them because today you don’t have to be NORMAL you can be an enthusiastic, happy version of yourself, however abnormal people may think that is.
Now let’s face it I may be a bit of a smart ass here because society needs lots of people who are happy to be normal and ordinary, who can go through the school system get a basic education, find a job and produce something of value to the general population, they probably enjoy the company of their fellow workers and go home in the evening to their family satisfied that they are being a good provider. The main focus being to earn sufficient to pay the bills, the mortgage, cover the credit card instalment and have a little left over to buy one of those things that the advertisers insist everybody should have. This is their life and most are happy with it because as long as things are going fine life becomes comfortable and predictable without too many challenges. I know quite a few lovely people like this but I can’t be with them for long before I realise that that we don’t have a lot in common so the conversation tends to run out.
The people I do gravitate toward and connect with are those that I have a loose tittle for that seems to fit most of them, I think of them as the “Adventurers” ok so they don’t come swaggering down the street looking like Jack Sparrow. But I always sense something about them from the lady whose eyes light up when you mention park run to those folk that start to twitch when you mention run, trail, and mountain all in the same sentence, they have an obvious enthusiasm for life and a need to be out there doing something whatever that may be. It seems that we all go through some sort of transition, from being ordinary and normal to being different, as we question our lifestyle and search for more purpose and challenge in our lives, and then there comes a point where we too evolve into an Adventurer. If you think very carefully I’m sure you can pinpoint the steps you took as part of your own transformation.
At first the changes can be quite small and in my situation began with a feeling that I was missing something. I had spent a number of years focused on a career, setting goals and moving forward to the point where my day consisted of driving around in a car, sitting behind a desk, handling general management issues without much challenge, then driving home to my family, having a meal, putting children to bed then sitting on the couch with my wife, sipping on a G and T and watching some TV before going to bed to do it all again the next day. At this point I was feeling unmotivated and unfit, then one night my wife’s brother who had been doing a bit of jogging called in for a drink of water, having run from his house to ours, about 4km in distance, I offered to get the car out and drive him but he insisted on running all the way back home again.
This is how the seeds get sown, because after a few days of thinking about it I decided that doing a little jogging would get me a little fitter and get me off the couch and away from the TV, so clad in an old pair of shorts, a tee shirt and some old sneakers I announced to the family that I was going for a run, and proceeded to jog, walk, jog to the far end of the street and back. My triumphant return was somewhat deflated when I was greeted by comments like, you didn’t go far you only just left, and hardly worth getting dressed up for. Despite the fun being pocked at me I persisted and a few weeks later, running past a house I could see a whole family sitting around all staring at the TV, and I felt quite a mental boost knowing that I had made the right decision and the improvement in my fitness and wellbeing would see running become a regular part of my lifestyle.
Now when you finally accept yourself as a runner, you are running some fun runs and you start to meet others out there, you start to realise that there is this vast community of fun, enthusiastic, sometimes eccentric, but always interesting people that like to call themselves runners, and there is no class distinction because no one cares about what you have or who you are, they just want to talk running and the next adventure. With an environment like this it’s only natural that you start to have a few adventures of your own, moving from longer distance runs to Marathons, to 50milers, to 100km, to 24hour and some much further, throwing in a few back country trails as well to keep it interesting, always enjoying the challenge and the adventure.
Out of all this you start to develop the confidence and mental strength of a true adventurer that you carry over to other parts of your life where you often look at challenges in a new way and undertake projects you would never have considered before.Here’s to the true ADVENTURER who is never quite NORMAL or ORDINARY!!