Ever since I can remember, I have approached each new year like Indiana Jones the Temple of Doom. For me, a new year is a paradoxical praline, a seductive chocolatey shell of adventure and challenge filled with a soft centre of unease flavoured with dread. And the only way to deal with dodgy chocolate? Run it off of course.
What I think about when I am running
As I set out from my doorstep, one foot pounding in front of the other, I thought about the gratitude I feel for my family. Of the freedom to do what will hopefully enable me to do my life’s work for long enough to make a difference.
And that’s when I remember one of the most useful lessons I learned in 2018: to welcome my Fear whenever, wherever and however it shows up. Then give it a hug.
And then I remember a curious riddle and answer I once saw while splashing about in a hotel swimming pool far away from home, spelt out in mini turquoise and white tiles: “What is the shortest distance between two people? A smile.”
Three Magical Words
And before you know it, instead of my usual greeting of “Good Morning!”, I find myself uttering a heart-felt wish out loud to each and every passerby: “Happy New Year!” First to a young couple out jogging together. Then to an elderly lady walking her cockapoo. And then to a family of father, mother and their grownup son. And then to an elderly man who seemed deep in thought.
In reply to my gift of a wish of “Happy New Year!”, that elderly gentleman said with deep sincerity, “I hope you make lots of money!” To which I reply with a challenge and a smile, “May be happiness!”
And that’s all it took, a simple wish of “Happy New Year!” from one human being to another to light up our faces and keep our hearts warm.
That’s when I remember what is probably the most beautiful song in the world: “What a Wonderful World” performed by Louis Armstrong. And my running adventure this morning was just like he sang, “I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do / They’re really saying I love you.”
And I’m reminded, “I hear babies crying, I watch them grow / They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know.”
What a wonderful world indeed. Happy New Year!