I am sat on my paddleboard in the middle of Loch Venachar. I thought an afternoon on the board with the kayak seat attached would be nice. But my muscles are burning. My hands are starting to blister. I imagine a nice warm hot chocolate and my cosy jumper awaiting me, in the van, on the shore. I stop and look around; there are some ducks squabbling, geometric patterns form on the water from the rain that is falling, and the clouds over the hills look like something you would see in a moody, atmospheric painting.
It would be so easy to give in, to be miserable, to feel sorry for myself. The condition I have that impacts upon the connective tissues is making itself known today. My muscles and joints do not normally ache like this. I had forgotten my gloves which stop my delicate skin from blistering. Each and every stroke of the paddle was tough going.
But I was there, and I needed to get myself out of that loch. So, I shake off the mood and plunge the paddle in again. I know each stroke would be taking me closer to my goal, to comfort and warmth. Each stroke would be a little more progress towards that end goal.
This is a story I will be sharing with the children, families and teachers I work with over the coming weeks and months. It only happened on Saturday. But there is a big lesson within it.
You see, sometimes life, learning, business, it can all feel tough going. Sometimes making that tiny bit of progress is hard, and it hurts. There are moments when we all would love nothing more than to throw the towel in, when life feels too much.
But, every single one of us is capable of making a little improvement that takes us closer to our goals. Each of us can push on through.
That day, I sat in the loch I reflected on the last year. A year of Covid. A year of struggles. A time when I didn’t know what my next move was or how to keep moving forward. But I did. I kept moving, and I kept trying. I grew. My business grew.
So, thinking about the title of this blog. What does the outdoors give me?
Well, it gives me the determination to push through.
It gives me the experience to know I have more strength than I imagined, and I can call on this when needed.
It gives me beautiful moments to reflect.
I would love to hear what time outdoors gives you.