The Glass is Half Full...

The Glass is Half Full...

Cyclists outnumbering cars. Parent and child running together. Families of 4 walking along their street. The look of bewildered dogs as they are taken on yet another walk. People sitting on their front porch engage a passing stranger. Just some of the observations made on a bike ride, my hour-long activity of choice during these strange and uncertain times.

An 18km bike ride from Newton Abbot to Livermead in Torquay is at first glance a long way to go just to set eyes on the sea before returning to observe the lockdown rules with the rest of the family. 60 minutes ride for just 2 or 3 minutes looking at the sea and yet it is so very worth the effort. The fitness benefits are obvious, but the time has also provided much opportunity for reflection as I observe new habits along the way and draw comparisons to life as we knew it just a few weeks ago. As I’m riding, I’m acutely aware that I’m observing things that are not the norm.

Irrespective of a period of ‘lockdown’ I can see people riding, running alone and with small children in tow, taking walks solo, in pairs and as families. All adhering to the rules of social distancing but making the most of their opportunity to have some freedom and fresh air and evidently enjoying themselves at the same time. How something that we have always perceived to be the most basic of our human rights is now a restricted luxury and something to be treasured.

Despite my career as an outdoor instructor which keeps me active at work, I too find myself making the most of every opportunity for exercise and longing for future adventures with renewed conviction. Having always worked and lived next to the sea I’m aware that I’ve passed many an opportunity to go for a pre-work swim, paddle or cycle thinking that there was always something else that I should prioritise instead. What I would do for a dip in the sea right now!

People often say: ‘you don’t realise what you’ve got until it’s gone’. The reality in this situation is that never, in my lifetime at least, could I have considered that our actions and movements would be restricted just as much as they have; and on a global scale.

But, in the face of adversity comes opportunity and my ride provides much optimism amidst an otherwise bleak outlook as I bear witness to the positives as families find time for themselves and each other. On a personal level as a family we’ve been presented with an opportunity to spend more time together than we normally would and particularly out in the garden at this time of the year, face painting, den building, family bike rides, mud kitchens, dog walks, camp fires, growing vegetables to name just a few. All within the current restrictions to reduce the spread, of course.

Despite the challenges of continually needing to find ways of entertaining 1- and 3-year olds, who crave interaction with their peers, our time spent together has been thoroughly enjoyable. The current situation has, albeit as matter of necessity, required us to be creative in order to keep ourselves and loved ones entertained and let’s face it we’ve had plenty of time to do so as well.

I’m sure we can all attest to positive changes, big or small, that we have made in the short term or pledges we might be making for the future based on the events of recent weeks. The true test is once ‘normality’ returns if these have a lasting effect on the way in which we live our lives or will it be all too easy to slip back into old habits and result in nothing more meaningful than a whimsical new year’s resolution. We each hold the key. Time will tell.



You only get out of life what you are prepared to put in