Actual footage of me running-
About three years ago I was walking to work, and passed an elderly man moving along so slowly that at first I could hardly tell he was moving at all. Each step he took clearly used every bit of concentration and strength that he had, his feet barely left the ground, it was more of a dragging, shuffling motion, it was painful to watch.
That night, after quaffing at least one bottle of cheap red wine, I went on amazon and spent money I didn’t have on Nike trainers, a sports bra and terrifyingly tight looking pair of running trousers. My reasoning was simple- one day I’d be as infirm as that old man, one day I’d look back in frustration at the fact that when I was in my twenties, and could physically do anything I liked, I chose to spend my time sat in my pyjamas in my flat, avoiding human contact and eating blocks of cheese. I’ve been running regularly ever since.
What the hell does this have to do with writing? Bear with me, I’m getting there.
It’s exactly the same mindset that’s brought to the MLitt. I’ve been sliding my way slowly to thirty, living for 5pm, Friday, holidays, anything that gave me a break from my actual working life. I could see my future, it involved me sat with a headset on, complaining endlessly, brain switched off, dreaming of retirement or death, whichever came first.
I don’t want to look back and think ah, I wish I’d gone for that MLitt. I wonder what could have been? Much like the running, I don’t particularly care if I’m any good at it, I’m not going to be the next Usain Bolt, but every staggering, wheezy, sweaty step is better than not doing it at all. Every misspelled word, every sentence that makes no sense, every scrunched up bit of paper is better than nothing. As long as I run, I’m a runner, as long as I write, I’m a writer.
So if, by some miracle, I make it to my eighties, nineties, or god forbid live to over a hundred I hope I’ll reflect on this time with a sense of pride- look at that twenty-six year old oaf, look at her taking risks and doing stuff. Rather than looking back and feeling nothing but regret.
I’ll stop waffling now, already been for a run today so time to get in my jammies and munch a block of cheese.