Starting Over

I started running many years ago.

Let me re-phrase that: I started running on and off many years ago.

I would start, build up to a good pace, then something would happen: sickness, fatigue, pregnancies, young kids, busy work schedule, vacations and a multitude of many other excuses.

The past couple of years have been really on or off. I got really good last year. Then winter came and I got chicken of the cold. I started back up in spring but somehow this year things have not clicked. I get tired easily, I feel sore more easily, I wimp out more. I have been pretty frustrated with myself.

So, I have decided to start over.

Instead of trying to piecemeal it all together, or having to figure out what I am doing wrong and correcting it, I am just pretending I am a completely novice runner and starting over – again.

And it is so liberating.

I pulled out my running book and opened it to a running training program. Ok, I didn’t start over at week 1 as that I have mastered. I started at week 5 – it is easy enough for me to do, but challenging enough that it will make me feel like I am doing something productive.

Starting over is such a good thing. I wonder why I don’t do it more often – in more things in my life.

With my clients, it is a common approach I take. Many of them have challenges in reading after their TBI (traumatic brain injury). Almost all want to jump back in to read what they were reading before their accidents. I aways tell them to start with an easy read: junior books. Most hate the idea and resist it. We spend a little while staying frustrated, trying to figure out the bandaid solution and then usually never really reading. Some sadly, just never read again. Others, heed the advice to “start over” and usually do so much better and move their way up.

Starting over is also helpful with kids. Whenever one of my kids gets frustrated with a school assignment, the best thing to do is to go back from the beginning and start over – to then see where the breakdown occurred. Usually, it works and they are able to get it right the second (or third, or fourth….) time. But who cares? There is no limit to how often you can start over – that’s the beauty of it!

I’ve read parenting advice which suggests when you start going down that road of an argument with one of your kids – or you hear them say something rude – just suggest they start over – and often they will and it will diffuse the situation and give everybody a chance to do things right the second time around. The times I have tried this approch – it has always been successful.

Every day we are given the chance to start over. We can go to sleep and leave the day behind and get ready to start over the next day. Of course, we can’t leave all our worries and cares behind completely, but we can start over with our attitudes and behaviours. In my faith, starting over is an important principle; it comes in the form of repentance and forgiveness and is truly one of our greatest gifts – but we have to take advantage of it.

September is coming up and in our house it represents a great time to start over: school is starting! New teachers, new grades, new subjects. It is an opportunity for each child to redefine who they are going to be and the slate is blank for the story of “this grade” to be written. It actually is very exciting!

Starting over allows you to be free from the past and move forward with creating the future. Any future you want to create.

I am going to be a good runner this time. And if not, I will be the next time I start over.

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