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Keep moving

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Person on a bike

My sub-conscious has decided that our morning run is an ideal opportunity to present me with random shit to connect. This morning’s offerings were:

  • The memory of getting stuck in a one-way system when sat-nav kept telling me to take a turning that wasn’t there.

  • The quote, popularly attributed to Albert Einstein, that I saw on FB yesterday: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

The first thing I realised was that I had cold knees and the second was that I’d yet again forgotten to order a new pair of full length running trousers (oh bugger, still haven’t done it…). This is the sort of thing I’m up against when trying to solve my sub-conscious’ little puzzles – no wonder it takes me a while.

Anyway, I got there in the end.

The Stuck-In-A-One-Way-System incident had me fearing that it would only be terminated by me starving or running out of petrol (I like to think that I compensate for my lack of logic with dramatic flair. It's possible that I'm wrong...).

In actual fact, it ended when it finally dawned on me (a mere day or so in) that I could simply take any turning out of it. Sat nav would huff at me (it did) and spend quite some time insisting that I turn round when possible (it did), but eventually it would give in and start directing me to a new route (it did).

In that situation, I wasn’t able to find the “right answer” to my problem – I never worked out where it was that sat nav meant me to go. But doing nothing didn’t help. Simply repeating the same actions over and over again achieved feck all. Doing SOMETHING broke me out of the cycle, regardless of the fact that I had no idea what direction it was taking me in, and I eventually got to where I wanted to be.

I usually associate the quote with goal setting, action plans, etc (which was the context in which I saw it yesterday), and this makes me feel guilty rather than inspired – rationally, I accept goals as A Good And Useful Thing, but emotionally I view them in much the same way as an American redneck views the federal government (I’m hoping that the redneck metaphor will trigger a distancing of myself from that view!).

But this morning I saw it differently. Today it conjured up an image of a child who has just had the stabilisers taken off their bike and who is wobbling and lurching precariously, occasionally going in circles accidentally. But, against the odds (and possibly several laws of physics) they are staying upright and keeping going. And that’s because of, not in spite of, the wobbles and lurching and accidental circles: that’s how we’re learning to find our balance.

And the connection? When you’re overwhelmed and don’t know how to achieve or fix what you want to, doing something is better than doing nothing. Even if you can’t see how that something will help you get where you want to go, it will get you moving and that’s how you’ll find your balance.

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