I have long considered writing a blog but I have always had mixed feelings about blogging and social media generally. Although I love following other people’s blogs and posts about things that interest me, I worry that if I blog or post about what I do, it will come across as bragging or just downright boring. Perhaps my concern comes from how we edit our lives for social media as most people tend to show the best things that are happening to them or one particular aspect of their lives. My assessment is not intended as a criticism of people who post on social media because I do not think it is possible to publish a ‘rounded’ view of your life.
When I was considering this topic recently, I was reminded of a statement by the eponymous hero in Virginia Woolf’s novel, Jacob’s Room, when he says: “And the Greeks, like sensible men, never bothered to finish the backs of their statues.” I remember a lecturer at university commenting on this line and explaining it as possibly having the meaning that the world only sees the façade and it is rare or sometimes impossible for anyone to look behind to see the chisel marks. Similarly, on social media we can hide the messy and the half finished elements of our lives and that is as it should be. Those parts of our lives are reserved for the closest of friends and family members or even for our own private thoughts.
In my blog, I am deliberately showing just one part of my life that is intended to be positive and uplifting in the hope of inspiring people to spend more time outside. However, there is also a 'barbsindoors' who has the same struggles and woes as everyone and my life is not just one long hike or trail run (even if it appears that way from the things I choose to post here and on my instagram account @barbs_outdoors).
The other element of having a social media presence and writing a blog that I am grappling with at the moment is making sure that I am not disrupting my time outside by taking pictures just for posting here or on instagram. Since having an iphone, I have always taken pictures when out running or walking and I enjoy looking at them when having a break at work or sitting on the train on my commute. However, those pictures have always been just for me so the angles, the filters and the composition do not matter. As I mentioned in my first post Let’s Get Ready to Ramble, walking or running outside helps clear my mind and I do not want to pollute that with worries about taking the right selfie or the best picture. There are so many talented photographers out there who post sumptuous scenery and dramatic action shots and, although I can learn something from them, I will just snap what I see and share the pictures I enjoy when discussing all things outdoors on this blog. Fortunately, today was one of those days where I could point my iphone anywhere and the blue sky and winter sun made the scenery look stunning.
I am not a huge fan of celebrating new year’s eve and am usually tucked up in bed well before it is time to link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne. However, I love getting up on new year’s day and going for a run. It always feels as if you have somehow wiped the slate clean and the next twelve months are full of possibilities and potential. I usually have a few events lined up to help motivate me to get outside and run but this year my mum, my sister and I are going to try and complete the 1000 mile challenge.
We don’t really have any strict rules but we are aiming to discount the random steps. The idea is that the miles we log are intentional walks or runs outside rather than walking around the house or the office. It will work out at just over 19 miles per week or just under 3 miles per day. My mum lives in Northern Ireland, I live in East Anglia and my sister lives in Brighton so we are not able to walk together daily but we can motivate each other by keeping track of the others' progress and going for walks when we do meet up.
This is a different kind of challenge for me and I think I will find it harder than cramming in a few weeks of training before an event. Finding time to log a few miles each day in London near my office will be better than trying to cover 19 miles every weekend so it will hopefully make me get out of the office more than usual at lunch time.
Although I really enjoy the outdoors, having a goal really helps on those winter days when sitting in front of the fire with a book is more appealing than going out for a run.
Unfortunately, even though I usually love new year’s day runs, today was one of those days when I was feeling a little bit under the weather and more inclined to sit by the fire than wrap up and go for a run. It was the thought of getting in a few extra miles on the 1000 mile challenge that got me out the door today. I felt really sluggish and it was a fairly dull and uninspiring day but I kept going to hit my target of 5 miles. So that is 5 miles down, 995 miles to go and I am looking forward to wherever the trails may take me in 2018.