I’ve always been an optimist.
Yesterday, despite the worsening weather forecast of deep snow, wind and sub zero temperatures, I was optimistic I could run 200k through Sauerland forests in 4 days. I did ok yesterday, covering 62k and making it to Iserlohn and felt optimistic this morning, but only did 16k. The trails and markers were hidden by snow and I was going in circles as my backup navigation failed. Every time I stopped to figure out which turn to take in the maze of trails, I got colder and colder and knew I had to keep moving.
Optimistically I decided to find the nearest village, get warm and replan a road route. Just as I started running, facing oncoming traffic up the a steep, twisting hill, I saw a car careering towards me, completely out of control. As the driver desperately tried to control the slide, I jumped over the barrier watching as it just missed the barrier below me. That was enough to destroy my optimism for the day.
I’ve reset my expectations and will simply get as far as I can tomorrow as it’s freeezing now, deep snow and icy but I’m taking a cycle route so easier to navigate, I hope.
I had to be realistic and temper my optimism to ensure my safety. As I warmed up, drank tea and had a hot shower, I thought about what it must be like to be living outside. Imagine if I hadn’t found a village nearby or had to sleep in the forest. Even in my expensive clothing it would have been very hard to stay optimistic and figure a way to sleep safely. It would have felt like life or death and who knows what I would have done to survive?
It made me think again about my attitude to homeless people and not only the root cause of why they are there, but the root cause of what being there leads them to do, to survive. How can they stay optimistic, freezing in the cold at night?
Lets try give someone the gift of optimism this Christmas and help Crisis give them a chance to get off the streets, you might even get a free holiday out of it for yourself 😊