According to an old chinese proverb, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
That proverb resonated strongly last week as G and I were sat drinking coffee at what is rapidly becoming our favourite coffee shop in Devon, the Porthole. It’s a favourite because, not only do they serve delicious coffee, the enamel mugs are insulated so you don’t burn your hands on them. Magic!
Anyway, that’s not why we were waxing lyrical about Chinese proverbs. The reason was because we were ear wagging on a conversation the couple next to us were having. It followed the general lines of ‘we’d love to live here, why can’t we live here, we have too many reasons not to move’. We fell into conversation with them naturally and had the opportunity to learn of their circumstances. They were living in Bristol and had a huge mortgage and lots of (self imposed) responsibilities. The time was never really right of course, but primarily they acknowledged they were scared of the unknown. Yet their passion for the place was tangible and the desire to relocate sounded real enough.
I get it, I really do and I wonder how many people right now are stuck in places because they are scared of change.
A few days later an e-mail popped into my inbox. It was from Alastair Humphreys – the chap who I was talking about a little while ago – the adventurer who was looking at different ways of injecting adventure into life.
One particular line in the email struck home, “being relaxed about the destination but clear about your direction will give you more purpose and confidence to explore, dream and discover.”
The message was consistent with James Clear and his preference for building habits rather than setting goals. So it seems that our determination to spend more time outdoors and move more, rather than set some elaborate (and probably unrealistic at this time) goal of losing gazillions of weight in a year or entering events in the hope they’ll motivate you to get fitter and lose weight. A thought particularly pertinant when we consider we’re heading off to Lanzarote next week to support at the Ironman.
Our initial focus on ‘moving more’ is proving to be easy to achieve so far. Everything here is so beautiful and more importantly accessible. There is space to breathe and even when the weather is not so good and the wind is blowing strong enough to clear your sinuses out, you can’t help but feel invigorated when you get back.
Our reasons for planting the tree were health related. Both physical and mental. I’d tried to plant trees many times before but on reflection, I think the reasons for planting were confused. Now, they are easy to identify; to spend more time outdoors and live more simply and so the tree is growing marvellously.