When closed roads lead to nicer routes

A slightly modified version of this article first appeared on eve.com.mt. The original idea for this article was inspired by Annie Hopper, Founder of DNRS.

 Photo taken during the boat trip I missed last weekend

Photo taken during the boat trip I missed last weekend

Last weekend Dermot and I were supposed to be going on a boat trip with friends of ours. We had been planning it for a while and I was really looking forward to it. 

But as things turned out, I had the flu and wasn’t well enough to go on the day.

As I waved Dermot off, I felt really sad that I was missing out on something I had been looking forward to for so long.

And then I thought about this article which I had written a while ago and decided I should stop feeling sorry for myself.

Yes it’s disappointing when things don’t go as we wish them to, but sometimes these things just happen. If I could find something positive that happened as a result of my illness, then I’m sure one day I might find something positive about having missed this boat trip. If nothing else just to appreciate the next one even more :)

So enough about the boat trip I missed - here's the article I had written.

Closed road on your way to work
Imagine driving to work one morning and trying to take your usual route: the fastest way to get there. But this morning you find a closed road. You’re frustrated that you can’t go your usual way and that you’ll probably be late. 

But you end up finding an alternative route. And once you allow your frustration to settle, you realise that this new way is actually much nicer than your usual way. You’re now driving by the sea or in the countryside and you take some time to appreciate how beautiful everything is and soak it all in. You never did that before. You get to work late but things feel different. Those moments where you stopped to appreciate your new route make you feel happy throughout the day.

 Photo by Rene Rossignaud Photography

Photo by Rene Rossignaud Photography

Closed road in my life
This is similar to what my current journey in life has been like. As I walked down the aisle towards Dermot on our wedding day in 2014, I was filled with hopes and dreams for our future. I was hopeful that we would spend some time being happy newly-weds, continuing to do the things we both enjoy: spending time with family and friends, travelling, training and racing. And that we would eventually start the family we’ve both dreamt about for so long.

As you can imagine, it never crossed my mind that I might become chronically ill, that I would go to bed at night wondering whether I would be able to get out of bed or not the next morning. Or that I would end up having to stop going to work, stop training and above all stop leaving the house and having friends over. (More details about my health journey here). 

I heard from friends and of friends whose life path was going in the exact direction that Dermot and I had hoped ours would. And I won’t deny that as happy as I was for them, I felt slightly frustrated at the fact that we seemed to be stuck. 

Learning to appreciate things more
But just like you did when you discovered a different route on your way to work, by being made to take a different life path, I learned so much. More than anything, I learned to stop rushing through life but rather to take the time to appreciate how beautiful life is and soak it all in every day. And to always find time for the people who matter most.

I feel like I have been given a second chance at life and through it all I learned to appreciate the small but essential things much more. And I also started to learn to just be (as I like to think of it). Just be me. Just be here. Just be in the present moment. Just be, without thoughts and worries. Without thinking about what I could be doing if I wasn’t here. What I need to do later, tomorrow or next year. And just enjoy today, this moment.