Cy­cling away the Jan­uary blues as new hori­zons open up out­doors

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - david looby [email protected]­ple­news.ie

OUT with the old, in with the new is how I’ve started and mean to go on in 2019. The house has been de-clut­tered and lo­cal char­ity ships, in turn, filled, with chil­dren’s cloth­ing, books and toys, giv­ing me a pay-it-for­ward sense of sat­is­fac­tion; even if, in truth, there sim­ply was no more room what with all of the Santa and fam­ily pre­sents lav­ished on the chil­dren.

One present, a Bat­man bike, has had a trans­for­ma­tive ef­fect on our weekly, no daily rou­tines. The Lit­tle Fella can’t be sep­a­rated from his new wheels and – al­ways ea­ger to join in on the fun – his older sis­ter has a new-found love for the bike she got for her sev­enth birth­day.

The first week­end of the year was con­se­quently spent cy­cling some of the beau­ti­ful wind­ing paths of two lo­cal trail routes. As the per­son with a big cy­cle com­ing up later in the year it was ironic that I was the one walk­ing and my two charges were be­ing given boost­ers up hills and ner­vously kept up­right through a se­ries of quick pro­tec­tive hand mo­tions as they sped down­hill.

The joy on The Lit­tle Fella’s face as he came to a stop hav­ing some­how man­aged to stay on the sad­dle, de­spite wild 90 de­gree arm bend­ing bal­anc­ing, was some­thing to be­hold.

The first day of the year was my day on the bike, how­ever, and even if I didn’t ex­actly jump out of bed at the thought of cy­cling 60 km with some work col­leagues, I was happy to be out, filled to the gills with oxy­gen.

The start of a new year is sym­bol­i­cally im­por­tant.

For some who have had a rough time in 2018, the dawn­ing of 2019 of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to look for­ward in hope to bet­ter days ahead.

As the great poet Emily Dick­in­son so elo­quently put it: ‘Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul/And sings the tune with­out the words/And never stops at all.’

Af­ter a fre­netic Christ­mas, the days have given way to clar­ity and, for some, a re­newed sense of pur­pose. I was at the lo­cal park run on Satur­day, not par­tic­i­pat­ing, but at the same venue help­ing the chil­dren around the course on their bikes and couldn’t get over the crowds out run­ning off the Jan­uary Blues and the cabin fever that saw many con­fined to their homes for days on end.

My fam­ily in Amer­ica had no such lux­ury, as they were back to work on St Stephen’s Day. Some 800,000 Amer­i­cans have not en­joyed a great start to the year as they haven’t been paid due to the Gov­ern­ment shut­down over Trump’s in­sis­tence on build­ing a wall be­tween Amer­ica and Mex­ico. My mother’s gifts for her neph­ews and nieces haven’t ar­rived yet be­cause of it, yet an­other ex­am­ple of how the Pres­i­dent Trump’s ac­tions have come home to roost to a work­ing class Amer­i­can fam­ily.

The week­end ended with ice skat­ing and I loved it. There’s noth­ing like skim­ming along a treach­er­ous sur­face with a few cen­time­tres of plas­tic and a shred of dig­nity sep­a­rat­ing you from a bro­ken bone to re­mind you of the bal­anc­ing act life is. As I was hold­ing my two chil­dren’s hands keep­ing them up­right, I felt that light­ness of be­ing, that look-over-the-shoul­der grat­i­tude to be alive and breath­ing, that makes you ap­pre­ci­ate life and not sweat the small stuff.

Park Runs are in­clu­sive, fun and a great way to get your­self fit in Jan­uary.

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