Do as I do, not just as I say

I’ve been feeling challenged recently to take a good look at what they way I live my life tells my children about their own. If I’m honest, I’m naturally not very active, pretty indoorsy and prone to getting stressed when faced with something practical that requires common sense. They’re all traits I’d rather not pass on.

So I’m constantly working on it, making sure we get out a lot, taking up gardening, trying to learn to cycle and forcing myself to tackle jobs around the house, rather than always waiting for Laurence to do them.

It’s one of the reasons I made sure that among my 30 things to do before I’m 30 included lots of challenges that pushed me well out of my comfort zone, like climbing a mountain (which I have got to either do before it gets too cold or after it starts warming up some!).

But though I may have initially been motivated by wanting to make lifestyle changes for the sake of my family, I’ve discovered a few things about myself along the way. One is that I am capable of learning things beyond the pages of a book. And I can change old, ingrained habits. There is so much freedom in this. Every time I manage to fix something, remember something or stay calm in the face of something that would have previously eluded me, the satisfaction is immense.

I’ve also begun to deeply value experiences as a result, especially the ones that get me moving and take me outdoors, learning. I’ll trade objects for experiences any day; it totally changes the way I see gifts. I’ll come across an experience site like Into the Blue and find myself drawn to foraging and gorge walking, which just isn’t something that would have happened years ago. I’ll now counter stress by heading out to the garden to do some weeding, whereas previously my first instinct would have been to stick the kettle on.

Already Talitha can spot more British plants than I could have named before she was born and Ophelia has been wild swimming, which is more than I can say for myself. I just hope that I can keep pushing myself out there so they never lose their natural love for outdoor experiences. And so they don’t end up leaving me behind indoors.

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