One of the questions we’re always asked at Up & Running headquarters is: “How do you work together when you live 2000 kilometres apart?”
We always answer that the Internet and Skype are important tools. We also try to meet up at least three times a year for face-to-face meetings in fun places between our households (Hola Barcelona in February!). But the most important asset is a combination of what we’d call intuition and gut feeling.
We just knew that our collaboration would work and we can’t even explain why. We’re always on the same wavelength. We agree on 80% of ideas and talk politely about the other 20%. We often think about the same things at the same time and our messages land into each other’s mailboxes with the same thoughts.
A perfect example was our 2012 New Year’s day activity. We did the exact same thing at the exact same time and we hadn’t spoken to each other about it, agreed upon it or even known that we were going to do it.
It wasn’t that we were both sitting on the couch eating leftover Christmas cookies. That would have been too easy: “Oh yeah, I sat on the couch eating leftover Christmas cookies too!”. No, we both chose to jump into freezing winter waters in our respective adopted countries…
Every year my husband and I dedicate the first day of the year to a local trip someplace special to take photos. We both have a bad habit of constantly working, even on holidays (part of the nature of our work), so we really shut everything down on January 1. We always spend the holidays with his family in the south of Italy and the last few years our choice for our first day excursion has always been the beach. Our son and nephew are always with us and last year my nephew said, “Next year we should jump in the water…”
So that’s what we did. You can’t really swim – the water is so cold you can only dunk your head in and get out!
I loved the idea of getting in the water for 2012 for a lot of reasons but mostly for the meaning it had for me. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about things I want to do. I think and think… then I pour myself a cup of tea and think some more. Then it’s too late for me to do what I’ve been thinking about and I put if off another day, month, year.
I want to reverse this and get into the automatic mode of thinking then acting. Jumping into freezing water when it’s only 10°C outside is not something you can sit and think about. You just do it – no thinking involved . Otherwise you lose momentum and courage. I know that getting my body involved and aligning it with my psyche always helps ingrain the thought deeper into my mind.
So far it’s working because every time I think about doing something I just remember the jump into the water. It’s made me really excited about 2012 because I know that whatever I can dream up I can act upon, it’s just a jump away.
My New Years Days are traditionally spent with bacon sandwiches and hangovers. But when Tor, one of our wonderful Up & Running course graduates, asked if was up for The Loony Dook, the famous Scottish “everyone jump into the freezing Forth River” event, I felt that little shiver (pardon the pun) of excitement that you feel when you know you should say yes to something.
I wrote about my splash on my Dietgirl blog, including how I slept in on New Years morn and sulked under the covers with all sorts of justifications why I should just stay in bed. I wouldn’t make it on time, I didn’t have a fancy costume, blah blah blah. I must admit, at one point I even bargained to myself, Why don’t you just do it next year? That’s plenty of time to get back in shape and look svelte in a photo!
That kind of Waiting For The Perfect Day thinking has been a real killjoy many times in my life. Ideas, opportunities, social events and adventures that I never acted on because I convinced myself it wasn’t the right time. The circumstances weren’t absolutely perfect, the stars were misaligned, I was too fat; I didn’t have the right shoes! So much fun passed me by, because, when you get down to it, I was scared.
Thankfully I got off my arse and got doon to the water on time all the New Years crazies. It was abso-bloody-lutely icy cold, but a genuine thrill. And only later when I blogged about it did I realise that Julia had been dipping into the Med at the very same time. It was a great reminder that the most perfect moments in life seem to arise from the most imperfect (messy, bloody freezing) situations. Sometimes the wrong time is exactly the right one.