I've written this opening paragraph so many times over the past month, without ever finishing it. This 'next post', the one that comes after such a long break felt hard because I just didn't know what to say anymore.
Having stopped flying trapeze classes due to work, forcing myself through runs I didn't enjoy and twice being unable to climb for a while because of injury, I'd run out of positive things to say. "If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." And so I stayed quiet.
Now, with a new perspective, I'm ready to talk.
It's clear now that I'd fallen into the trappings of social media. Of course, I know as well as anyone, an Instagram feed only tells the best side of the story. This didn't stop me from comparing myself to others and feeling I should be far better – faster, running further, climbing harder – than I was.
Somewhere along the line, I forgot to be me. A friend put it in perspective. I should concentrate on being "the Jennest of Jens". Concentrate on being the best that I can be, not on how like someone else I can be.
Running was making me unhappy – it felt hard and there was no joy in dragging myself out to chase other people's miles. So I took a step back until I felt like lacing up again (it turns out when you dream about running, it's time to hit the trails).
I sulked for a week after my second climbing injury. Then I gave myself a good talking to. This was an opportunity to learn from my mistakes, to understand why I was getting injured and to prevent it in the future.
Both continue to be a work in progress.
I'm slowly feeling more like me and finding joy in movement again. I'm refusing to worry about pace or Strava segments, simply choosing to get out and run is enough of an achievement. Climbing is now more about embracing falling. It means I'm trying harder and not being intimidated by harder problems. Falling means progress!
It's falling, or rather failing, that I was scared of – being slower, running short, not sending every climbing route. Of course, trying to keep up with other people's achievements was always going to feel like failure.
Now I'm just trying to be the best I can be, the Jennest of Jens. So long as I keep trying I'm always going to succeed.