• julianwatkins

Movement: The Power of Something New

There’s a line The Minimalists like: “You can’t change the people around you but you can change the people around you”.

I had to ponder that a little. It’s saying sometimes a new group is better than flogging away at the toxic pull of the old lot. This is assuming you want to go in a direction the old friends don’t of course. If not, and doing the same old shit every weekend is for you? Well, carry on as is, I guess.

I mostly agree with The Minimalists. Some psychologist or other said we’re the average of the five people closest to us. That’s one to ponder.

But before we all start hacking away at our friendship list, it might be worth proposing a change or two. Our society revolves around sitting. We sit at work. Sit on the way to work. Sit at home and watch TV: where the heck would we even point the furniture without the big screen?

Then we get a few hours to meet friends and what do we do? Obvious: sit some more. Beer and sit. Coffee and sit. Food and sit. These behaviours are well entrenched and almost definitely not conscious. After all, the majority of our behaviours, good and bad, are subconscious.

Does it have to be that way? Why not suggest the radical: meeting and actually doing something? Sure, your legs will ache a bit and you don’t get the coffee and cake or beer but you’ll get to be active, with the myriad health and mindset benefits that come with it. If you go pure minimalist and just walk, it’s dirt cheap too. And there’s always a drink, which will taste a hundred times better by the way, at the end if needed.

My friend Andy and I have started this. When we meet, we now do stuff rather than sit around and drink something. It started with the climbing wall but has morphed into mostly walking. Someone has to suggest something different though: that’s you.

It’s great to move. We’ll head down the seafront with the dog. Often, we’ll get soaked by a big wave or two; this winter we’ve hit some serious high tides. And we’ll get back freezing, maybe drenched, but feeling good. Sometimes the feel-good bit only hits me when I’m in the hot shower but it always turns up eventually.

And feeling a bit achy, cold and uncomfortable is great practice for any behaviour change. You’ll learn to seek this stuff out.

So, don’t write your old mates off until you’ve given them a chance. And if they say – f**k that, I’m going to the pub? Well, you can always change the people around you.

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