Sunday, 15th December 2019
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Gary Dalton becomes a yes man

by @garyfallsover
Monday 2nd May 2016
My wife turned to me a little while ago and said those three little words that made my heart skip a proverbial beat.
Mid life crisis. Said with the slightly condescending look of faked concern that only a woman who knows her husband is a useless sloth can give. For the concern wasn’t for fast cars or faster women but because she knew that lately I’ve been lamenting the inescapable fact that the years behind me outstretch the years ahead. Or at least the useful years, the years in which I can run and jump, the years in which I can climb and fall and roll and generally act like time has no hold on me.  But time has a hold on us all and it’s that realisation that has prompted not only this piece but a growing determination within myself to make the best of the time remaining.
Now normally I’d comfort myself from such ideas with a family sized  tub of Ben and Jerry’s and vague promises of taking up Crossfit next  Monday. Or the Monday after. Definitely the Monday after.
But not this time. And not only because I don’t have nearly enough Instagram followers to take up Crossfit, but because procrastination and false promises are kinda what brought me to this point. Tomorrow. Next week. I’ll do it later.
So instead of half heartedly trawling the internet adding up the benefits of doing an Ironman versus the amount of friends I’d lose, I decided to change something simple. I decided to argue against myself. 
I decided to say yes more often. I decided to no matter what my initial reaction to something I wouldn’t go with my gut feeling and I’d be more open minded.  I’d question myself critically and start looking at why I didn’t want to do something. I’d look for new challenges and adventures and instead of thinking of reasons to say no I’d think of reasons to say yes. In short I’d become a Hollywood self-help movie. But probably more Adam Sandler than Jim Carrey.
So what does this have to do with running? Well it’s more about taking the things I love about running and seeing if I can create opportunities from them. Though I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the physical act of running I adore it for the friendships it’s given me, for the places it’s taken me both physically and mentally and for the discoveries I’ve made about myself through running.  Admittedly one of those discoveries has been that my connective tissue has the breaking strain of a kit kat but that’s beside the point. I’m firmly in the plus column where benefits are concerned and I’m keen to see what else is out there.
So off I toddled to see a life coach. Now I don’t know about you but pre last week I would have preferred telling people that I liked to dress up in a nappy and soil myself than admit I’d been to see a life coach.  But an old friend contacted me after I posted a self-indulgent ‘look at me’ Facebook post to see if there was anything she could do to help.  And it did help. There were no moments of epiphany determining I should rename myself Fergus Gump and run across Ireland but there was the realisation that I could combine the things I loved into something that would give me a greater sense of worth. So I’ve been looking into getting some coaching courses done, maybe actually RD a race and see what exactly goes into getting several hundred runners of mixed abilities around a course with only limited access to wifi and no ready Starbucks available. 
But more importantly, and this for me was the epiphany , I’m looking for opportunities. I’m looking to say yes. There’s been movies, books, podcasts and empowerment videos all on the power of simply saying yes but more than any other word it seems to scare us. We find any number of ways to equivocate, to avoid giving a direct answer, we say ‘yeah maybe’ when every native English speaker knows full well we mean you have more chance of seeing Batman there than me. 
So in the past month I’ve been to the Banff film festival and the Night of Adventures in a bid to find inspiration. But finding inspiration in the deeds of others almost feels like cheating, like I’m stealing their ideas and yet again making false promises to myself that I too could float down the Amazon on a bamboo raft. If only it wasn’t for the snakes. And all that water. And I have no idea how to build a raft. Did I mention I hate water? 
What I did learn was adventures and adventurers are everywhere. They can be trips across the world or they can be bivvying in your back garden. They can be hours, days, weeks or months. The can take you to the end of your road or the other side of the world but what they must do is take you from your comfort zone. For what’s the point of an adventure if it holds no challenge? 
Whatever happens I’ve taken the first step. Anyone fancy coming along with me?

About The Author

Gary Dalton

Gary Dalton is a rugby loving, crime fighting, white Irish Muslim ultra runner. Despite all this he's not a complete eejit. 

Gary is originally from the west of Ireland and can't actually remember when he moved to London - he blames a heavy diet of being tackled by prop forwards and potatoes for the memory loss. He hates going out for runs, canals and borderline hypothermia and loves ice cream and going out for runs. 


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