Sometimes you need to skate backwards


Did you used to skate? I was a big roller skater for a time and an occasional ice skater when we would visit the “big smoke” from our little country town. I loved the feeling of freedom, just like flying, when skating down the road. Going backwards was one of the best parts and I can still feel the feeling if I stop and imagine it.

The other day I was a bit bored with my usual jogging track and decided to mix it up a bit and go backwards, not literally RUN backwards, but go in the opposite direction. There is a certain point on my run where my mind says “oh this is the bit where you start to run out of steam” and sometimes, due to my type 1 diabetes, I do actually HAVE to stop. But other times it is just my heavy legs and mind which stop me in my tracks, and I walk the rest of the way. Now there is no issue with that. A year ago I had not run at all, for years. Now I can sustain a run for nearly an hour, mixed with a little bit of walking here and there. But it is the challenge of it, of wanting to be able to go a little further, a little longer. It is also the monotony of knowing I will reach a point where I have to stop and walk, like it is inevitable.

My running track

My running track

So, I did something small. I went backwards. It was amazing how it changed things. That part of the run, where usually I am starting to run out of steam, was now early in the run, and so, my head said, this is easy, you have just started. By the time I got to what is usually the starting section, I was still running and then, I realised there was a big downhill run coming all the way home! As I ran down the hill, I suddenly felt like I was skating. I stuck my arms out wide and with a big grin on my face, skated all the way home. It was amazing, gleeful, full of joy, yet it was the exact same route I always go – just turned on its head.

That got me to thinking about how sometimes in life we get stuck in a rut. And it can be hard to keep going forwards. For me, this started to happen in my diabetes work. I had worked so hard for so long, as well as living with it, that I started to say in my head, I can not make the distance. I can’t take it anymore, I have run out of steam. Starting, and then keeping  a charity going is no mean feat. And with the support of a small, passionate group of amazing people, I have done so for nearly 14 years. Yet there does reach a time where you can not run on that same track anymore.

Then, I didn’t exactly go backwards in my diabetes work, but I did take a different route. I started my Recycled Interiors blog. I started to write. I started studying Interior Design, I started my styling work. I began to create, allow my artistic side to blossom. This simple step, of taking a different track, changed my life completely. Now, most days I feel like I am flying, skating backwards, full of joy. The most incredible thing is that this spreads out into my diabetes work too, it gives that track light again, adds interest, balance, makes me feel the journey is more than just the same old same old. It makes me feel happy.

What we need sometimes is a different track, a change of scenery, a shake up, to allow ourselves an “other”, something different or new. It does not have to be big. It may be as small as starting at the end and seeing where it takes you.

Perhaps it is time to dust off the skates.



Sometimes a change of scene is just what you need, I love running on our beach at the shack

Sometimes a change of scene is just what you need, I love running on our beach at the shack


  1. Sran. on April 9, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I can’t run any more due to a piece of metal holding my right femur together. I so misd the days of when I used to be able to go for a long run.

  2. helwild on April 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Fantastic advice, thanks Helen! It so reminds me of a similar experience & realisation in my 40’s. I taught at the same little country school for nearly 30 years, drove my car to work every day, & there seemed to be only one route to get there, straight down my street through the shopping centre, as we lived on the same road as the School.. One bright Spring morning I got out my old ‘ladies’ bicycle’ inherited from my niece, & put on a sun hat. I rode out of the back driveway, towards the Salt Lake. There I rode down a bumpy track where there was no passage for a car. I turned left, away from the Main Street,& rode across the Golf Course, a mixture of sand, black scrapes & winter grass. Then I was there. It made such a difference to my outlook! Now I always try to vary routes when going to familiar destinations, when travelling in the car to the shops, or even where I shop. Sometimes this means walking to a small butcher shop, instead of driving to the Supermarket. Gaining a new perspective is like gaining a new lease of life.

  3. Sandra Williams on April 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Hi Helen,
    Great idea and certainly something to think about. Reminds me of the saying -“If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got!”

  4. Laurie on April 10, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    We’ll I going to start. New life about to lose the lot I may as we’ll start a fresh might even try a big city where there are more specialists to help and maybe hey a job again so I we can start over again life just suxs
    Nice Blog Helen a good idea