What doesn’t kill you…

I’ve touched upon the subject of ‘resilience’ before, and I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of us will have been forced to develop this ‘in spades’, following confirmation that the UK’s first case of COVID-19 had been recorded on 31st January 2020.  

However, ‘Risk and Resilience’ has long been a focus for businesses around the globe, both in terms of determining technological or financial vulnerability, and assessing the extent to which teams of employees possess the emotional resilience to deal with a range of challenges.

The popular saying ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ (albeit originally rather more eloquently expressed by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche) is one that I am particularly fond of uttering, and I don’t mind admitting that (at least nine times out of ten) it is accompanied by a cursory rolling of the eyes too! The very notion that the only feasible alternative to ‘coping’ with the additional stress of a challenging situation is ‘certain death’ would (to my mind at least) seem to be a rather extreme means of testing one’s adaptability. And anyway, ‘broad shoulders’ are arguably something best left condemned to the 1980s…

On the other hand, it could be argued that it is only by ‘pushing the boundaries’ that we learn the true extent of our capabilities and there is definitely something to be said for trying new things and embracing fresh challenges from time to time.

Last Sunday, we ventured once again to our happy place.

The Peak District (with its steep limestone valleys, dramatic gritstone ridges and stark moorlands) never fails to provide us with some much-needed breathing space, and our boys love nothing more than to scramble unreservedly amongst the numerous rocky outcrops. Having first consulted ‘ViewRanger’ (our Sunday app of choice) we had chosen a circular walk in the Upper Dove valley area of the Peak District taking in a line of pinnacles said to resemble the ‘plates’ along the spine of either a dragon or a dinosaur. The very mention of such dramatic imagery certainly piqued the interest of our youngest and it was with great relish, therefore, that he scampered ahead like the proverbial mountain goat.

Very quickly the going became incredibly tough with steep inclines, scant paths, and a variety of uneven surfaces that had a habit of crumbling at the most inopportune moments. Two legs were quickly exchanged for ‘all fours’ as we kept our centre of gravity close to the ground and (desperately clutching at anything that might lend some kind of support) leaned into the mountain in a fervent attempt to steady not just our bodies, but also our nerves.

Needless to say, with several more pinnacles still to navigate, this was an ordeal that was to be repeated more than once and I’ll admit to succumbing to brief periods of panic each time our boys vanished from view. I needn’t have worried though, because they were infinitely more agile than either of their parents – and in their element at being able to assist their old and feeble mum in her increasingly tentative attempts to conquer the rugged terrain.

We were ultimately rewarded with spectacular views, looks of admiration (from seasoned hikers with rather more specialist equipment than the humble trainers that we were sporting) and a well-earned (and deliciously peppery) pasty at the summit. Even the boys agreed that this was a winning combination, worthy of deserting the Xbox for a few hours at least. High praise indeed!

Once we were safely back at our car, the journey home offered ample opportunity for quiet reflection. Stiff legs and a sense of elation were proof enough that some risks are definitely worth taking.

And the best bit? ‘Death’ was cheated out of one more day!

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