Why Getting Filthy Helps You Feel Alive

Portrait of cute little boy covered in mudI like setting an example to my kids, but in this particular instance, my wife and I have different opinions. All my life, I have loved getting muddy, and I encourage my small kids (ages 6 and 8) to do exactly the same.

You see, I’m not a fan of perfection in life. I don’t believe that it exists, and I think that any quest for it is pointless and more often than not leads to utter dejection.

Getting muddy reminds me of my imperfections – it reminds me that I should wear them with pride, just like that layer of mud after my mountain bike ride today.

I would like to think that I wear my faults on my sleeve and don’t mind laughing about them with people. I am happy to admit that I am badly organized, I am sometimes a little selfish and a truly terrible listener (unless I am really making an effort with a client). Somehow, I’m not ashamed about it. My demons are an integral part of me. I’ll always try to improve myself, of course, but essentially, you take me as you find me. I’ve always lived life that way.

So, after getting a new mountain bike for Christmas and having not exercised for about three months, I took a mud bath this afternoon. Literally. I forgot how great it felt! The 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike course at Hadleigh is only around the corner from where I live, and I thought that I’d take it on.

(One of my faults is an utter disregard for realistic goals!)

Two hours and a few very tired limbs later, I rode back through the high street of my quiet little village. The streets were full of people in their Sunday best, the coffee shops were doing a brisk trade and almost everyone had a cheeky smile on their faces as I rode past, caked from head to foot in mud.

It made me think about why it didn’t bother me, and why the mud almost seemed like a medal of honour. Yes, I was filthy, but the filth made me feel alive. By the time I got home, much of the mud had dried, and it felt like a second skin.

I was sad to wash it off, but my wife can be pretty scary sometimes….

Be proud to admit your imperfections. Be aware that they are a “work in progress.” Don’t shy away from situations where they are likely to be tested.

Being muddy is the best feeling in the world.

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