Saturday, 11 January 2014

Lessons from Bilbo Baggins

Image found here 

Alongside my aim of raising money for charity through completing challenges throughout 2014, I also set myself a goal of working through a lot of the classic books that (for shame) I've never read. Such books include any by John Steinbeck, Catch 22, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and the Great Gatsby (What was my English teacher doing!!??). I've also never read 1984, which given that my Dad is a huge Orwell fan and made me read Animal Farm when I was seven, is a little hard for him to understand. So I thought that enough is enough and I just better get my head down and read them, because it's not like I have much to do after I've finished working, training for and organising a year's worth of challenges and raising money for charity.

So I began with The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. Despite adoring the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films, I have never read any Tolkien which as I'm discovering, has been a huge loss on my part. I'll imagine that most people have either read the book, seen the film or like me, have done neither but have some vague idea of what the book is about, so I won't go into too much depth about the story other than to say that it's about a little Hobbit called Bilbo Baggins who goes on an adventure with a lot of dwarves and a wizard named Gandalf.

What strikes me is that the book is a pretty apt one for me to read just now because at it's heart the book is about a plain little hobbit who breaks out of his comfort zone and begins to see the wider world, discovering that there is more to him than he perhaps ever realised. Now, I'm not dissimilar to the hobbit in that I'm smaller than the average (and may or may not have the same ugly feet) but of course the adventures Bilbo went on far surpass what I hope to do this year and it's unlikely that I'll encounter any Goblins or Dragons whilst walking up Ben Nevis! Nevertheless, the lessons in The Hobbit have encouraged me to stop being so inward looking and scared of my limitations and instead just go out and bloody do something!

Image found here 

One example of my channeling of Bilbo Baggins is that I've entered Tough Mudder which is something I've always shied away from it in the past because I wasn't sure that I would manage the distance or indeed the crawling through mud or the electrocution that seems to form a core part of the course. This year however, I just signed up and paid my entry fee without a second of doubt creeping into my mind. Whilst trying to complete the Tough Mudder, I'll be chanting this quote..

Image found here

Another thing that I've put off doing for a while is writing on a regular basis. I've always entertained the thought that I could write vaguely well, but I've always been scared of putting anything out there for fear that people would disagree, would think that I was deluded or that nobody would be interested in what I write. Well, with a little inspiration from Bilbo, I'm just bloody doing it. I'm sure some people won't like it, or think that it's any good but I enjoy doing it, it's a challenge for me and at the end of it all, I can say that I've tried it.

One of my favourite things about Tolkien is the power of so much of the text and it's ability to remain a powerful sentiment 77 years after the publication of the Hobbit. It's also quite handy that there are so many perfect quotes that can be found on Pinterest in order to illustrate silly, navel gazing posts like this one. And so I'll leave you with this one and encourage you all to seek a little inspiration from Tolkien.

Image found here (I've not finished reading the Hobbit but I think this might be from another Tolkien book. Good quote though!)

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