Changing my perspective

I spent the weekend rethinking what I’m trying to do. I didn’t walk I didn’t write. I just thought. (And got a foot massage which helped both the chronic pain and the thinking.)

I examined the issues I thought I was addressing:

  • Always tired
  • Chronic pain
  • Feeling old
  • Feeling out of control
  • Feeling loss of self to outside pressures (work, school, family, relationships)

Then I thought about my motivation:

  • Empowerment
  • Self-acceptance
  • Acceptance by others
  • Peace of mind (sanity??)

To be honest, I’m not convinced I’m on the right track. Trying to adhere to a schedule (30min 30days) was great when I was successful but left me feeling like a failure when I (a) failed to make the minimum requirement or (b) felt pain or suffered in recovery. Even writing an article each day and creating a meme is wonderful and insightful, but between work, school, and family I’m not sure it is a realistic expectation. I actually felt bad missing a day and that caused me to miss another. Ugh!!

This is not to say I’m giving up. Getting up and moving around was great. How do I do it with semi-consistency and without undo pressure? Writing this blog again has been so helpful. How do I arrange time for it without it becoming a drain? My type A personality usually only employs two setting: Full-on-high and off. How do I cultivate a lower setting?

So, I’m thinking and considering. I’m looking for resource outside myself. I’m hoping for inspiration. I’m planning more massages, more walks on the beach, more sleep. I’m trying to change my perspective.

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Yeah, I got nothing

I just can’t tonight.

I just can’t.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Maybe.

But not if I feel like this.

Pain shooting from my toes and up my legs. The small of my back cranking. Every bone. Every muscle. Did you know that was a muscle? It is and it hurts.

I walked 7,000 steps in heels. I walked 2,000 steps with a backpack and suitcase.

Nearly 12,000 steps in all

So not worth the pain.

Some Days Are Just Hard

Monday’s are rough for me. My day starts at 4:15 am and I’m out the door by 5. I get home after 10 pm. Yesterday, between work, grad school, and 120 miles of driving I somehow managed to solve 3 major family crises and still get my walk in. I really pushed it.

Tuesday are usually easier but I still had to get up at 4:15 this morning and when I got home at 6 pm I didn’t go for a walk. And I didn’t go before dinner. And I didn’t go after dinner. And now it is 10 pm and technically I could go. There is time… and it isn’t rainy out…

But I just don’t think I can make myself do it. In fact, I just made a deal with myself that if I wrote this post and admitted that I was skipping for no good reason, then I could skip and go to bed.

And as I type I think, but shouldn’t I just push through it? Force myself? Won’t I feel better after?

But I don’t think I will feel better. I actually think pushing myself yesterday is why I feel worse today. Every muscle hurts. Every part of me aches. And I’m sooooo tired. And if I push too hard, and some point I will break.

I don’t think I’m admitting defeat. I’m changing the parameters to give me a chance to succeed. I’m resting so that tomorrow I can give it another shot. I don’t even have to wake until 5:15 so woohoo!

And right now I’m going to get some sleep. I’ll figure out the rest later.

How meme it is…

If you are looking for where I get my inspirational quotes, don’t bother. In the past I scoured the Internet looking for the perfect graphic, but I decided this time I would make my own. All the backgrounds are photos or drawings I’ve made. Some of the quotes are appropriated, but most are original.

I’m sure there are other people who have better photos, cleverer quotes, etc. It’s just that if one of my goals is to get to my own truth, then the memes ought to be authentic as well.

One unexpected benefit is that as I go through my day I find myself looking for photo opportunities and thinking about the things I hear and read. Would that make a good post? Would that make an interesting meme? It’s made me more mindful of place and time and hopefully I’ll improve as I go along.

One Week Later

This post marks 7 days in a row that I’ve posted. I admit I’m a bit rusty. Also it feels weird to be sharing my inner thoughts again. Luckily no one is reading this blog (except my mom) after being dormant for so long.

Today I got my walk in, but barely (10 days down; 20 to go). I had exactly 30 min between finishing work and the leaving for the movies. BF wasn’t too happy, but he got over it.

It was dark and drizzly and I didn’t have time to go to the gym. I strapped a light onto my knit hat and held a flashlight when oncoming cars would come. I’m supposed to avoid blacktop because it’s harsher on the heel pain, but sometimes you just have to make do.

It felt like the old days, before I ran a half marathon, before the chronic pain, when I was just trying to hit a million steps and would walk in all kinds of weather just to get those extra steps in. Before I had “friends” on my Fitbit app and I was the only person I knew who had a Fitbit. Before I turned 50, when I thought I’d never be a runner, or athletic, or fit. When all I wanted to do was be able to walk without huffing and puffing.

It was also a time when I obsessed about what I was eating, and how much, and when. And I was drinking coffee and diet soda (ok I had diet soda today, but just because we were out to dinner and there weren’t a lot of options. It really is a rare thing) and I was weighing myself obsessively.

This time I’m being really strict. Not only is there a no-scale rule and a no writing down everything you eat rule, but there is a don’t obsess about your food choices rule and a eat when you are hungry rule. There is also a don’t feel bad about what you ate rule. Sometimes I forget the rules a bit and have to remind myself… gently remind myself… kindly remind myself that the rules are there to protect me (from me). Then I pick myself up, dust myself off, and send me back into the world.

It feels pretty good.

Reasons to Succeed

Yesterday I almost didn’t get my 30 min walk in. The day got away from me so that the earliest I could get to it was 10 pm. It was rainy and icky out. I was really tired. But it’s only 30 min and I already brought my sneakers, I told myself.

Then I realized I had forgotten to pack up the most important thing: I carry a water bottle to the gym that has my Garmin watch, Bluetooth headphones, a sweat towel, and a scruncii to hold my glasses on. Could I really walk without these?

Yes, I thought:

  • Listen to the rhythm of your breathing
  • Enjoy the sweat as proof of your effort
  • Repurpose your empty coffee thermos from this morning as a water bottle
  • Rely on the treadmill to record your efforts
  • Hold your head high so your glasses don’t fall off

It was a great moment in positive self talk. I found reasons to succeed instead of reasons to fail. I kept thinking if you let these little things defeat you now, how will you survive the big things?

On my way to the gym, with less than an hour before closing, my glasses broke. One of the temples (arms) fell off and into the abyss of my dark car. To keep driving (I am completely blind without my glasses) I had to hold them with one hand and drive with the other. I had no time to go home for a spare pair and still get my walk in.

Well, that’s it, I thought. I can’t see so I can’t walk. Just give up. This is a legit reason. More legit than no headphones and no water bottle.

But then I thought, Fuck It.

I want to get my walk in. Let’s see (hehe get it) what happens.

So I went to the gym and held my glasses with one hand to find the changing room and then dressed blind. Then I held my glasses to find the treadmill and to see which buttons to press. Once I got a good rhythm going I put the glasses into the empty cup holder (yeah, I left the coffee cup in the car after all that) and walked blind. I didn’t fall. I didn’t fail. I didn’t give up.

All in all it was a pretty great day.

A Year Will Pass Anyway

There is a game I play on my phone called Flow Free. It isn’t very complicated, and I find it somewhat meditative. There is a daily challenge which is sometimes easy and sometimes more challenging. Sometimes the daily challenge is three puzzles and sometimes it is 10 or more.

Why do I bring this up you ask? Because I play this game every day, regardless of the challenge. And today I hit 365 days in a row of being successful. It doesn’t take a lot of time out of my day. Usually I do it when I first wake up to shake the sleep out of my brain, but if I’m rushing I do it later when I have time. Occasionally I do it right before bed as a last thought. But I don’t miss, or at least I haven’t for the last 365 days. So if I can do that for game, that doesn’t win me any awards or reap me any benefits, then I can certainly do it for something I think has tangible value.

This post marks five consecutive days that I have posted something positive, affirming, hopeful about myself. I challenge myself to do this for the next 360 consecutive days. The year will pass regardless, The only question is where will I be? Hopefully, some place better than I am now. If nothing else, I will have achieved the accomplishment of posting 365 consecutive days. With no award or benefit, I suspect it will still be worth it.

Can I forgive myself?

strength

The weather is crazy. We have a few days of freezing ice and snow and then temperatures in the high sixties. Really? My poor wisteria thinks spring is here. I’m sorry, dear plant, it is only February and we most likely have a few bad storms and cold weather to get through. Be patient. You will get through this winter and bloom again.

I am much like my wisteria. Impatient for the bleak times to end. Sure that if I will it enough I can bloom. Filled with unrealistic expectations and then angry and disappointed when I fail. Not disappointed– despondent. I’m mad at myself for failing and fall into a routine of negative self-talk. Then I’m furious that I am so negative on myself. It is a vicious cycle. The more I berate myself, the more I hate myself for the negativity.

So I’m not going to do that this time. I’m going to forgive myself for being bad-tempered. And forgive myself for being negative. And forgive myself for giving up again, and again, and again. I’ve been watching “Once Upon a Time” on Netflix and by season 2 I’m pretty much fed up with how many time Snow White can forgive Regina (Evil Queen). Every time she has the chance to stop her she gives her another chance. Don’t I deserve at least that many chances? So I’m not saying this is my last do-over. It will be one more in a long line of do-overs. And if I have to forgive myself again, I will.

What’s different this time around

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results, then I must be insane. I have tried it 1,000 times. I’ve even partially succeeded a handful of those times. But only partially.

Because regardless of how I work on my inside, I always need to check my results on the outside. Via scale, tape measure, or dress size. I can say I accept myself, but ultimately if I’m looking for external validation then I’m not really accepting myself at all.

I also have a habit of comparing myself to myself. I never win that comparison. If I walk a mile, I remember I time I walked a mile faster. If I run a mile, I remember a time I ran two. My current self can never compete with my younger, healthier, un-injured self.

I felt it today when I walked. He urge to step up the pace. To what end? To have 1.7 miles instead of 1.6? How does that help me? Really?

What’s different this time is that I’m going to focus on my internal gauges. I’m going to ficus I’m breathing better. To not getting winded. To make sure I stretch properly. That I follow through. That I remind myself every day that this isn’t about fixing me (I’m not broken) but about believing in me again.

I’m just going to keep saying it until I believe it.

Steps vs walking

Literally the high point of my week.

Wednesday  was a rough day. I could have ended up with fewer than 1,000 steps. But I didn’t. I pushed myself to walk before bed. It was a hard decision. Between work and family I didn’t have 5 min to myself until about 9 pm. 

I could have justified going to bed. It was late. It was dark. It was freaking cold out. I was tired. But I went out anyway and walked until I hit 8,000 steps.  

If  I had skipped the walk that night, I’m not sure I would have gotten up early yesterday morning to do my 20 min workout (more about that later). I thought about what had motivated me in the past and one thing that worked was to get 8,000 steps no matter what. I know most people have a 10,000 step goal but I think if I had to try for 10,000 when I’m at 800. For me an 8,000 step goal is so much more attainable. 

So I did it and even though it was cold and I’m glad I did it. Every positive choice leads to another positive choice. Each negative choice gives permission for other. Festive choices. 

Having said this, getting in my steps is a stop-gap at best. It isn’t fun and if I do that every day this whole thing will unravel again. It will become a chore. 

So yesterday I made a choice to take a walk.  Unlike getting steps, taking a walk is about taking time for me. It is enjoyable. It builds me up. I chose the middle of the day, in sunshine, and at the beach. There is nothing that I enjoy more. Because of work my time was limited, but I left feeling ebullient. 

Today I tried to get my walk in, but the whole day was a disaster from beginning to end. At 6:30 pm, with a mountain of work still to wade through, I decided to walk. I have to go back to the emails and spreadsheets before bed, but squeezing in a walk while there was a smidgen of daylight seemed better then squeezing it in as midnight approaches. 

And I’m really sure that if I had skip today, I would have been undone again.