I dragged that bad mood around with me all of yesterday’s morning and into the afternoon. I tried so hard not to feel rejection for myself and all that I was feeling. The present felt flat and grey, the future felt like it couldn’t help be but more of the same. Intellectually I knew that change would come, but I didn’t believe it in my soul.
Sometimes you’ve just got to “hang in there” like the kitten that’s become a proverb for the meme-generation.
I went for a run around 4pm, and I came back as a different person. I didn’t want to go for a run, but I felt that I needed to. So, wind in my face, sucking air into straining lungs, book in my ear – just me! I ran and pounded my legs into pavement, letting the rhythm swallow me, push me into 2, 3, 4 km. Stop for walk. Drink some water. Drink some more water. Body is warm, body is tingling, body is getting tired. Check the time, start again. Oh, that water is heavy in my belly. I hear you body, you want to stop! But I’m pushing through anyway. Air is burning a bit in my lungs now. This stretch is downhill, but I’m already tired, so I can’t up the speed.
I’m reminded of how I couldn’t get back to doing more than the basics after I’d been sick for a long while. I’d spent the previous week longing to feel just “normal” and dreaming of how much I’d be able to accomplish when I was finally better, excusing my sub-par performance on my illness and struggling to keep my driving, whipping Pointy Plague Doctor in check while I recovered. But then. I got better, but I still couldn’t do more. And that felt extra frustrating.
But now, as I hit this recovery downhill slope in my run, I get it. Doing the basics while I was ill was a little like running uphill. I’m still tired, even though I’m technically recovered. Even though the terrain is easier, I can’t go any faster.
I push myself up the final uphill slope and hear the chimes of 7km ring in my ear. I’m pleased with myself. I’m pleased with my body. I feel “back”. Maybe it’s just the endorphins of the run, but I think there’s something else there too.
Exercise can be an excuse to just tune out of life for a while, but it can also reawaken me to admiration and respect for what my body is able to do. On a day when I’m able to push far, I feel joy, but on days when I realise my body is tired or injured and can’t do much, I tend to find compassion really easy to access. For some reason it’s easier for me to accept the obvious limits when it comes to a run than I do around the house or work or anything else I’m endeavouring to do in life. And sometimes – often even – I get to carry that back into the world that I inhabit for the majority of the time.
Feels good. Makes me want to head out for another run right now! But I should probably be sensible and let today be a bit about recovering and integrating that physical push back into today’s body.
Maybe I’ll be lucky enough or practiced enough to get to remember what I learned on the pavement yesterday and live in and with my body as well as my mind throughout the day.
In other news, today is Day 100. This is the milestone that I’ve been looking towards for so long. This is the “round about now” time that so many books and blogs have referenced as being when you finally start to get to see tangible pay off. I mean, I’m already feeling really content with my decision to not drink alcohol any more; I feel at home in my skin and bones and brain in a way that I never used to, but I think it would be nice to see some of the other promised benefits of additional energy, clearer skin and weight loss.
It’s not like those have been completely absent, and if I don’t get a sudden pay-day here, I’m passed the point where I would be lured back into the empty promises of the bottle.
I already have enough. Because I have me and I have my life. I’m content with where I am, and I’m – not excited – more I feel calm, confident and welcoming of my future. And I know at least one thing to do when the future is feeling flat.