So my back recovery turns out to not be quite where I had hoped from yesterday morning. After a day of light walking (not even 10,000 steps!) I felt fatigued and discomfort down my two legs. It didn’t help that I slightly wrenched a muscle when doing the yoga that is so helpful for the condition in the main. I just need to be careful. I don’t enjoy muscular pain, but it doesn’t worry or sicken me in the way the nervy pain does.

I know the deal – rest.

But.

In my head I’m “willing” to stop all running for about 5 days, and after that I’m sort of expecting to get back into it. This is not great. I shouldn’t be putting a time on this, rather I should be listening to my body and testing what I’m ready and able for.

But.

I’ve spent the Summer building up my distance and endurance, and it’s going to be hard enough to maintain my running habit once I’m back at work – and that’s only four short weeks away.

See how I panic? See my resistance to rest? See my resistance to listening and self-compassion. I know that running is a source of self-care, but it’s also a source of self-care dressed up in familiar self-flagellation. Maybe that’s part of its attraction for me. It satisfies that driving Pointy-Plague Doctor who fears that if I’m not constantly whipping myself, I’ll never get anywhere.

But (and this one is a good but)!

Where am I trying to get to?

What’s the destination? Death? Surely I’m in no rush there. And if not death, then where? Success? Achievement? Thinness?

Ahh. There we are, the old lie: Dulce et Decorum est to be thin and svelte and not take up too much space in the world.

It’s still part of my brain. If this Then that. And the “that” is always some kind of nebulous happiness. If thin, then happy. If rich, then happy. If competent children, then happy. If hit social markers that I don’t even necessarily desire, then … well, you get the picture.

So, anyway. G. just came in from his morning run – it’s not like I miss it per se. I love the thought of a relaxing day with no commitments. In fact today’s “should” of working through a particular yoga routine that I know helps my back is groaning in the back of my brain like some kind of mountainous commitment. My children are at a day of childcare so the day is mine! But I don’t really know how to spend it. I know how I would have spent it this time last year: Beers, wines, drawing, decadence – after all, holidays will end before too long! Better celebrate in style before it all gets taken away from me again.

How does NuMe do this? What do I want?

I want every day to be “holidays”, but not in the old way. In the old way I wanted every day to be holidays in a devil-may-care, damn the consequences, dance through life with no cares sort of a way. Now I want every day to be holidays in that I want each moment to be mine and lived and chosen for myself.

It’s a bit much to ask. I struggle even to describe it, so how am I going to live it? If today is a last chance holiday, can’t I just go back to bed and eat marshmallows and play Bejewelled for 5 hours? Would that be so wrong? Wouldn’t that be refilling and refreshing. It’s certainly attractive, in the way that a sucking black pit of inertia is always attractive. But it’s not fulfilling.

So, what’s fulfilling then? Ticking stuff off the infinite To-Do List O’Doom? Organising stuff so that the house runs more smoothly? Cleaning the bathroom? All stuff that needs to be done, but the thought of them makes my soul die a little bit. Stuff that once done makes my environment nicer though, makes me feel more alive inside my own house. Approached from that perspective, there’s something there to be found.

My therapist would recommend doing those tasks mindfully and thus bringing them more into my life. But really, cleaning the bathroom mindfully? It’s hard to think of something more squicky to bring my focus and attention to. I can guarantee that if I clean the bathroom today (and look, I probably will) that it will be done with the least presence of mind I can possibly bring to it.

Well, I don’t know – is the answer. I think what I want is to do some drawing, finishing off some Not Funny, Just True pictures that need inking added. I’ve got some commitments that I’d call minimal to the day, so I’ll email those to myself and try to strike a balance between child-wants and adult-shoulds.

First, Yoga. And we’ll see how the day unfolds from there.

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