Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you’re doing? Whether it’s a diet, an exercise program, wiping your kid’s butt, or paying for laundry — sometimes we just want to see an end to things.
To me an end means a sense of completion. Or stopping. There is a sense of a finish line we cross and don’t have to keep doing all that hard work. We have achieved our goal and can now just enjoy ourselves. Why doesn’t this happen? Our goals are transient and once we achieve something, it’s almost harder to stay at that level. It’s like losing 10 lbs but then having to keep it off. It’s not that you won’t ever eat carbs again, it’s that you have to learn to live your life with eating less carbs - most of the time. It’s an attitude and lifestyle change.
I used to imagine that one day I would wake up and things would be perfect. I still think that, although I am much, much less hopeful on the results. I don’t count on it anymore. I hoped that one day I would wake up and my hair would flow in such a way that not one hair curled in the wrong direction, that my waist would be slim and strong and that I could not literally grasp the evidence of overindulgent muffins, and that — from this strange concept of physical beauty — my mental status would be beaming happiness wherever I went. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t want Cinderella’s life, but part of me did wish for miraculous transformation that I thought would somehow address what plagued my unhappy state.
Things don’t happen overnight. Change happens cumulatively. I am not perfect.
My running has suffered. My coach has been so patiently listening to me as I cry and flubber about what doesn’t make sense. I analyze and fret about this. I pay for his coaching services, but worry that my fee will not cover him being a friend.
Most of what I feel could be attributed to post-race blues – the high of success followed by a lack of motivation, unexplained fatigue, and lack of direction. I’ve been here before; it took me a few months of slogging after my marathon last year before I finally felt as though I was actually “running” again. It happens. But this time it feels as though I’m addressing more of my sense of expectations.
I’ve run a lot less lately. I’d taken the joy out of running and created a sense of guilt (will get fat if I don’t run), fear (will run slower if I don’t run) and frustration (I don’t like running but I have to run). Exercising like this sucks. It’s tiring and it makes me tired.
I process things slowly; change is not my forte. I think part of my general life anxiety is that I tend to create mysterious scenarios that I have to contend with before I can move on or let go of a situation. Worry creates fear creates anxiety creates one tired mama. I’m tired of being tired. Not just physically, but the mental drag of never enjoying anything.
I feel like I’ve hit bottom. That was about a week ago. My coach has taken a very different approach with me now — one I could have probably used about 6 years ago, but wasn’t ready to accept until now. My focus is to go and do with zero expectations. There is no finish line or time or number of days I need to do anything. I need to take care of myself and go with what I can do, not with what I expect to do. I just need basics.
It’s funny how accepting common sense is one of the hardest things we’ll ever have to face.