Every now and then, you need a time for reflection. Life has this habit of taking you by storm and next thing you know, you’ve fallen into a series of bad habits (too much take-out, too much TV, not exercising, etc) that make you feel bad both mentally and physically, and cause a sort of fatigue that is not easily cured. This is a fairly common occurrence in our household. We’re very busy, constantly taking on new projects, working absurd hours, in my case, perpetually in school and all of these things that we do mean that we make sacrifices for our own wellness.
When I was in college I decided that I didn’t really want to be in college, but needed the degree for a good job. So I jam packed 18 credits a semester and I worked full-time because financial independence was very important to me. I found time to read and hang out with friends and all of the things a young person is supposed to do, but at great sacrifice to my health and well-being. I was extremely depressed my first year in college, I worked out obsessively and then swung wildly in the other direction and gained a lot of weight and in both instances I barely slept. By the time I graduated (a semester early, no less) I was getting perhaps 2 hours of sleep a night and commuting from my hometown in VA to D.C. and back down to Richmond for school and work and getting sick on the regular. While in hindsight, I’m thankful I did this because I had a full-time professional job before I graduated (and for the record, I graduated with the class that was first hit severely by the recession), it was something I’m going to try never to repeat and I would never suggest anyone do it.
After college I continued commuting to work though my home location changed a few times, and six months after hell-semester (what I’ve coined my senior semester) ended, I started grad school. And the cycle of self-abuse continued. I did do crossfit, and attempt to stay active (though unfortunately my zeal for my new-found love of crossfit ended in two injuries) and I of course tried to eat healthy with vegan, organic, etc food, but ultimately, the years of commuting and the constant yo-yoing between healthy eating and unhealthy eating just got to me, and that was the biggest push to move to our new house.
But your body can’t exist off of a diet of bad food, no sleep, and cortisol (the hormone that’s released by the adrenal gland during a stress-triggered event). It’s debilitating. And that’s been my existence for too long.
Now that we’re here, we’re trying very hard not to fall back into bad habits, but it’s not easy and for the most part we’ve been largely unsuccessful. I’m fully prepared to admit that I’m a neurotic overachiever, and that’s generally what gets me. Every time I opt to make changes, I self-sabotage through my insane need to do *more*. But a few Saturdays ago, I really feel as if I hit a turning point and I’m hoping that it is a permanent one. I also hope that writing about it helps me continue on this much better path.
You see, I ran (well, sort of) the Hero Rush obstacle course. I know these are all the rage, and I have mixed feelings about them (the macho-attitude induces a “you have to do everything as hardcore as possible or you’re a pathetic weakling” mentality that leads to injuries or worse (and I know this because both my joint injuries were a by-product of me succumbing to that mentality)) but I do think they’re great for encouraging physical fitness and they’re fun. I just wish that people would relax about them and focus on the fun part, not the fit part – this will seem a bit hypocritical when I get to my next point, a fact of which I’m fully aware. I did fine time wise which trust me, was a huge shock to me and I’m sure my wonderful friends that hung back to keep up with me, but all prior to the race I didn’t prepare or train and that really, really screwed me over. I came away with blisters, an intense aching soreness that prevented me from walking correctly from days, bruises all up and down my legs and a profound shame for how much I let my fitness slide.
But it wasn’t just fitness, it was my motivation to be something better, my ambition to do what I wanted in life, my attempts to keep my life in order in the finance and organizational sense. I just felt like I let everything slide. This failure (or what I perceived as a failure) brought everything to the forefront. To top it off, I have a condition in which on a day-to-day basis I experience pain and all of these things that I let slide are things that would ultimately make me feel so much better and reduce my reliance on drug therapies. But like most people, I can be incredibly stupid.
So, I decided to stop being the kind of person I hate (the I-want-to-change-but-can-never-do-it kind of people), and started making changes. It’s week 2 and while I wouldn’t say I feel physically better (I boneheadly fractured my wrist like 3 days after Hero Rush) I definitely feel mentally better.
To help me do this, I decided to make a meal plan. Now, I’m terrible at meal plans and I haven’t really stuck to this to a T, but it’s definitely keeping us on track. We even managed to build a grocery list that we’ve only slightly deterred from. If I can stick with it for a few weeks, I’ll post it. But got to make sure it passes the tried and true test before I endorse it.
Ultimately, I feel that any sort of change has to be self-initiated and it has to be driven by ones own desires. I’d like to not feel like a slob all the time, so therefore, I’m not going to. Will it be easy? No, but I’d like to think that I have enough self-motivation to make it happen.
I’ll post from time to time on the progress and where I am with it. But in the meantime, here’s a picture of my cat riding my new bike (the last one was stolen :()