It’s been 11 days since I posted a blog, and I didn’t even know it.
When I first started blogging, I committed to posting once a week. I was on fire for a while, able to prewrite and schedule things for weeks in advance. It’s like I had just uncovered a dormant fire within, dying to get out. I had so much to say! And it was healing.
It’s still healing, and I still have a lot to say (and imagine that I always will), but I’m more open on regular social outlets and find it way more manageable, and fair to Alison to not set a designated schedule to be inspired. I don’t really know what I want to say today, but I know I’d like to say something. I’ve accumulated some sticky-notes on my second work monitor, and they’re working:
“Slow down”. “Pause. Pray. Proceed.” “Take the emotion out of it!” “I love you! Have a great day.” (from Michael, in case the story in my head tells me he doesn’t, and I need tangible evidence that he does).
In the middle of these stickies is a daily affirmation card that I pull before work each morning. Sometimes they jive immediately, and other times I have to let them marinate. Most always, it’s a spiritual message I can afford to think about and take to heart.
Topic: my heart. Never have I given myself full permission to be OK with exactly who I am, as I am, right now. Never have I given myself permission to celebrate me with no one else pumping pom-poms nearby. Never have I given myself permission to show up every day, in a cadence that works for me, and mind my own business without your explicit direction. Never have I been satisfied with what is right now.
So, what is right now? We’re less than a week out of Christmas, just ahead of the New Year. Most would say they cannot wait for 2020 to be over, and I say … 2020 gave me more than I ever imagined possible. Just when I thought 2019 was chalk full of lessons: winning the hardest race to date, breaking my leg, Mike moving in, and earning our annual sales trip; 2020 has made those things pale in comparison.
COVID came just after my final ortho visit in February/March. I ran as many miles as my leg would allow into July, before I said, “I’m done here”. I changed my training and my food for the summer and have emerged a new body – literally. I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible about the magic of food, the resourcefulness of the body, and the resiliency of our makeups. I’ve let go of competition and am fully immersed in spending time: with myself, with the people I love, in my recovery, and in my life.
It’s not that competition didn’t give me a lot of that – I don’t regret one registration fee or sufferfest explored, but I now want different things. I now want to be with people, not constantly running away from them. I now want to spend time with people, not hoping one day they’ll jump on my bandwagon that is slaying 40 miles at a time. I now want to invest in my future: my money, my relationships, my heart. I no longer want to be away doing something, chasing a goal. I want to be here, where I am, right now.
I still have goals, huge goals. 2020 has proven that it’s good to have those and to pursue them fully: I published my story, I’ve set out to expand my social platform and “brand” and get onto podcasts, I’m a ¼ deal away from earning our annual sales trip again, Mike and I are cruising forward, both still fully intact and reasonably happy every day, and I see my family more than in years prior, even with COVID. I have amazing friends, supportive role models, and a tight community that speaks my language in every dialect that I use. I have learned how to sit stiller, wait longer, and be. I have learned that my sense of urgency is quite nerve wracking on the receiving end, and that I don’t want to be like that anymore. I have learned that my stories aren’t true, and that I can make new ones at any time. I’ve learned that I really can trust the process, the entire process, and it will work out for my betterment.
I guess that’s the underlying theme heading into a time when most people make new resolves to “be better”, “be greater”, “smash goals”, “change everything”. I don’t believe in that anymore. I do believe in settings your sights higher, in writing out business plans and making vision boards and improving yourself every day, but I don’t believe in starting something on a specific day to make yourself all or nothing, better or best. I believe in continuing, if it’s working for you. I believe in incremental, daily moments of grace and willingness if it’s not. I believe in daily opportunities to try again. I believe in adjusting just enough so that it’s sustainable.
Like, if you drink mostly soda and want to quit drinking soda, maybe add water in between those sodas, first. Or if you want to get into the gym like the rest of the world on January 2 and vow to make it last longer than half of February, yet haven’t gotten off of the couch or left your house since March, maybe start with stretching in the morning and walking. Walking is the least respected and underutilized FREE exercise existing on the planet. Start walking. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend walking. Add in some air squats (also free), push-ups from your knees (also free with no equipment) and then we’ll talk about a gym membership.
Of course, by now you know that fitness is my favorite topic to geek out about besides food, spirituality and emotional health. I believe fitness can make the world a better place. People are naturally kinder when they are worked out; endorphins are higher, bodies are more relaxed, oxygen is flowing, anxiety is down. I believe less people would need medication if they’d just move a little bit. And not even a lot! You don’t have to have aesthetic goals, strength goals or even any overarching fitness goal beyond getting healthier so you can live longer and more comfortably. But you can want to feel better, and be better, and be more resilient. Physical challenges make us more resilient. You will learn more about yourself emotionally if you move your body than if you sit here reading my blog. (But please do that too).
My challenge to all of us in this coming New Year is to not make any resolutions, but to make sustainable, daily, incremental changes toward being better: physically, emotionally, spiritually. My challenge to all of us in this coming New Year is to not trash 2020 as if it was the worst thing that ever happened to us but look at all of the ways in which it demanded us to grow and get better now. My challenge to all of us is to celebrate how we’ve changed, how we’re willing to continue to change, and how we’re going to do it through action.
No one has ever gotten better by writing a list and hoping. No one has ever gotten better by standing by and praying for motivation. You get better by doing. You get better by acting. And so, dear reader, start doing something different that makes you better – right now.
Happy New Year. I guess for not knowing what to say, I found a way to say it.