Running a day in my shoes

I went running yesterday. It looks so easy when you see someone else doing it. Let’s just say I thought I was dying there for several minutes. I was only active for 30 minutes but the after-effects were felt for a couple of hours. It’s crazy because running, like other activities, seems so harmless and painless, until you’re running in your own shoes.

Reality check. I can give advice. Dish it out cold and with a full set of instructions. Because I know. Like saving money. At the end of the month I have big plans. I’m NOT going to spend money so freely the next month. I’m going to budget and put more into savings! That’s right about the time I get the clever idea that I will wash my car and my kitchen will stay clean. Yep, I have grandiose plans.

While I was going up the hill, I kept thinking, this is what it’s like when reality hits the road. It’s a good thing. It helps me to filter through my whims. I can decide what it is that I really want, not just the fun ideas from Pinterest or the things the commercials tell me I want. Reality checks help me see through the romanticized life.

A perfect marriage is one of those things. I knew of a couple which from all appearances were wonderful together. Both entrepreneurs and similar lifestyles. They traveled worldwide together. It all seemed so beautifully romantic and perfect. But it wasn’t  They are now going their separate ways. If you are working on a marriage and both parties are cooperative you can come to a workable solution. You live and alter your expectations continually until you have a realistic livable life.

Life feels different when you’re stepping out to do your version. No matter how many books and videos you’ve seen it never feels like you think it should. You may know how you want it to look. As you walk out your front door, when you are out there alone, you can feel naked and vulnerable. It seems everyone is looking at you and judging you. All of your doubts are exposed and your ineptness is showing. But it’s not. Truly other people rarely notice your flaws in the way that you do. Mostly we rarely notice anyone but ourselves. When we do see them, we see them as “that other person” and we get back to our own life. 

There’s a reality check in actually doing an activity. So as I was walking up the hill struggling to get my breath, cars passed and kept on driving. I continued on in my introspective way, knowing what it feels like to begin running. To begin a process and work it through. No one was critiquing my stance or pace. I was simply someone walking up a steep hill. I do enjoy the running, just not the wheezing and the hills. I will look for some alternate running places and maybe invest in some better shoes.

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Like a New Pair of Glasses

I recently got new glasses. I’ve worn contacts for years, but my eyes itched from allergies, so I decided to update my glasses. As I was driving down a familiar ramp, onto a familiar street, it occurred to me to pay closer attention. Even though the road is familiar and the narrow ramp hasn’t changed, my eyesight had. The ramp sidewall looked closer and if I wasn’t paying attention, I could easily scrape my car on the side. 

If your life has changed

Imagine what it would be like if you made a major change in your lifestyle. I’m not referring to the color of your hair or even in the car you drive. Something more along the lines of a sex change or becoming suddenly rich or suddenly poor. How long would it take to adjust? It seems that becoming suddenly rich would be easy. Take off the brakes and let it rip! Right? It’s not always that easy, even though we’d like to try it. Take something as simple as a new car or borrowing a car of a friends. You’ve never driven this vehicle before. It’s hood is a lot longer. The car is a bit wider. It will make parking it in the normal spot at work or the grocery store more difficult. Maybe you’ll park it farther out in the parking lot. Which will mean walking more to get inside. You should probably leave for work 5 or 10 minutes earlier or else you might be late. If you have to park far away, your feet will hurt.

Dramatic changes, even good ones, can upset your balance. Imagine wearing tight shoes. It hurts to walk and we want to stop. So if your walk and your stamina changes by such a little thing as tight shoes, imagine what it would be like to dramatically change your life, such as a sex change. I realize that there’s probably no one reading this blog that’s thinking of changing their life that much, but if something that big happened to you, how long could you handle it before you would want to revert to your comfortable self?

Maybe the change is something you wanted. Or you had no choice at all as in losing a spouse to cancer. There’s no going back. The shoes that are too tight and that change your walk can come off at the end of the day. Being a widow or widower can’t.

So why am I mentioning this? Because changing your life even for your own health, is difficult. Like too tight shoes, you can easily toss most things to the wind. Why bother? It’s not worth this much effort. The meals the doctor want me to eat cost too much, or they take a long time to prepare. It’s easier to stop at a fast food place for a dollar burger. Am I right?

If we want to upgrade our life, we need to learn how to adapt. If we’re forced by fate to accept a new life, give ourselves some time to adapt. No new thing is comfortable. Discomfort is okay. Learn this new person. Because just like with a new pair of glasses or driving a different car, we have to become familiar with all the newness.

Be kind and forgiving. Sit down. Rest. Then get back up and start again. If you splurged on an extra cookie or two, don’t punish yourself. For the next meal carry on as usual. No punishing by making yourself skip the next dessert.

Most often we sabotage ourselves. People that divorce will remarry quickly and end up with the same situation as before. They didn’t allow themselves to readjust. Discomfort overwhelmed them and they wanted to fix their pain. If they could have given themselves more time to heal and process their emotions, instead of slapping on a quick bandage fix, they could have become a much stronger person. We cheat ourselves and sell ourselves short. We don’t think we are strong enough to make it through the emptiness. The dark cave scares all of us. It’s what we do when we are the most afraid that matters. Can we keep on walking through or do we panic and start slashing our imaginary demons?

Growth can only happen if we let ourselves be uncomfortable. Let ourselves feel the anxiety of a new situation. We avoid anxiety. I do at least, but I also know that if I let myself go through an unfamiliar situation I can transform it into a familiar situation. This new thing becomes an old familiar road once again and I have expanded my territory. Most people, as they get older, cling more and more to the familiar. We retire to a smaller home. Maybe sell all but one car. You have fewer friends since you’re not working. The ever-expanding life you once had is now shrinking. It just happens. Taking on challenges is what the young ones do. There’s not anything forcing us to dare or to try anymore, so we don’t.

I don’t want to become rigid as I grow older. I want to continue taking challenges. Since there’s no one around to force me to try new things, I must continually expose myself to new ideas. I want to keep growing. To not become stale. This will need self-discipline and steadiness on my part to stay with the unfamiliar until it becomes familiar to me.

Aha! Another level beaten! Where’s my prize?