“The warrior who trusts his path doesn’t need to prove the other is wrong.” – Paulo Coelho
I’ve been thinking a lot about choices. Specifically, that what it all really boils down to is CHOICE. We each make choices every. single. day. about how to do the next right thing. For me, this is what it means to be a grown-up. For a while there, in my “grown-up” years, I behaved like a child. I did not consider choice or even accept the fact that I had one. I let life happen to me and blamed external factors when everything went to shit. I whined like a child and stomped my feet, demanding attention. And then I was baffled and hurt when people treated me poorly. I lacked any form of self-awareness. To be fair, I believe that in those times, I was so engulfed in sadness, regret and fear that my eyes were not focused enough to see beyond the messes I had created. To me, choice was a luxury buried in shame.
Thankfully, I now know that I have a choice. Many choices, in fact! Every damn day.
At first, having choices is overwhelming. It can be easier (in a sick kind of way) to passively say: “OH WELL – it is what it is – nuthin’ I can do about it!” and just let life pummel you and mold you into someone you hardly recognize anymore.
I used to operate on this theory: Making choices = chance of failure. Failure = end of the world. Following that logic, it is safer to remain stagnant or remain a victim.
The other part of my genius theory was: Making a choice inevitably = making someone mad. Making someone mad = end of the world.
Again, following that way of thinking leads to immobility & never ever growing up.
When I think about my choices these days, I prefer to allow myself the freedom and autonomy of a healthy adult woman & ask myself: “What’s your truth, Erin?” Sometimes it takes a loooooooooong time and a lot of hand-wringing (or running or writing or talking) to get to that truth. Sometimes it takes a few tries. Sometimes I bomb, drop the ball, screw up and make a mistake.
Is that the end of the world? No. Is everyone mad at me? Probably not. They are too busy making their own damn choices! :)
Why am I thinking so much about choices these days? Perhaps it’s partially due to the 14 yr old I live with…watching my son grow up and explore his interests, expand his comfort zone, define himself…It is pretty mind-blowing. Really – Sometimes I just sit in awe of him: “How is he so dang comfortable in his own skin?” Whose kid is that?? I was SO not like that at his age. He is really inspiring to me. This is the magical aspect of parenting that I find so fascinating: LEARNING FROM OUR KIDS. Love that.
Also, it is partially due to a shift I feel in my attitude towards POSSIBILITIES. What is possible, REALLY? As I look around me, I see that a LOT is possible. Even for 40-something single mamas like me who must work full-time, solo parent, juggle all the balls. Yeah I have my limitations but I also have possibilities. What I choose to do with them is up to me.
Running-wise, I am tired of stagnation. I have big goals in this department and in order to reach those buggers I need to start small. (remember how I’m not good at moderation!? starting small is hard for me!) I need a plan. I have a plan!
Here is what I have found works for me:
- Plunking down $$ for a goal race. (still working on this choice!) Once my money is on something, it matters more.
- Writing down my daily workouts, a week in advance. Sticking to this AS MUCH AS I CAN. This plan MUST include speedwork. *not my strength*
- Running some of my runs with friends. I love the camaraderie and run talk-therapy is priceless.
- Adding in 3x per week strength/yoga/core. Helps my running exponentially.
- Last & most importantly: nutrition. Here’s the rub: I know what my best “running weight” is and I am not at it. Why? I 100% attribute it to a lack of mindful eating. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders in the past, I am not the biggest fan of diets, deprivation, counting calories, etc. Those methods feel oppressive and tend to backfire. (they may work beautifully for others, but not me) For many years I have managed to maintain a healthy weight by eating what I would say is a pretty crappy diet. Really it was probably 75% fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein (all good) and 25% pure sugar & coffee. (notsogood) This pattern has caught up with me and I am (finally) saying GOOD RIDDANCE. I am using Purium products to kick my sugar habit to the curb and attempt to get my poor sluggish metabolism back on track. The extra special bonus benefits of doing so have been amazing and keep me motivated. (better sleep, even mood, clearing up of my life-long eczema, sharper focus).
Every single one of those 5 points up there are CHOICES! woo-hoo! Meaning: daily opportunities to DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING….or, daily opportunities to screw up, notice the screw up, note it, learn from it, and get the hell on with my day.
There is a freedom in establishing goals and making them known. It can be scary to say them out loud while fully aware that what works for me may not work for you…and that’s OKAY. By sharing, I firmly believe we gain a greater appreciation for each other & for ourselves. A recognition that we are each fantastically unique and at the same time basically not so different at all.