Things I Don’t Do: Pace Myself

Busy Brain

As I was walking this morning I thought about my pace. Was I going too fast? Too slow? Was this 1/2-hour walk really worth my time? You’re not pushing yourself, Don! So then I jogged for about 1/4-mile until I got out-of-breath and stopped. I felt defeated because 4 or 5 years go, I didn’t get to easily winded. So I walked faster …arms pumping like I was in a race, but I thought that I must’ve looked stupid so I stopped and just started walking at a normal pace. Yup. Worried about how I looked to other people at 6:05 a.m. when there aren’t any other people seeing me. I could be walking in a bikini and nobody would notice or care. I was both mad and depressed that this was my new version of exercise – brisk walking.

Well, when summer comes and I can get in the pool, I thought, then I can really work my muscles and increase my cardio fitness level. I wish I could play soccer on a men’s league but I can’t run. Why did I quit my bowling league? I really enjoyed that. But that’s not exercise. I’m fat and doughy. Why don’t I have any self-discipline anymore like I used to?

Yes, that was my morning. I took a nice 1/2-hour walk with my dog on a perfect morning (49 degrees, sunny) while an audio book played on my ear-buds, and I spent most of the time beating myself up about the quality and pace of my walk.

Truly. I didn’t hear a word of the audio book because I was lost in my self-loathing and anxiety.

During Lent I was going to try and focus on being mindful of my moments. To enjoy a book when I’m enjoying a book, and not daydreaming about what I’m not doing. To enjoy a walk and some music or an audio book when I’m walking and look around and notice trees, flowers, birds and such. To spend time with my kids and actually be with them instead of on my Twitter or Facebook or phone checking or thinking about work or my writing assigments and anything else my brain tends to gravitate to when it shouldn’t.

Lent is over. I didn’t do so well. In fact, I failed. I listed three things I was going to do …stop talking negatively about people, stop yelling, and being “mindful.” I guess I sorta accmplished two out of three – the negative talking stopped, and I mostly didn’t yell at my kids, but they made it tough, sometimes. Nope …I won’t blame them. That’s on me.

But “mindfulness” was probably my most important, and I failed.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Lent 2.0. Give me another 40 days and nights. I can do this.

Follow me @donkowalewski.

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