Or maybe I‘ll have to skip. Sorry, but I‘m on a trip to Salzburg for my husband‘s birthday. It is cold, gray and snowy but we have a great time. I‘ll tell you all about it soon.
I woke up at 6.15, apparently I had slept through my alarm which was a bit worrying. Later that morning it turned out that my Fitbit stops vibrating for alarms and timers when the battery is too low. So it wasn’t me sleeping through the alarm, it was the alarm not going off.
At least I was still early enough to make breakfast on time. Afterwards I started watching an online lecture that had been sitting there for weeks. So, progress.
We did all the usual morning things, I returned two things that I had ordered, one because I was dumb enough to order the wrong sheet music for a student and the other because it was totally not what I had expected and then I walked to the farmer’s market for asparagus and potatoes.
My husband decided to not make asparagus for lunch after all. Comfort food:
Then I fell into my usual slump after lunch but for once I did manage to do the dishes in time and did my singing warmup before teaching. The yarn I had ordered for the boy’s scarf did arrive:
Then it was student after student after student without a break until dinnertime. The boy and I decided to watch an episode of Star Trek because today is a public holiday, so no school:
That is the same beer I had when I was in London, only this time I bought it right here at home. The best before-date was the end of 2017 but the store where I bought it assured me that it would still be good. And it was.
And then I realized that yesterday’s post never went up. I had an error message at first and then forgot to try and upload it again. I’m using a blogging app which usually makes things much easier. But. It no longer worked. I think the problem is on my host’s side but I’m not sure yet. I had to copy and paste yesterday’s and today’s post and I didn’t get it to upload pictures. Seems there is another task on my to do-list. This is no fun.
So, today there will be a bit of cleaning because we decided to go out tomorrow. I hope cleaning today will make tomorrow less stressful. Also, we will be having dinner guests on Sunday which means I need to do more grocery shopping. The guests only told us which weekend they’d prefer last night. Of course I had already done all the weekly grocery shopping early because of the holiday.
Today will be a day off with maybe spinning in the afternoon, tomorrow will be somewhat crazy with yet more grocery shopping, loads of teaching and then a sprint to the train station for a concert, Saturday will be all slump plus maybe a bunch of teenagers wielding knives in our basement and Sunday will bring more knife-wielding and dinner guests with my husband’s usual cooking extravaganza. Fun!
But first I’ll do a gauge swatch for the scarf. First things first always.
So I've been feeling off, and unable to follow through with the things I want to do lately, and I've been looking for a reason and a way to get back to following my own rules and doing the things that make me happy again, and it's been really hard.
And the one thing that has been feeling like the cornerstone of all this has been my problem with running. I was in week nine of a “Couch to 10k”-program, and I just couldn't make myself run for as long as I should have. I tried skipping back to week seven so that the running intervals were shorter and easier but then I'd still think, “This is too hard, I cant do this, I don't want to do this, if I go on like this I'll keel over!” all the time, and I would stumble through the first few run intervals, and stop running thirty seconds before the end of the interval, and then at about the halfway mark I would decide that I just couldn't, or that I really had to walk to search for a new podcast episode on my cell phone, or that it was just way too hot, and then I'd walk more and more, and in the end I'd limp home and feel defeated.
And it was the same in almost every part of my life. I'd skip piano practice, I didn't even attempt to play guitar or ukulele, I'd shrug my shoulders and tell myself I could always revise my novel a bit longer the next day, and I'd go back and eat another bar of chocolate, or have another beer even though I usually don't drink during the week.
And I was feeling lousy. Still am, by the way, it's not as if I have triumphantly pulled through or anything.
And every day I would decide that this would be the day I'd turn things around, and I'd just go back to following my rules and living my life as I want, and then I'd shrug my shoulders again and tell myself, “But it's too hard! I can't!” Which is complete bullshit of course because I already did live like that and it was not too hard. It wasn't easy but it made me happy.
There was all this talk in my head. The “but I'm so tired”-argument, and the “but it's all too much”-one, and the “making an exception once won't be a problem”-one (that one's my favorite; gets me every time, and is never true).
And I knew that it was all bullshit, and I knew that I was in the process of making myself unhappy, and I still didn't want to stop. Of course it felt like I couldn't stop but at the same time I knew that was a lie. It still feels like I couldn't.
All of this was rather exhausting and ridiculous. I was starting to lose patience with myself. Being a whiny whimp is no fun. And then I was watching the Tour de France like I always do in July, and the moderator said something about how hard it is for the athletes to keep going, and to suffer every day for weeks, and then he told that the riders get mental training throughout the winter, and I was like, “Huh. Mental training. That's what I need.”
Because I already knew that it was all in my head. There is no real reason for me not to run for five minutes in one stretch. It's not super-easy but I should be fit enough to do it.
So I looked for books about mental training in sports, of course. And found that I already had one right there on my ebook reader, one that I had bought with high hopes that I had never read. It's called “How bad do you want it” by Matt Fitzgerald (and I really dislike the title because if someone asks me that question my automatic answer would be “Screw you.” Which just proves that I'm not a winner, maybe, or just really contrary.)
But even reading the first chapter of the book did indeed help me. It says that while training and physical fitness do make a difference the thing that makes the most difference of all is in your head. The people who win races, and who do things that are incredibly hard manage to do so not because it's easy for them (which is what I used to think as an unathletic girl) but because they endure the discomfort and carry on despite it.
Now you can ask why one should trot along a wood path cold and wet, your heart hammering in your chest, and your head beet red. And I would tell you you should because it feels amazing. Not always while you're doing it, not immediately afterwards though both things happen at times, no, mostly because some time later, maybe only the next day you suddenly feel more alive than ever, and you can't stop grinning because life feels so wonderful.
So after reading that first chapter (and I definitely will be reading the rest of the book for sure) I went on my next run. And I decided not to make it easier but to just go on to the next week of the program, the one where I would have to run for seven minutes and then walk for two. Until then I had been completely sure I'd never be able to do that. And at the same time I knew I was being ridiculous.
I decided that I would endure, no matter how I felt, and if I were to keel over on the path unable to get back home it would be alright because my husband would come to get me.
I did not keel over. In fact around the halfway mark while feeling really awful, hot and sweaty my pulse really high with week knees, I felt that grin spreading on my face. The one that tells me I'm really happy.
And the rest of the day that grin stayed, and I did not eat too much chocolate, and I followed my rules, and I worked on my novel for forty minutes.
Now I just have to do it again today.
So thanks for putting up with me whining last week.
While I still haven’t cleaned the house in any way (it got so bad that my husband vacuumed on the weekend which is telling), things are starting to look up.
I’m getting a little of my oomph back. So I have been able to power through the running intervals (this really was starting to get ridiculous), and I have been better at doing the daily maintenance stuff, I even managed to do the dishes before going to bed twice last week.
And there will be a glorious weekend with nothing on the agenda (apart from starting Camp NaNoWriMo yet again, and the yearly Tour de Fleece of course). At least we’re not spending the whole weekend biking through the rain, attending a party and sleeping in a tent which were our original plans.
Binge eating has been a little more controlled, and beer consumption is a little down. I still feel somewhat paralyzed, and I think it’s a combination of stress, attempting to finish novel three of the trilogy, and heat.
Teaching seems to pick up again which is good, and one way or the other I will get back to writing and revising.
I keep thinking that it’s important to share the lows along with the highs because otherwise you’d think there are people who have everything under control without ever slipping up. And one starts feeling like a complete loser if there is backsliding.
But I’ve come to reailze that backsliding is inevitable and something to plan for. And then you pick yourself up again, and you realign your goals and you change tactics, and then you start again.
And some day it will all come together and work.
But never for long.
But that’s okay because then we just change tactics until it works again.
So you might remember me being all enthusiastic about getting up at five and finally moving forward on all my goals.
That didn’t last long.
I never managed to go to bed early enough, and so I didn’t have any energy, of course, and then we had that big performance, and I moved my sleep schedule back to normal, and then I just couldn’t get back into the groove.
Plus I still felt weird about the whole affirmation-thing.
Since I wasn’t getting anything done, and since I was still so tired that I was binge-eating almost every night I decided that getting enough sleep had to become my top priority. So I’m going to bed some time between 9.30 and 10 at the moment, and then I sleep until I wake up or until 6.30, whatever happens first.
And I’m back to my old routine of only writing in my journal when I have some extra time before getting up, and of meditating and writing on my novel right after breakfast. The bad thing about this is that I often don’t want to write because I never know when my husband will be getting up and coming over for breakfast. As I’m writing this it’s 8.45, and he can be here any moment. It could also be that he will show up at 9.30, this makes my mornings a little unpredictable.
But I decided to be cool with this and to just move things around as needed. Yesterday he was up real early but then I sat down to write at noon, something I never do. And it went well. But it was hard too.
I’m not back at a point where doing the things I want to do every day feels in any way easy. Sometimes I doubt that they will ever feel easy. I’m probably doomed to be a person who has to force herself to do the dishes every single time. Which does become a little exhausting. I seem to be a person full of resistance every single step of the way.
Like with running. I am right in the middle of doing a Couch to 10K-programm. I have now done week six and seven three times or so, and I still don’t manage to run for longer than two minutes at a time. Each time I vow that this time I won’t give up early, and power through. And each time I have some stupid excuse that I just can’t go on. It is too hot. There is someone with a dog, and I don’t want to run when the dog can see me because I’m afraid it will bite me. I have to walk so I can listen better to my podcast. Also it is way too hot.
And every time I swear to myself that this time I will run all three minutes, every single time, and then every single time I don’t do it. And every single evening I solemnly swear that I will brush my teeth right after dinner and get ready for bed, and not eat any chocolate or almonds or peanuts, and then every single day I find myself sitting in bed eating and feeling miserable. Mind you, I also feel miserable if I don’t eat chocolate, that’s why I do it, at that moment it feels better to eat and at least have that little splinter of pleasure instead of not eating. The only problem is that that makes me gain weight again, and I don’t like gaining weight either.
So I guess I have to learn to be just a little harder to myself. Because trying to feel good and comfortable all the time makes me really miserable in the long run.
So I’m trying. Every single day, and I’m failing. Every single day. And I’m running out of patience with myself but I still don’t want to give up.
Because that would be the alternative. Leaning back thinking, „Oh, I’ll just not write a novel than, no problem.“ and „Oh, I just get back to walking, who needs to be able to run?“ and also, „Well, I guess I’m just not cut out to be a slim person, people in my family have always been a bit on the chubby side.”
Which would be perfectly alright. Because many, many people would be happy having the life I have even without the writing and the running and the being thin.
Only I wouldn’t.
And that’s my dilemma.
I know what I need to do in order to be happy but I don’t do it because it doesn’t feel good while I do it.
So. What do you do when you find yourself in a situation like this? Give up? Try harder? Something else?
and I feel like I am in a transition period again because two days from now our son and I are going to visit my parents for a week.
I’m pretty busy because I had wanted to finish the rough draft of the current novel until yesterday (which didn’t happen), and also I still need to sew most of the clothes I want to take with me. Which is completely reasonable.
See, the weather will be wet and hot while we’re at my parents, and I don’t have anything I can wear. I still haven’t bought myself new tank tops, or shorts, or even t-shirts. I do have enough fabric for a knit sundress, though, and I found that if I alter my denim wrap skirt, and finish hand-sewing the tank top I started last year, and sew elastics in a pair of leggings that are almost finished I will have enough clothes to last me through a week with the weather we’re supposed to have next week.
Of course I could have finished all these things sooner but I needed to also record the English episode of the podcast, and publish it, and today I will have to record the next regular episode of the podcast – so that I can stay within schedule – and that makes the whole thing a little harder.
And then our son and my mother-in-law decided to start taking the old furniture in his new room apart, and though I didn’t know anything about that beforehand I still felt compelled to help. I’m pretty proud of our son, he worked like crazy for hours yesterday, and only hit himself with a hammer once. His finger will be fine in a few days.
Of course the weather at my parents’ will be worse than here at home. At least now it says there will be lots of rain.
And traveling always throws me completely off so there’s that.
Well, I still have an hour until dinnertime so I better get started on all the sewing, don’t I?