Today, I rode my bike 11 miles after riding only 5 miles total in more than a year. My normal mode would have been to over think things, and I wouldn’t have ridden at all. You know…what if the group is faster than I am (they were). I don’t really have the right bike (I rode my mountain bike while everyone else had skinny little road bikes). I’m not ready for hills (and I never really will be…but gearing down to tricycle speed, I made it up the hills). It was fun…because that was my only goal.
If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I’m working on changing the ingrained scripts in my head about what is a successful, happy life. I’m trying to live more simply and experientially. And along with that comes a reexamination of goal-setting. Like Swingset, I’ve re-committed to writing and exercising regularly. And doing less of other things, in my case, owning and maintaining things. Most of my life (and I still struggle with this) my goal(s) were too high. Partially because I’m interested in a lot of things and partially because of lifelong messages about what is a disciplined, responsible, and thoughtful person. Write 10 pages every day. Run 4 times/week and strength train 3 times/week and do a little cross-training (bicycle, yoga, swim). And spend time in reflection/prayer/mediation daily. Read more…novels and nonfiction. Keep up with the latest research in my field. Be a better mother, wife, daughter, friend. Send more birthday cards. And when I didn’t succeed (and I never lived up to my “ideals”), I’d wrestle with disappointment.
And now, for the second half. I’ve decided that living a happier life means being gentler on myself. I’d never be as hard on others as I am on myself. So when I started running three years ago, I decided this would not be another area in my life driven by hard goals. The only goal is to actually do it. Distance, time, events…all negotiable and less important than the fact that I’m actually running. And it wouldn’t be possible without social support, not for me. So I’m thankful that I’ve had friends who also want running to be about friendship, feeling better, having fun…not grueling workouts and competitive comparisons. As I was running with a friend one day I said,”We need a name for women like us who are happy to adjust to whatever is needed, so long as we’re doing it.” She said, “We’re called, laid back.” I smiled. That’s not something I’ve been called much in my life…just ask my husband. Maybe there’s hope for this new lifestyle.