Friday, August 27, 2010

A letter to myself:

Dear H,

Will you please for the love of Zehnder's Oreo frozen yogurt with peanut butter cup topping tell me what's going on with you this week? Remember running? Remember that? Hey, and keeping your house clean? Um... not so much this week, apparently. You started off the year like gangbusters, and are you really going to tell me that today you skipped a morning run just because you "didn't feel like it?" Not cool, Partington. Not cool.

But let's talk about what you did do this week. You've shown so much initiative elsewhere. Lunch-making and dinner-making? Wonderful. (Your first attempt at chicken curry last night was not to shabby.) I'm pleased that you've eaten well all week and that between you and E you've managed to get it together and make a green smoothie every morning. Your scale is thanking you ("run for fitness, eat for weight loss"--or in this case, just overall health), and I'm pretty proud of you for your packed lunches. They're like a little love letter to yourself every day at 11:09. So you can be proud of those things. Food is love, man. Your kids had something to eat for every meal and most of it was healthy. In my book that's a win.

I also see how hard you're trying at school. I know to some people two weeks in might seem like it's not so far into the school year to be feeling wrung-out, but you know the truth and you're still workin' your tail off. You know the fatigue that sets in after the first week, the aching feet, swollen legs and throbbing neck pain of the all-day-stander-upper. You know how those kids look at you like you're from Mars just because you're on the other side and they don't know you yet. But you're hanging in there, P. That's something. It seems like you're making a difference--only time will tell, but the kids are falling in line exactly as they're supposed to. Well, most of them. Maybe some of them will actually learn something this year--small victories--even if it's just learning how not to act like a whirling dervish in a classroom, you know you'd be happy.

But we do need to talk about balance. Even with an early bedtime every night this week, even though you've been diligent in your resistance training, you've been slacking on the morning running. Exhaustion, nerves about the dark, and lack of motivation have gotten the better of you. Maybe time to re-evaluate your goals? Maybe running another half marathon is good enough not to warrant the use of phrases like "good enough." Maybe it's just good. Hey, you had one of your best runs ever on Monday morning. Maybe it's not about ridiculous amounts of mileage for you right now, just good clean fun and fitness. Maybe you should scrap the idea of "training" altogether and just be a healthy person with no finish line. Maybe that's what you should do. These are things you should think about. You love running, but you don't love guilt. It's time to examine your goals and make sure they're a recipe for positive self-affirmation and not guilt and shame when you can't reach them.  It's time to think about your fitness in terms of daily joy rather than a finish line.  You've spent some time thinking about that as a life philosophy before.

You need to walk more, too. When you were walking this summer, you were a lot happier. Being outside is awesome. You always like it, and you love it when you're fortunate enough to have company. I know that the hours after school each night are precious and I know that you generally negate a few of them by passing out in exhaustion after the kids do their homework. But I think your soul would be happier if you did take the time to get out there and just move. You know it makes you more likely to run, too. And for Pete's sake go buy some pepper spray so you don't have an excuse to hide in fear on the mornings when the big scary dark looms outside your door. You'll thank me.

Overall, you can be proud of what you're doing. Priorities are lined up, but now habit needs to kick in. If you can bring some of the planning and energy to your exercise routine that you have set up for the kids (and for cooking) you'll be glad. The housework will get done this weekend--it's time to just let that go. But everyone at your house knows they're loved and you and E have navigated another week successfully. Plus--hey--payday is about to happen; that's never a bad thing.

Take care,

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