When we think of stress, we think of bad things, right? But when “experts” talk about stress, they say that even things that are GOOD in our lives are stressful.
Like getting married – that ranks way up there in the stress department!
Yesterday we had one of our twice yearly graduation ceremonies. It was our largest graduating class in the 12 years that we have been up and running! It was SO gratifying and humbling and powerful to have a moment in time to celebrate with the graduates and their families.
Having said that, it is a ton of work to put these events on, and also emotionally draining. Yesterday, after the ceremony, while everyone was enjoying pizza and cake, and I was running around making sure that the pizza was stocked and cake was cut and napkins and plates and forks were all out and everyone had everything they needed, one of the women I worked with came up and said to me “You look EXHAUSTED!”
I got back to my office after I had most of the cleanup done at about 2PM and I realized I was just standing in my office and I was shaking.
I called my boss and said “Listen, I don’t want to be a drama queen – it’s not exactly like I work in the coal mines but I am shot!” I told her that I was going to spend the next two hours trying to get everything done and if I did that, I wanted to start my vacation a day early. I got it done, needless to say.
But when I got home I was still in a hyped up, anxious state. I hadn’t exercised yet that day AND had brought home cake to eat. This amplified the guilt and anxiety. I grabbed the dogs and we starting walking – but it had to be SLOWLY, as my hamstring was a little achy from running around all day and in heels to boot.
And as I walked slowly, with the dogs happy as could be beside me, I thought about how I haven’t been running, and about calories and about my weight. And I realized that exercise has become a punishment. Even walking the dogs has turned in POWER WALKING ONLY to burn as many calories as possible.
And that made me very, very sad. And I realized that since I was walking slowly that I was relaxed, and enjoying myself.
What a concept.
Today, my first day on vacation, Marc and I cleaned and did some packing and then threw the bikes in Dexter and headed out to a marina near the water. And we rode.
For three hours we rode and talked and soaked in the beautiful fall sun. And I tried as hard as I could not to think about whether I was burning “enough” calories. I tried to be in the moment.
We arrived back at Dexter at almost exactly 37 miles. And I grinned at Marc and he knew I wanted to go to 40 and so we did. Not because we had to. Not because I needed to burn 75 more calories. But because I was having fun and because I thought that having had this bike only a couple of weeks and being able to put in 40 miles is pretty fucking awesome.
I don’t know where this leaves me right now, completely. I do know that I don’t want to continue the way I have been and that something needs to give. I also know I can’t bear to gain any more weight.
I hope this vacation will refresh and restore me and allow me to come back with a clear head and some clear goals that don’t involve self-induced torture!