Now that the weather has been a bit kinder and the sun’s incandescence seems to be boasting gracefully along the soothing southern winds, I’ve been spending a lot more time running outside. I realize for some people, running just isn’t their thing… whereas for others like myself, it is medicine to the soul… truly.
I prefer running outdoors but the trails and pavement can be a bit hard on my knees. Whenever I am down by the shore, I'm always running on the boards or along the sea. But for the most part, my feet can be found pounding against the track of the treadmill since I can control the incline and this machine always gives back to the bounce in my knees. The thumping is less harsh on these 33 year-old bones. But no matter where I am running, I feel free. It's a naturally epic high for me.
I throw on the latest trance and epic vocal Ibiza tracks over my ears and zone out for anywhere from seven to ten miles. It’s like I am one with my run. We are blended as we gracefully collide against the sounds of the melodic tunes streaming from my iPod to my head. My mind gets lost and tangled among the vastness of waves I imagine myself sitting or running next to.
Sometimes, I’m on the beach or maybe dwelling on a yacht or cruise ship coasting along a forbidden island or some far away mountainous shoreline. There are cabanas, king-size white and satin day beds, and tables set up around open pits for seafood paella on the ashen nude sands. The waves are calm as colors of turquoise, clear aqua blue and lush emerald rush quietly up against the inviting water's edge.
Sometimes, I'm relaxing in my bungalow which is nestled against the small huts that lay hidden behind the warm, welcoming arms of palm trees rocking against the sounds of native birds. It’s absolutely mind-blowing. Before I know it, my miles are up and the run has come to an end. I’m lighter, tighter and hungrier as the desire to be satisfied not only mentally, but physically, erodes over my fierce and resilient body.
This past winter was a rough one: rough in the sense where we had more unbearably frigid days than simply cold ones. I don’t mesh well with the ice and snow; often finding myself a bit down with the seasonal winter blues. My heart resides in the essence and smells of the summer so you can imagine what this season has done to my longing for spring and summer to begin.
I think once it started snowing in November, Jack Frost took it upon himself to roll over the blizzard-like weather well into March. In fact, I think the last of the snow has just recently melted!Because the winter was too strenuous and unkind toward people like me, who love to spend days endlessly folding into the universe while walking hand in hand with nature, I decided to embrace the warmth and quiet inside. Luckily, I have a view of the mountains our home is nestled in right outside of my window. I was writing and eating more while exercising and running less. I went from a size 4 to an 8 in just three measly months. I took advantage of Jacks Frost’s harsh and cruel shits and giggles by rejuvenating inside through my novel writing and binge-eating homemade muffins, chocolates and cheese. (Not in that particular order=)
While I was working on the last chapters of my novel this past April, I decided to get back to the trails and treadmill; full throttle. Twenty pounds heavier had definitely weighed me down and my once blissful workouts became much harder and less of a meditational release of thoughts, endorphins and amiable remembrances of past ghosts. I couldn’t concentrate on anything inspiring or relive through the fondness of my old memories while running. Dare I say that I had resorted to the elliptical? Yes, I did. And there is nothing wrong with the elliptical. But for me, being a runner… well, the elliptical just isn’t my go-to for cardio.
Once I hopped on the treadmill and could not even complete a mile, I knew I was doomed. My passion for my novel and submission to social media for my author work had forged a wrecking ball over my new body. “If you wish to write, then you will have to sacrifice working out in the morning and your appearance will be overthrown. And you simply cannot work out after you write because you have a fulltime job in the afternoon until evening. You really didn’t think you could have it all… did you?”
Yep; this is what my mind was telling my body. Now, most of the time, I love my own mind. She is my right-hand muse and one of the main reasons I am still staying on the straight and narrow these days. My mind has grown quite astoundingly over these last three years. She’s more in tune with my heart and knows what she wants. She never lies to me and I can always trust her now. This is something I couldn’t vouch for during my darker days. My mind was the last thing I could trust because it was always filled with the promises of better days and irreverent freedoms which a clouded and infected brain could only conceive.
So when my mind began to be brutally honest with me and tell me I would have to sacrifice even more of my time if I wanted to get back into shape and still be able to write and network, I almost fainted. I didn’t want to believe her. I continued to write in the mornings, began eating a little less, but when it came time to try on my summer clothes again… it just wasn’t happening. I had failed. It was time for my mind and my heart to get back up again… once and for all, together… in it to win it. I’d have to wake up even earlier and not skip any days during the week for exercise. Seven day workouts, more juicing, less muffins, and sadly, less writing.
Did I just say that? Unfortunately, yes, I did. Your mind always knows right from wrong. It’s just a matter of time and conditioning which gets you closer to this realization. Could I sit here and lie to myself by shaking off the twenty pounds as no big deal and settle with being two times my normal size? After all, what matters is who we are on the inside and not out, right?
Wrong! For some, this is true. But for me, I like being in shape. I love eating whatever I want. I love being strong and toned and loving the person I see when I look in the mirror. That is not to say I am conceited or a narcissist. But what I mean is there are some people in this world who are content with the way they look physically while I am addicted to the adrenaline which runs through my veins while building a lean, mean, running machine.We owe it to ourselves to strive to achieve the best in this life because we all deserve to have all of our desires and dreams come true. I don’t ever want to step on the treadmill, or outside on one of the magnificent trails behind our home, and not be able to get past the first mile. I don’t have the best knees in the world but they are mine and I love them. My family has a long history of diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. I don’t ever want to jeopardize my serenity or longevity because I simply can’t find the time to work out. I won’t be a product of my past and I will stay focused. This isn’t to say I won’t ever enjoy a long winter’s nap or a month or two of a writing spree. This winter has been a good friend to me. And I’m hoping that good friend has helped me create something so special that the extra twenty pounds I gained was well worth it! (The novel, hooray!)
So getting back to my question… Can we have it all? I mean, everything, all at once? Or do we have to settle for increments and small steps which lead us closer to the grandeur goal?
Once I felt comfortable enough with the outcome of my manuscript and children’s work, I took a step back away from my writing. I had to. For me, it was a no brainer. If I wanted to get back into my infectious runs and weight training, I had to lose weight; and fast. Healthy but quickly. I took the past three weeks to reboot my system and I’m happy to say I am down 15 pounds. Not by starving or sacrificing too much of my time… but by devoting myself to longer, more strenuous workouts and a healthy diet. I went from writing for hours and binging on muffins, chocolate and cheese to writing an hour or so a day and stepping up my game at the gym. As far as social media goes, well, this has been suffering a bit. But I’m okay with this. Sometimes, we need to unplug and get away from the things which take up most of our time and energy to satisfy our other cravings. To just simply BE.
It’s strange but in some way, I think we can have it all. This doesn’t mean our dreams will come true all at once and we will have all the time in the world to pursue them. But when we are truly happy with ourselves and connected with the world around us, no matter how we see ourselves, then I think we do have it all. I guess it just depends on your definition of “having it all” and really “seeing ourselves.”
What about you? How do you balance your time with writing, exercising, keeping up with the household, family life, social media, working the day job, etc.? Have you ever had to make sacrifices in order to find more time for something you are passionate about? What is your definition of “having it all?”