I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. One week ago today, I wrote out some key goals on my whiteboard, that I’ve left up since. There were three ‘priorities’ and each had two conditions listed beneath it. They were 1) Sleep; 2) Exercise and 3) Diet. For sleep, I said to get back on track, I needed to be getting 8 hours a night, which realistically given I start work at 9am on weekdays – and want to on weekends – means being out for the count by midnight at the latest. For exercise, I looked back at my old routines, and saw two constants: 5,000 steps a day on the good days, and when I recieved it, 5 minutes of rowing a day on my WaterRower. The latter had not been put back together since the move, in part because my ankle is still quite painful. And on diet, I listed two points, neither of which had to do with calories because I have those under control: what I eat, and when I eat it.
I said to myself when I stood back, that there was no reason in a week from now that I shouldn’t have all of these fixed if I made it my main focus. I was capable of writing early enough to sleep, and that was the only reason I couldn’t sleep earlier. Of course the often real reason I didn’t wasn’t not writing sooner but procrastinating on my writing until late because I wanted to focus on my job and was burned out by 5pm. In the past though, I wrote on my lunch breaks without causing any issue, so I needed to make that my goal again. Ideally, I wanted to write before 3pm, as the 3-5 window is best suited to wrapping up the smaller tasks in the day that don’t get as much attention, and I didn’t want to take my lunch break that late on.
Exercise required me to break the mental barrier that is ‘I’m scared of going outside because long covid is a thing, and with my constant fatigue I do not need to be any more tired than I already am’. I had to tell myself that a) ‘long covid’ seems quite rare; b) I was keeping my distance from people and wearing a mask if I went out before the evening, and c) exercise is non optional. With mixed success, I started to be able to go out more and more, and hitting 5,000 steps is about a half hour to 40 minutes of walking depending on what I bank just wandering around the flat. Sure enough, I started managing this.
But the WaterRower still loomed by my desk, disassembled, taunting me that I had lost a routine I was so proud of, all because of a dumb sprained ankle – assuming it was as sprain, given it still hasn’t gone away almost 5 months later. I made a seperate list of my top 5 goals, the ones I have to clear before anything else gets my attention that isn’t my normal day to day, and ‘Reassamble the WaterRower’ lingered as my albatross on it for a long, long time. Then, last night, after wrapping up a reasonable early target, or early-ish, I pounced. I learned two things: once you start to do a task you’ve dreaded for an age, it becomes a lot less scary. In truth I’ve learned this thousands of times, we all have, but it always helps to note it when you rediscover it. And second, a five minute row when you have barely any stamina after 4 and a bit months of no exercise, is a bit beyond me.
Diet was the point I dreaded the most, so it’s a bit anticlimactic to say how I nailed this one without much if any effort. I went through my diet for the last month and a half, noted the good and bad, and then panned back to 13 months prior, in the golden period that spanned between my heating at my old home being fixed and the start of the pandemic, and noted what I ate in a few sample weeks. I coalated, this, worked out macro nutrient distribution, and assembled a new diet I like to call ‘2020 didn’t happen’. Lunch is cottage cheese and crackers with a muffin, a simple mix of short and long burn energy food, and in the evenings, veggie duck, or chilli, or baked bean curry, or Chicargo Town mini pizzas. The latter, is to evoke Mana, and as a little reminder things won’t always be this way. And well, it’s working. I eat lunch – still no breakfast, but I established years ago it doesn’t work for me – and I don’t feel a need to over indulge.
So all that is a way of saying that, sure enough, one week later I did in fact manage all my goals. Yes I am going to need to work up towards more rowing – I have no intention to stop at 5 minutes, I want to get towards 45-60 minute workouts with rest days when the time is right – and I am going to need to hold firm in the face of the next cataclysm, but this is order. I am stable, I have a plan, I’m on top of my work, and I’m starting to enjoy life again. To cap it off, today, TWO hit 50,000 typed words, which means an April 13th deadline for this draft is more than reasonable. I don’t have the hubris to day mission accomplished, but as I look out of my office window into the bright late winter sky, the sun is out in more than one way.