Over the past month, what has been the easiest AND most difficult part of writing every day?
I can hardly believe tomorrow is the last day of June! And that today is my 29th post! It is completely amazing how taking things one day at a time… can REALLY add up to something a lot bigger!
The easiest part… was committing to doing this daily and knowing that, no matter what, I was going to write every day. No matter how tired of writing I was, or whether or not I felt like writing what the prompt wanted me to… I was going to write! I know most of that motivation came from declaring my goal publicly. (People could see if I failed.) Also… I wanted it to count for my 40 T.B. 40 list, which meant fulfilling it completely. These two motivations kinda halted my procrastination (Though, I fully admit, some posts have been written toward the end of the day.)
The most difficult thing… which surprised me… was feeling like I had run out of words. Things began to feel a bit redundant. But that also challenged me to figure out other ways of writing about them… or choosing a different topic altogether. (After all, the goal has been to write a blog post every day for a month…. and not that I would adhere to a list of prompts for a month.) It was freeing to realize I could change what wasn’t working.
Overall, I’m glad I did it. I learned some things about myself as a writer that I didn’t know before. (Like, maybe I don’t need to feel guilty about not writing every day, because that isn’t my preferred way of doing things- which is OK!.) And I also learned how strong the external motivation (public accountability) needs to be to accomplish a new, daily goal! (I’m wondering how waking up early or getting on the treadmill every day would work with this?!) Even if no one ever read my blog… or cared… I think the fact that the goal is ‘out there’ is enough of a push forward. (I feel like I might need to test this hypothesis.)
I’m looking forward to my last post of the challenge tomorrow!
My ‘word of the year’ is PROGRESS. I haven’t updated in a while about it… but it is going VERY well! Having my ’40 Things Before 40′ list has made it especially easy to move forward and make PROGRESS in a LOT of different areas. This weekend I’ve spent in my basement purging and sorting…with the goal being the organization of the entire basement. (That’s on my ’40 T.B. 40′.) I’m reading more, cooking new recipes, making adjustments with my sleep and eating that will hopefully lead toward PROGRESS in my health. I’ve also scheduled two trips that should take care of FIVE things on my ’40T.B.40′ list!! And of course… I LOVE being able to plan travel again!
It feels SO good to be moving forward and working toward a goal!
Honesty time: I hate running…. like, I’ve HATED running for as long as I can remember. Most of that hate came from needing to use my inhaler every time my P.E. class had to run the mile. (Yay asthma.)
Fast forward to February 2017…. and I saw the most beautiful race medal I’d ever seen while scrolling Facebook. (Still not sure how that algorithm got triggered to push such an irrelevant ad on my wall.) And as I thought about it, I figured it might not be so bad to walk or run to earn it. AND it turned out to be a virtual race! Which meant I could take as long as I wanted to finish it… and I could run, OR walk, OR BOTH if I wanted to! This also meant I could complete it on my treadmill… which satisfied a few personal exercise boundaries, like not running in any kind of heat… ever… or up large hills.
That was just the beginning of the rabbit hole…
I started really paying attention to other Facebook friends’ race posts… and seeing all of THEIR medals.
Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way now… I don’t walk/run for the personal goal setting, or the runner’s high (that I don’t think I’ve ever had), or even the health/fitness side of it.
I participate 100% because there is a medal at the end of it.
I knew Disney did in-person races because my sister had done an Avenger themed one at Disneyland. And my sister-in-law started running the Princess Half Marathon Weekend races… and those medals were BEAUTIFUL!!!! But Florida and California would never be cold enough. So I just had to hope that Disney would offer something virtual.
Eventually, they did start virtual summer races… but the themes were less than appealing medal-wise. (I think the first year was Pluto themed??)
And then, COVID happened.
For the first time EVER… Disney made the Princess Half Marathon weekend events VIRTUAL!!!!!!!!!!
I signed up immediately.
The 5k was Ariel themed, the 10k was Rapunzel themed, the half marathon was Belle themed, and if you signed up for the ‘Fairy Tale Challenge’ (completing both the half and the 10k) there was a Tiana themed challenge medal!
I’d never done a half before. And knowing how slow my mile is right now… the thought of being on my treadmill for more than 4 hours straight was daunting. Thankfully, I’ve done the Hot Chocolate 15k (in-person) and so I knew I could do 9.321 miles… a half is only 4 more miles than that. It would be a challenge… but I was optimistic about finishing!
If you’ve ever known anyone to run one of these Disney races… you’ll know… dressing up ‘on theme’ is a vital part of the experience! I don’t have many Disney clothes… so I got a bit creative.
For the Ariel 5k: I wore dragon scale leggings and red shoes. I dug out a tiara… that I had originally bought for a Big Bang Theory themed race (because Amy Farrah Fowler wears one for her wedding… and it was a whole ‘thing’ with the other ladies on my team… and really fun!) because tiara just seemed more ‘princess’ than my Minnie ears. I also found some large sparkly starfish-looking earrings.
For the Rapunzel 10k: I wore my pink and purple floral leggings, braided my hair, and added a pink flower along with the tiara.
And finally, for the Belle Half: I wore my Reading Rainbow t-shirt. (Because: 1. It was yellow. and 2. I figure Belle would be a big supporter of a children’s reading program.) I put my hair in a bun, added two different yellow flowers, and of course the tiara (which I almost didn’t wear… but did at the last minute, and I’m glad for it now!). I also found this preserved-in-resin red flower bracelet… which felt very red-rose-esque.
And I found my daughters’ princess figurines and used them to decorate my treadmill.
My race times will not win any records… But I am very proud that I stayed on the treadmill until I finished.
5k: Time: 00:57:01 Mile Pace: 18:21
10k: Time: 02:07:44 Mile Pace: 20:33
Half Marathon: Time 03:59:18 Mile Pace: 18:16
The only race I had any significant goals for was the Half. First, I wanted to finish! Then, I wanted to finish under 4 hours. I just BARELY squeaked by hitting that goal!!
This was a wonderful experience!! And I am so thankful I attempted it! I’m not sure if I will attempt it again. (Perhaps if the virtual race stay an option… or if I feel like my fitness level significantly improves.)
Last time, I wrote about how I chose my ‘Word of the Year’... and even gave one example of how I was making PROGRESS with my reading goals. I was surprised afterward, how writing about it gave me even more motivation to move forward in another area…
… purging and organizing the basement…
When you grow up as an Air Force BRAT, you can get used to the cycle of packing/unpacking every 2/3/4 years. ( I mean, maybe some people don’t, but I did.) It is a forced event that is built into that life. It definitely made it easier to go through my belongings… since I was able to see all-the-things, while I put them away in my new room. But, for me, there was a side effect to living that kind of nomadic existence. It began when I was a child and I continue to struggle with it as an adult…
I hate to get rid of things.
And, more specifically, I hate to get rid of things tied to memories. (I’ve joked with a few people that I’m a ‘Hoarder of Memories’ and it’s kinda true.)
I’ve talked with my best friend (also an Air Force BRAT) about this phenomenon before… how military members, dependents, or anyone who moves regularly can (though, not always) associate more attachment/feeling with their “things” because the “things” are what helped every new place feel like “home”. They were the constant when everything else changed.
Let me interject here and say… I’ve been “Marie Kondo-ing” my house since 2016, a couple of years after her first 2 books were translated into English (before the Netflix special came out). (Read about that here.) An over-simplified summary is that you surround yourself with things that bring you joy… and get rid of the rest. (This process has often been confused with the minimalism movement, but that is a topic for another day.) The trouble is… LOTS of things bring me joy. Too many things. Sometimes, it feels almost impossible to begin, because emotionally, I know it is going to be painful to let go. I’m not saying I can’t get rid of things… I have successfully de-cluttered/purged many, many, many times…. I just don’t look forward to navigating all of the emotions tied to the things. That is the draining part.
We have now lived in our current house for 13 years… (which, I STILL can’t believe is a sentence I actually get to write.) We have had our seasons of a clean and well organized basement… and other seasons that are the complete opposite of that. (The latter being the season we are currently in.) More Christmases and birthdays pass, the kids outgrow their clothes/books/toys… and the clutter sneaks up on you.
SO, yes, the things bring joy…but a clean and organized house ALSO brings me joy… and that ‘clean-house-joy’ outweighs the ‘stuff-joy’ EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. (I can be resolute when I want to be.)
It still doesn’t make it any easier to start. The whole basement… (which has a playroom, storage room, my husband’s home office, my craft room, a tiny movie ‘theater’ room, the laundry room, our gym (another small room with our treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike), and overflow pantry) is a mess. It is an overwhelming project. I feel as prepared to go through it all, as I would be ready to hike Mt. Everest.
This week, despite so many things (like weather changes, kids being affected by the weather changes, other things that are TMI for this blog…) that drained more of my energy than normal… I took a deep breath, tightened my PROGRESS bracelet (more about that later), set a timer for 10 minutes, turned on some 80’s music, and with my husband’s encouragement and support, the whole family went downstairs to begin going through the playroom. We made it 20 minutes! The next night, we set the timer for 30 minutes… and made it an hour! After 2 more days of multiple 20 minute timers… the play room was done!! My best friend even celebrated with us by sending funny memes as a reward for completion (which I knew about beforehand, and were incredibly encouraging… P.S. get yourself a friend who will be your cheerleader, no matter what your goals are!!) That success motivated me to go through all of the kid books, which then motivated me to begin clearing out the storage room! It is like a snowball of motivation that keeps growing!
Two of my projects from this week aren’t completely finished (yet, but they will be soon!) and they definitely weren’t executed perfectly. Yet, the momentum I gained from the success of this week is encouraging me forward… Little by little… PROGRESS.