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I Quit!

areyoulivingyourdream

The past weeks have been full of so much that I won’t try to recap for the blog; I’ll just pick up with where the journey has brought me thus far. (Also, be on the lookout for my 10, TEN, month review at the start of July next week.)

When I decided last fall to embark on this journey, I didn’t have much foresight into what it would hold. I did expect to be able to accomplish all the “assignments” which I now realize was a tad overambitious. I knew I was definitely interested in traveling around the world, but honestly, that part of it didn’t feel so real. I told a select number of people about the plan, and I talked about it with confidence, mostly trying to convince myself that it would really happen. As time progressed, I think I’ve had every emotion under the sun about the trip.

And now, just yesterday, I gave my workplace my resignation notice so I guess it’s official!

I’m really not sure what else to say about that.

I’ve had so many different emotions about resigning and leaving Michigan over the past year, and it’s completely surreal that it’s happening now. It feels empowering to embark on this trip, but it also feels overwhelming and all consuming, like I’ve just plunged myself into the waves of the unknown and now I’m not really sure which way is up. I know I’ve made plenty of other decisions that have changed the course of my life, but this decision just felt so final. At one moment I had complete control, and the next I felt so … exposed. I certainly wasn’t expecting was to feel so emotionally raw and spent after resigning.

But it’s absolutely and completely wonderful, too. I’M LIVING MY DREAM!!!!

!!!

Can’t believe it.

In the coming weeks, I’m really going to try to get back to blogging. Now that the end is so near, I have a renewed energy to push myself to the finish line, and I hope to accomplish a decent amount of things that are still on my list for this project. I’ll also have a lot of tips and info I’ll share about round the world travel, as I’ve learned so much over this past year about that. I’m also considering keeping the blog alive as I travel, but it’s been so touch and go over these past few months I’m not sure if I will be able to blog consistently once the project is actually over.

In any case. In conclusion, this quote has been reassuring to me as I commit and begin. Go begin something today! And let me know about it in the comments, if you please. 🙂

GoethesFaust

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On Fitness and Exhaustion

Yesterday morning I went to my first cycling class at the YMCA. It was amazing. And hard. And fun. And pretty sweaty, too. And did I mention hard? I think I could actually feel the individual strands of my leg muscles contracting and releasing. I’ve heard stories of the intensity of the infamous cycling class before, but since our Y is fairly small and the Saturday morning selections slim, I decided to give it a try. (And, honestly, I was a bit curious to see if I could withstand the class.) I’m happy to say: I can’t wait to go back again tomorrow!

Cycling class is pretty straight forward. You hop on a stationary bike and adjust resistance and speed as the instructor dictates. I’ve heard that some instructors “simulate” an outdoor riding experience by saying things like, “you’re on a steep hill now… now you can see the top of the hill… etc. Our instructor’s directions were more like, “Alright, turn it up another gear. Let’s climb for 5 minutes! Now add one more gear, stand up and sprint for 4 minutes!” Then on to more climbs, and more sprints, over and over, all the while increasing our gears. I swear, it was like she was inexhaustible. I’m pretty sure my fellow 8 a.m. cyclists were all at least twice my age, but seeing them pedaling away in unison with their super toned, bike shorts-clad legs was good motivation to get myself moving. And to keep going all the way into old age!

I must be honest, though. In between all the instructions to increase resistance and use our abs to hold our bodies centered above the bike, we were receiving a good bit of encouragement to continue pushing through. Statements like “Earn your recovery!” and “Give me 101%; this is your last chance to give it everything!” (although we did end up with quite a few “last chances”…) and a lot of “Come on!” interspersed throughout. In fact, our instructor even led us to believe at one point that we  only had to get through 3 more sprints, only to then tell us to increase resistance and get ready for another 2 rounds of sprints. She said she didn’t want us holding back, thinking we needed to save our energy for the next round. And you know what–we all found it in us to keep going!

It made me think of a quote I heard a while back from a professional runner who said that if at the end of his run, he still had more energy, he knew he didn’t run hard enough. I’ve been thinking about what it would look like to adopt this outlook on life in general. Ending each day on empty, actually relying on the night’s rest to fuel up for the next morning. There are certainly days where I fall into bed at night feeling accomplished and satisfied knowing I made good use of the time I was given. But some days. . . not so much.

According to the Strength Finders assessment, one of my top strengths is that I am an “achiever.” They describe this trait as one who has “a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself. And by “every day” you mean every single day — workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied. . . Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you. As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontent. It does have its benefits. It brings you the energy you need to work long hours without burning out. It is the jolt you can always count on to get you started on new tasks, new challenges. It is the power supply that causes you to set the pace and define the levels of productivity for your work group. It is the theme that keeps you moving.”

I can definitely see this to be true in myself, particularly in the fact that I cannot stand it if I spend an entire day lying around and not accomplishing anything. But there is a difference in idle busy work, done just for the sake of doing something, and intentional, focused, hard work that empties your mental and physical energy reserves. One produces burn-out, and the other can produce a rhythm that feeds and fuels itself. The thing I’m still learning about rhythms is that they require down time, too. I’m a work in progress, trying to figure out how to balance the two.

In any case, this week–I’m going to try to give it all, every day. In cycling class, in work, in relationships, in learning.

And this is just a wild guess, but I think I’m going to sleep like a baby every night, too.

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