For years, I’ve been in the practice of holding on to my vacation time like cash under the mattress during the Great Depression. Now, I’m *very, very, very* busy—both with the work I’m doing for my job and with the commitment I’ve made to myself as a mountain biker, for fun and for health. For the first time, I have a job with a good amount of vacation. It’s time to emerge from the “Great Depression” so I can take some “me time,” get my “stuff” in order, and stay healthy and happy.
But is it really that simple? Life is complicated. It seems as if complete control over one’s life is nothing more than self-delusion. I know that I frequently fly high emotionally—usually after a mountain bike ride, completing a big project, or having a positive experience with some other distraction—and that’s when I think to myself, “Yeah, I’ve got a great a life. I’m at the top of my game. I got it goin’ on.” Then, life pushes me over and kicks me while I’m down. Sometimes it does it in the water, so it’s not so bad; but other times, I scrape my knee on bedrock and there’s nothing to lessen the impact of that kick. How does one really stay in control in spite of that troublemaking “life”—that poltergeist of reality?
I guess the answer is that staying on top of your game is not about getting rid of the poltergeist, because that little bastard will follow you anywhere. The only option is to control how you deal with it. This requires a change in perspective and lots of integrity with oneself. The perspective thing isn’t all that difficult; after all, I’ve had plenty of experience challenging my perspective, and I wouldn’t be who I am today if I wasn’t willing to take a cold, hard look at myself and change those things I didn’t like and those things that weren’t necessarily good for my relationships. Sure, I sometimes slip and digress to my older self, but isn’t it how I deal with it that is important?
Of course, dealing with it requires integrity. Only I know what I truly believe and what I truly want. Unfortunately, I sometimes delude myself into thoughts of happiness in spite of that inner voice saying, “Di, it may be easier if you just deal with reality now; and if you aren’t quite sure what that reality is, then prepare for the worst.” But what if I’m not willing to prepare for the worst? What if I’m jumping the gun? Can’t I just smack life in the face and tell it to get the hell off of my barstool cuz I wanna sit there?!
Perhaps I need to deal with it simply by focusing on what I can control at this time. What are my current and tangible goals? What can I do in spite of life taunting me by sticking its tongue out, jumping up and down, and throwing popcorn at me?
- lose weight;
- increase endurance on bike;
- get organized.
Sure, there are other little things I need to do, but these are the top three goals, and prioritized! All three goals are tied together. I would like to throw “become a stronger climber” onto that list, but as my friend, Erick, pointed out, riding is hard when you’re losing weight. Yes. Yes, it is. I’ve gotten used to eating very little, and I get full very easily. This is good for weight loss, but the challenge is that I do feel weaker and shakier on the bike. Slower, steadier rides are currently the best choice, and back-to-back rides are very difficult as evidenced by me riding into a fence during last week’s Wednesday night group ride. Some people have already told me that I need to eat more, especially at an endurance race, but the fact is that I just couldn’t get any more food down, and I don’t want to force it for fear that my appetite will spike and I’ll begin taking in a lot more calories than I should for the weight loss—my top priority.
I feel that increasing my endurance on the bike during the weight loss is a realistic goal. After all, endurance riding is quite beneficial to pushing the body into that weight-loss zone, and it’s pretty easy to fuel on the bike for long rides. Another perk is that after I’ve lost 30 pounds or so, I’ll automatically be faster because I already have the muscle. I just need to “unveil” it.
Getting organized is a constant challenge. I have to adopt a system that will allow me to quickly and easily grab my cycling gear when I’m in a crunch to get to work, and I have to figure out how to keep my dishes clean without contributing so much time toward that horrible task. Something tells me I’ll be using paper plates until I can afford a countertop dishwasher. This goal is slowly taking shape. I’ve figured some things out, but I still have a ways to go.
The best part about this commitment is that I put it into action one month ago. I’ve lost nine pounds, have increased my endurance on the bike, and have already began smoothing out the coexistence of my personal and work life. Take that, Life. Now, get the hell off off my barstool.