March 9, 2011

One thing

Yesterday, I had it all figured out. I woke up really hopeful that the universe would point me in a helpful direction, and it didn't fail me: on the bus to work in the morning, the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" came on my iPod. But I was still feeling mopey at work, and I started tossing around the idea of taking off for a one day getaway. Maybe Milwaukee, maybe St. Louis ... somewhere I could go and come back feeling refreshed and ready for Thursday.

I talked to a few people, lined up subs for my classes since they will just be watching a movie today anyway, and started to research Amtrak tickets, a budget hotel, good places to run outdoors, parks, free tourist attractions, anything ... as long as it was anywhere but here.

Then, I looked up the weather.

It's going to rain today in Milwaukee, and St. Louis is anticipating clouds. Go figure. Above all else, though, I decided that one day secreted away is not the vacation I need, or even the one that I really want. I want to give this a little thought and really enjoy whatever I end up doing, not spend the whole day worrying about what my students are doing or if I'm going to get caught for playing hooky. Not to mention that all my problems would still be waiting for me back in Chicago.

Yesterday afternoon was when everything started to pick up. I was sitting in my office hours, and I remembered a quote I had seen in an e-mail from Runner's World:
"Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running."
Kara Goucher
So I took off work early, went to the gym, and just ran. Covered up the treadmill screen, didn't think about the distance, just ran.

three in thirty-six. nice.
I ran 3 miles in 36 minutes, and it was heavenly. It was exactly what I needed. I felt so incredibly refreshed afterwards - my heart was pumping, my blood was coursing through my veins, and I felt fully charged with hope.

I'm going to take a vacation. This will happen - it needs to. I'm going to plan it this weekend and make some commitments to being responsibly selfish. But today, I'll be in Chicago, teaching the next forty minutes of the film three times and having interesting conversations about it all with my students. And I'm very much okay with that. I'm feeling much more optimistic about everything, because I have a plan.

I'm going to try to focus on one thing at a time.

Okay, so it's a simple plan. But I think it'll work.

just looking at this pile fills me with anxiety
Today's thing is finally donating or trashing all of my old clothes. They've been accumulating in a giant pile and I'm surprisingly anxious about getting rid of them. It's silly, I know. But I can't help clinging to the small material reminders of life as I've known it. Purging this pile is long overdue, and I think it will be a huge step towards alleviating some of my recent emotional weight. I get so easily overwhelmed by the emotional to-do list in my mind, and if I don't stop and breathe every now and then, I'll go crazy. My mom reminded me on the phone last night that since there is quite the history of mental illness in our family, I need to take extra caution to make sure I stay balanced and nourish my mind as well as my body.


Katie Warren said...

don't have any words of wisdom, just wanted you to know I was thinking about ya

Jessica said...

What a great run! I purged some clothes recently too, and it was awesome!

Amy said...

That run is a great idea!!

Don't get rid of all your clothes... it's nice to keep something as a reminder to yourself of how far you've come!

I'm also very glad you've decided to go on your vacation still!

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of those clothes, while it may make you anxious, once they're gone, you'll have this big closet that you can fill with things for the new you. You will also be helping out those that need the clothes! Things will get better! Congrats on that amazing run!

Ann said...

I say, get rid of them! You have "created" yourself to be a new person, and although those clothes area reminder of who you WERE, they certainly are not who you ARE. Plus, you will never fit in them again!! Re: mental health, Self Magazine had a great article about meditation. Is that something you would ever do?

Amanda said...

Congrats on the great run! That's an awesome time, and the emotional reward was great as well.

I have anxiety over clothes as well. I'm entering into that in between phase where most of my clothes are looking rather baggy, so I'm not sure how I feel about how I look. I always get shaky around this part, so I totally understand.

I hope you plan something wonderful for yourself, you deserve it! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow 3 miles in 36 minutes. Fantastic. I hear you on the family history - blerg.

What about getting rid of most of the clothes but keeping some, just for now?

Unknown said...

You will get to your vacation, Mary. Glad you decided to wait until you can really enjoy it; and that you see that you totally deserve to think of yourself. You think you're not doing much by being so far away but let me tell you, worrying about your family takes its toll just the same as if you were right there with them. You need to recharge and take care of yourself. Sounds like you had a lovely run :)

Tim said...

3 miles in just over half an hour is superb. I remember reading your posts when you were doing the C25k challenge so it's brilliant to see the progress you're making.

What tunes do you listen to when you're running?