I’m not a big lover of Christmas.
You can probably blame that on working in retail for many years. Nothing sucks the joy of the holiday season when you see people acting like assholes and trying to one up each other in terms of gift giving. Don’t even get me started about the day after Christmas Beyond Thunderdome Return Fest…that still gives me hives. Because of this, this is how I’ve viewed Christmas for most of my adult life:
My family, thank goodness, gave up exchanging gifts a long time ago. For us, the holiday is all about getting together as a family. This year, it’s even more important since Mom is still going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. She’s doing great, but we’re still in the unknown, “what is going to happen now?” phase of her treatment. Makes me want to get together and spend time more time with my family.
With my in-laws, I think we finally convinced them that we don’t want gifts this year. We live halfway across the country from them and all we do is create a list of stuff we want off Amazon and they buy the stuff. Merry Christmas? I’d rather not have the items, if that’s all that’s involved. Besides, we have everything we want anyway!
This year, I decided to go pick up more Christmas decorations. The meager amount I had worked well when I lived in a 900 sq/ft townhouse, but now that we live in a big three bedroom house, what I have looked sad when I decorated last year. Thus, I went out and bought a 7.5 foot tree, decorations, and other adorable decorations (those birds! *squee*):
Pixel loves the new tree.
Chester might like the tree…we’re not sure.
BIRDS! SO CUTE!
Roxy loves the new tree.
While I’m still not big on the whole “gift giving” part of the holiday, I am participating in my work Secret Santa exchange, which is proving to be interesting! I also enjoy the added sparkle of the Christmas lights and the decorations sprinkled throughout the house.
Perhaps my cold, black Christmas heart is finally thawing out? Who knows. But for the first time in a long time, I’m kinda enjoying the season.
I’m still not sending out Christmas cards, though…
I’m not one of those people who say “oh god, I’m SOOOO busy!” all the time. I used to, but now I don’t.
What changed? I think a job that I love helps a bit. I work with a bunch of amazing people.
I get the opportunity to see some beautiful locations and work with those amazing people in person.
Swimming in the Atlantic. These conditions are inhumane. Photo by Ryan Cowles.
But that’s not what this post is all about. It’s about properly managing your time.
The amazing Sarah Hatter wrote a post named “Managing your busy-ness” that was brilliant in highlighting the why people find themselves to be “SOOOO busy.” My favorite quote is in the very first paragraph:
Let’s be honest here: You aren’t busy, you are just disorganized and things aren’t a priority to you. That’s it. When things become a priority, you want to invest in them properly, and starting with intentional time management is the best way to get out of that faux-busy lifestyle.
She’s so right. We often don’t prioritize our time, so we’re left feeling out of control and that there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done.
I’ll admit, I used to fall in this trap and let the things that are important fall by the wayside because I wasn’t actively managing my time to fit it all in. And it was all so easy to let some things slip by, usually going to the gym or not going to that party a friend was having because I was “too tired” to go. I missed out on a lot of stuff because of it.
It’s like the people who always say they want to exercise, but they “just don’t have time for it.” You always have time for it, you’re just not making it a priority to do it. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to improve your health and well-being? That should be first and foremost!
What I loved about Sarah’s post is that she schedules in her exercise and social time in addition to her work obligations. She makes everything important, and not making social and exercise less important and easy to dismiss if things get “too busy.” Everything counts.
Plus, if everything is in your calendar, there’s no mystery as to what your day will bring. That frees your mind to actually focus on the task at hand and you won’t feel so OMGWTFBBQ!!!1! about everything.
I don’t schedule my exercise, but I’m sure going to do it going forward. Once I’m back from Puerto Rico, that is.
How much do you schedule in your day? Everything? Nothing? Somewhere in between?
That photo above is me right after I finished the Mankato half marathon in October 2010. I had undertrained (longest run prior was 10 miles) and was woefully unprepared for the 13.1 mile distance. Only sheer stubbornness and competitiveness drove me to finish. But I was slow – turtle slow. I did finish around my “OMG the shit hit the fan time”1, but those last three miles were brutal.
After that race – and since I’m terrible at running in the winter – my distance slowly whittled itself down to 3-4 miles on the treadmill over winter 2010.
Then a number of things happened:
- I ran a 10k in April 2011 in cold weather with little preparation. Hey, I did a half marathon, I can do this!
- I started training for my 2nd half marathon in May. Except I didn’t start out slow and work my way up to the distance. I did 13.1 miles! This is a cakewalk!
- I did not do any strength training.
- I then pulled my piriformis muscle.
- I spent 4 months of getting physical therapy and deep tissue sports massages to repair it – and no running.
The next two years I fought trying to train for a half marathon, then falling short for one reason or another and running the 10k race instead. Last year, I ran my fastest 10k ever and said “I’ll just train for that distance and get faster!”
That didn’t happen either. I was in a flux in my professional life and the stress of that kept me from focusing on my training – it also made me fall off the nutrition wagon2 BIG TIME.
This year, I got the greatest job in the world3 and my professional life is amazing. But, I also started traveling in the course of my job – and as a creature of habit, it threw a wrench in my exercise plans. Well, there weren’t really “plans” to begin with – I just tried to exercise somewhat regularly. But I struggle with exercise while I’m traveling. Also, there’s the eating and drinking ALL THE THINGS.
Now I know you’re thinking “so what changed?” – and that’s a great question. But my answer isn’t: I. Don’t. Know.
It’s a number of things: being unhappy with how my clothes fit, realizing that I’m doing nothing but get older, feeling like I could be doing more, etc. It’s not really one specific thing.
But! A good friend of mine told me once that once I put my mind towards doing something, I do it – no matter how difficult it is.
Thus, I decided to do another half marathon. I actually signed up for a race series that has a couple 5k races, a 7k, a 10k, and a half marathon spread throughout 2014. To meet this goal, I have a plan:
- Running (duh) – this will involve a lot of treadmill running since WINTER IS COMING. Running outside in a Minnesota winter? Homey don’t play dat.4
- Strength training – the gym I go to has some amazing group strength training classes.
- Karate (well, it’s really Taekwando) – my husband just signed up for it and loves it. Since I’m always up for trying new things, I’m going to do it with him. Took my first class last night and it’s fun.
Also, I’m being conscious of what I’m eating and drinking – buying organic when possible, keeping the meat consumption low and veggies high, not having my nightly glass(es) of wine, and drinking more water. Been doing this all week and it feels good.
Anyway, it’s a lot of things happening at once and some say I might be insane:
My family: so supportive. LOL!
1 – I set finish time goals for myself: the “fast” time, the “normal” time, and the “OMGTSHTF” time.
2 – If I could live off pizza, I would.
3 – Hey! Psst! We’re hiring!!
4 – Except one of the 5k races is the Polar Dash on New Year’s Day. Brrr.