18 out of 30

I walked eighteen days in the month of June. That’s a win. It’s eighteen more times than before. Yesterday I enjoyed the walk. It was easy to go uphill in some parts. The last part is always a puff. I enjoyed the wind on my face. It felt good. I felt good.

Wind has its own entity now for me. It no longer is linked to depression. I don’t frown or shrink myself smaller when I hear the wind blowing in the trees. The wind is doing what it is meant to do. I open the window a crack to let fresh air in. Who brings the fresh air? The wind. Breathe it in. And out. And again. Feel the calmness.

Walking is helping me look after my mind and body. It might be an effort at times. But I never come back home thinking it was a waste of time. It might take a few steps to get into the mood but otherwise I’m off and away. A mood changer. A game changer. I am getting the hang of this thing called walking.

I have plans to go further and explore different places. I am going to explore my city as if I were a tourist. I will get to know it like the back of my hand. Starting with the neighbourhood and then branching out to include beaches and bush walks. Winter is a good a time as any to start. Now is as good a time as any to start.

Sober as a breath of fresh air.

Wet Wednesday

My woolly hat was firmly over my ears as I walked across the park today. It was a blustery stormy day. The threat of rain was in the air. Nothing came of it. I made it home in time before the rains came down. Today was easier to walk because I had had a decent night of sleep. No more 5am staring at the ceiling wishing for sleep hours . Last night was 1am. A huge improvement. I will take what I can get.

I started intermittent fasting yesterday for the first time. I am fasting for sixteen hours and eating for eight. That’s all that means. So at eight in the evening I stop eating and start eating again at noon the next day. And then repeat the cycle. I may slide the times to earlier but for now eight to noon sounds good. I tend to mindlessly snack or graze in the evenings so I am trying to curb this bad habit. Day 1 was a success. I drank herbal tea instead. So far so good.

Walking is slowly becoming a habit for me. It is growing on me. I need exercise. I need to get out of the house. I need the sun on my face. Walking was my top choice for exercise. I thought I would walk everyday this month. That hasn’t happened. However I have done about fifty percent. I will take that as a win. Some walking is better than none. I am not an Olympic athlete. I am no longer fit. For me today this result so far is all good. I am not berating myself for missing days or not getting more than eighty percent days checked off. I am practicing the art of kindness to myself. I am doing good.

Trying to change too many habits at once does end in disaster. I have mastered the habit of Morning Pages. That habit has been with me for over fifteen years. Some times the pages have been neglected but coming back to it is like riding a bike. Easy. Walking is the next habit to add to my daily routine. It’s coming along. I huff and I puff at times. I sigh. I sit down on the bench on the way when heading home. The steep inclines require extra effort. I am building up stamina. My shape is changing slightly. My body is readjusting the saddlebags. Once I get less puffed and it’s becoming a pleasure then I will treat myself to a forest walk.

I decided not to weigh myself during this journey of well being. I know I said I wanted to become 75kg (165 pounds) but I won’t be weighing myself everyday and feeling the highs and lows of fluctuating weight. I will be working towards better stamina, strength, longer walks, more places to explore and to eventually tackle some indoor rock climbing. I do want to be able to wear the clothes that are too small for me at the moment. No rush. One step at a time.

I gave up drinking. I can surely walk a few miles and then some. I can learn to be kind to myself and reward myself with something other than food. Less mindless eating. More mindful walking. I look forward to throwing out my worn out walking shoes. Won’t you join me?

Sober as a single step.

Against the wind

Self reflection and self improvement naturally follow after becoming sober. The thing I need to realise is to stop trying to do it all at once. To stop trying so hard. The process is a lifetime commitment. The mission does not finish on Tuesday next week. There is no endgame. It is not a race for perfection. It is not a race at all. If I try running for the rest of my life I will end up with stitch in my side and collapsed in a heap unable to breathe. I need to walk. I need to rest. I need to reflect. And then repeat in no particular order. It won’t be a straight path so there is no point in rushing ahead quickly. It might be the wrong path. If I were to compare anyone else with me it would only be with my former self and my current self and wonder about my future self. No one else needs to enter into the sphere and that is why it’s called self improvement.

I set myself a task for this month of June: To walk every day. I wasn’t very specific with the terms. I didn’t say how far I needed to walk. I didn’t say that it had to be outside but I implied that. The walk was to be outside, to get myself into fresh air and have a moment in nature. Again the nature part was implied. If I were to write the task now it would read as follows: To walk my Buddy every day outside to a park or a Pokestop. Who is Buddy and what is a Pokestop? Well my motivation to walk is the app PokemonGo and become Level 40. To do that I need to collect Pokemon, battle and evolve Pokemon. The entire game is designed around encouraging introverts to get outside and walk. It’s working. I don’t think the designer had fifty year olds in mind when he made the game. It was for youngsters. I’m still young at heart.

I missed a day walking because I was exhausted. The last day of May I walked a ridiculously long way and completely knackered myself. I didn’t give myself a rest. My body decided for me. I felt guilty for taking a day off after only a few days into the challenge. I felt like I had let myself down. For most of the day I kept wondering if I could go and do it and then deciding no. I wasted a lot of mind time on a decision that I didn’t take lightly. I gave myself a hard time because I had given myself a task and I had already broken my streak so soon. I was disappointed in myself.

Disappointment came because I was striving for the wrong thing. Disappointment came because I focused on the perfection of the perfectly crossed off days in a row. What I should have been focused on was the simple act of getting outside and walking. I missed a day. So what. Big deal. It happens. Get back out there and do it the next day. Keep trying. I am learning not to beat myself up with a gap in my habit tracker. It happened. I keep going.

My method up till now in life has been full speed ahead, a snail’s pace or stop. I haven’t managed to figure out that continuous regular pace or effort. Consistency. That’s the word I’m looking for, yes, consistency. To achieve this I must face boredom.

Before long with my walking challenge the walking route that I have chosen will become easy and I will become restless to change it up. If I continue with the route that becomes too easy I will become bored with it and that might cause me to stop walking completely. In order for the walking challenge to work I need to keep changing the route or location to relieve my boredom. For now I happy to continue the same route because i am getting my body used to this new shock of a routine, movement out in the fresh air. It is still a novelty for me. The boredom of the route hasn’t set in yet but I am almost there. After a few more days and I know I need to change it up. I know myself.

I used to make every excuse under the sun not to exercise. It’s too windy. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s too early. I can’t be bothered. I had associated the wind with excuses so much that I began to dislike the wind. Today I can say that I enjoy the wind on my face. I am embracing the wind. The wind doesn’t hold any excuse now for me not to go outside. I put on a hat, cover my ears and close the door behind me. I have a new relationship with the wind, a good one.

Back to boredom. Not every day that I walk will be wonderful. Some days I imagine it will be very ordinary, boring most likely. The role of the walk is as regular exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The long game is my good health. The walk is one part of it. I will find some parts of walking boring. I know I will. I need to be ready for that. I need to make walking more desirable or the reward more desirable. I don’t have all the answers yet but I am working on that. Exploring new places will make walking more desirable. What do I do when the weather turns nasty? What makes for a good reward when the end of June rolls around? No idea yet. I will ponder this on my next walk.

Sober as a double knotted shoelace.

Hope

Thank you to all those you supported me with kind words. It means a lot. I’m coming out of my funk. It has been almost a month since I last posted anything. I see hope. I feel joy again.

I asked for books to read but it turned out I couldn’t read. I would get to the introduction and just not get any further. Yes, I am one of those people who read an introduction. I gave up and went visual and stuck to film, dramas, YouTube and documentaries. Swedish and Polish detective dramas were a hit. I discovered The Last Kingdom. Loved it. Highly recommend. I watched a lot of video. Wild bears in hammocks even. And I slept a lot. I do not exaggerate when I mean a lot. I didn’t worry when I slept. If I got up at seven in the evening that was acceptable too. Anything was acceptable. I am back to reading again. I have the joy of reading back again. Hallelujah.

I couldn’t write either. My morning three pages became three lines to none at all. I didn’t despair. I accepted that it wasn’t to be. Instead I went visual. I was writing five dreams daily. Not dreams as in while sleeping but dreams for the future. I couldn’t write as I mentioned. Writing down dreams was out of the question. Instead I continued with the dreams with five pictures daily of something to dream about. I started off with a photo of a woman climbing a wall. Rock climbing indoors. Literally climbing walls. Another was a cup of tea. Masala chai. A boat. A pool. A book. A woman reading. And so on. I wrote a few words of encouragement to myself and dated it. Five pictures a day. I started on 1 May 2020 and have managed to continue on up till today. I cut and pasted pictures from the internet and placed it on a page in a file. I saved a new page each day and kept adding another page and then another. Copying and pasting new pictures each day. It is enjoyable to look at. Visually beautiful and inspiring. I will continue with it.

Dreams are what they are. They are big and small. Nothing is too big or too small. Some are based in reality some seem impossible. Nothing can stop you from dreaming. They are yours to indulge in. Dreams come and go. Some remain steadfast. Others go poof and disappear as quickly as they arrived. What are yours?

Walking four times last week helped immeasurably. Not being able to get out of bed to going for a walk. From night to day. The power of movement is not to be taken lightly. All I can do now is to continue. One foot in front of the other. Fresh air. Sunshine. And repeat.

I lay in the park on the grass on a slight incline. Staring up at the sun with my eyes closed, worshiping that big ball of light. It felt good. It felt warm. The underside of my forearms hadn’t seen sunlight in forever. They soaked up Vitamin D hungrily. It was a small moment of joy. We have had a drought for months so the grass is dry and surprisingly still green. It is a wonderful sight looking out over wide open spaces of green grass and trees and big blue skies. I appreciate my local park. I am grateful.

Sober as a single blade of green grass.