Early in 2010 I told my blog readers I’d decided to give myself the gift of a year. That’s what the whole “year of 40” category is about on this blog. I will turn 40 in November. The gift I chose to give myself was care. I have made taking really good care of myself a priority for the first time in my life. We’re just past the halfway mark for the year, so I’m reporting in on my progress.
One Journey, Many Steps
I knew that taking care of myself would be really difficult. I knew that, while it would be lovely to think about it being all trips to the spa, nights of eight hours of sleep and delicious, healthy meals I knew that was not the whole picture. It’s been really tough, truthfully. The first six months have definitely been mostly about changing behaviors and becoming conscious of many things I’d chosen to ignore. I suffer from a bit of seasonal affective disorder and February and March were (as they typically are) pretty rough. I wrote about my struggle in the post, Everything, all at once. I was kind of an emotional mess before spring really arrived, having hurt myself pretty badly and then a few illnesses that left me feeling drained. It was like I had to reach the bottom before I could start the climb, but climb I have!
I’ve learned so much so far — I’ve learned that all of this is a process, that much of what I want to accomplish for my health is a chipping away rather than a revolution. I cut myself slack where I need it, and kick my own butt when necessary. I’ve been running to get in shape and just last weekend registered for the first race I’ve ever attempted.
I am getting there; starting to feel stronger, starting to have more energy and peace. When I get frustrated I tell myself to “run it out,” and I hit the trail, pounding my way back to calm.
Care for the Body and the Mind will Follow
As my physical care has increased, I’ve noticed something unexpected. I’m writing more. I’m thinking more clearly. I’m allowing myself time to think (and much of my thinking happens in that solitude of running, walking or rest I give myself) and because of that, my writing is getting better. I have more capacity for what I love to do, which also contributes to my happiness.
I am still absolutely committed to this gift of a year and am grateful for my friend Suzanne introducing the concept to me. I know there were many of you who thought about giving yourself a year with me . . . have you done it? How is it going? If you haven’t done it, think about it; it’s the best gift I’ve ever had.