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How I Got Over: Lessons From Running And Writing

18 Apr

runner

When I turned 30 at the end of January this year I was going through a bit of an existential crisis. My default state was one of constant angst and for a while I struggled to put my finger on what exactly was the root cause. This was an unusual and daunting experience for me because I am a naturally positive person and for the most part that is my default state. Whatever dark clouds life has sent my way I have always been able to see the silver lining. I have overcome much greater challenges that the ones I was dealing with at the time, but I also failed to remember that. In fact I can’t remember any other time in recent memory that I have retreated to cynicism as much as I did during that time. It probably didn’t help that at the time I was also dealing with the painful breakdown of a relationship that had basically consumed nearly every waking moment of my 2013.

So there I found myself at the top of 2014, my friends all seemingly pairing off en masse’ and beginning their happily ever afters’ and my own relationship was going nowhere fast. I wish I could say it didn’t bother me that my friends were all getting married but that would be a lie. It did. More than I was willing to openly admit at the time. And the fact that all this seemed to be happening around the time I was saying goodbye to my twenties only seemed to compound matters even further. My twenties have been the best years of my life so far. But when I looked at where I was in my life on my 30th birthday it seemed like I had nothing to show for it. I felt like a failure and a ‘has been’, doomed to sip from the cup of nostalgia for the rest of my days.

I felt sorry myself, and became more withdrawn from the people that matter the most to me. It was pathetic, unnecessary and uncharacteristic of me. For a moment I forgot who I was. I forgot to live my truth. I stopped doing the things I love. I was unkind to myself. But worst of all I stopped living in the moment. I found myself oscillating between thinking about what once was and daydreaming about what could be, but I was hardly ever in the moment. I wasn’t doing any living. That was the root cause of my existential crisis. As soon as I figured that out I became determined to get out of that rut I now found myself in. But being the chronic over thinker and part time procrastinator that I am it would be weeks before I actually took any decisive action.

My plan was simple. I needed to pay more attention to my health. I wasn’t getting any younger and I couldn’t get away with the bad habits I got away with in most of my twenties. I need to become more physically active. I also needed to start doing the things I love more and more like writing.

It’s been six weeks since I put that plan into action and I am in a much healthier and happier place than I was before. I have worked out and written every single week day during those six weeks and the results speak for themselves. I have managed to write almost 40000 words during that period. I have posted 30 blogs which is almost as many I did all of 2013. I have also covered a distance of a little over 350km running and combined with my daily workout routine I have managed to drop 5.3kg in those six weeks. This leaves me just 2kg over the my three month target weight. I am hoping to achieve in the next six week cycle. I am definitely in greater shape both mentally and physically than I was when I started out but this is only the beginning.

Throughout the whole process I have been able to pick up on a few parallels between writing and running. When writing you start somewhere and resolve to get somewhere else. You get there one word at a time. Running is the same.. Both also require discipline and a sustained resolve. With both acts all you can do is stretch one stride and write one word. The Zen of both, is letting go, not thinking about the ground you have covered or the words you have written, not worrying about whether or not you’ll fill the page with what you want or make it the next km, but just being as present as you can be in the instant of a stride or the stroke of computer keys. And that has been how I have slowly started to learn how to be in the present moment as well as appreciate it.

My goal is that by the time I turn 31 next January I want to be in the pest physical shape I have ever been in my life. I am under no illusions as to how difficult of a challenge this is but I have proved to myself over the last six weeks that it is achievable as long I stay dedicated and put in the work. And that is exactly what I plan to do. Initially when I sat out on my first six week cycle the main objective was that not quitting. I succeeded in that regard and managed to follow through on my goals which is something that I am very proud of. As a little reward fir myself I am going to take a mini break over the Easter holiday to reassess, re-calibrate and refocus before I embark on the next six week cycle. I already know that I want to improve the quality of my writing as well intensify my workout regime. So I am going to use this little break to formulate a plan that that I will start execute after the break. That means for the first time in six weeks I will be missing a couple of days of actually posting anything on this blog including the still to be concluded It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango series.

I will return to posting regularly later next week after the Easter break. In the meantime In case you missed some of the posts you can always catch up on the blogs I have already written. I have listed some of the most popular as well as some of my personal favourites below.

Kinstukuroi: Finding beauty in brokeness

A Few Good Men

It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 3)

Love In The Future

Lobola 101: It’s A Family Thing

A (Yellow) Bone To Pick

My Very Own House Of Stones

Reflections Of A Struggling Culture Vulture

Her: A Story About Technology, Love & Relationships

I Have Never Been IN Love

Enjoy and Happy Holidays.

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself. ― Leonardo da Vinci

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