Obligatory Pursuits

Understandably, there are times in life when we let our obligations take over.  We have responsibilities to uphold, people depending on us, deadlines to keep, standards for ourselves, and performance reviews for which we maintain our work ethic.  Through these times, we are liable to become bogged down; weighted by the world of responsibility waiting for us to attend and bring to conclusion all that busy-business that gives us our paycheck and keeps the roof over our heads.  We forget to schedule time for ourselves; to make dinner, go dancing, go for a walk, or take a bath.  Simple, every-day easy tasks that help us feel more whole that we brush away because we “don’t have time”.

I have been trapped in one of these debilitating, depressing cycles for the last month.  It has been incredibly exhausting.  I’m tired, worn-out, burned out, and want nothing more than to stay home, read my book, and sleep.

For a week.

But that is what my subconscious thinks I need.  The part of me that craves rest taking over my whole schedule with only rest.  I know if I sleep and read for a week and do not do those other things that call to me like running and the simple self-care things like taking time for a bath (and to do laundry), I will still feel tired, stressed, and unsatisfied.

Cabbage stew – surprisingly delicious!

Sunday evening, as I was cooking myself a cabbage stew, I reflected upon the amount of energy I have been allowing myself to put toward negative perspective and outlook.  I was leaving no room for anything positive to happen, and if it did, I’d be lucky if I was able to see the good in the outcome.  Fortunately, my conscious mind came back to the present this weekend after a series of events caused a change of perspective.  I had a slightly rough start to the weekend, and Saturday plans fell through with good friends for brunch.  Fortunately, this opened up space for me to contact an old friend, and we spent the entire day catching up.  We had a great time.  Sunday was spent helping family, and as rough as that was, my sister and I had a really wonderful, heart-felt time talking and connecting over lunch.  I am truly grateful for the time I was able to spend with her.

The Fish & Chip Shop – Luncheon Location

Over the past few months, as Summer has faded from her brilliant greens to the glowing yellows, burnt oranges, and bright reds of Fall, we now find ourselves on the way to what may be a doozy of a Winter, and I am finally beginning to feel that this life I lead is really mine.  I have reclaimed my power to make choices about with whom I spend my time, how I spend those moments, and how I present myself or react within each moment of the day – and I am finally learning how to be present.

This past summer, I set a goal to run every day, for 22 days.   And I wrote about that experience here.  I woke up early, ran, made it through my day of work, attended classes in the evenings, and made time to notate my miles or blog about the experience later that day.  I took photos while I ran for fun, and smiled at people I passed because I want to share that joy-full feeling with others.  Writing brought me to a new place of community; I have made connections with people I would have never met in my day-to-day life.  Noting all the positive influences these two activities have had on my life, it’s a wonder I ever stopped either of them!

In all honesty, it is much more difficult to motivate myself to get out in the torrential downpours we have recently become subject to, and I probably will not be taking my phone for pictures in this weather.  But this year, I made a promise to myself to keep running through the winter; come rain, snow, sleet, or hail, I am going to keep moving.  Thanks to my grandpa and my mom for leading by example through their inspirational journeys of running the 50 states (one just finished and one beginning), and for a dear friend who is quickly talking me into running my first marathon in San Francisco next year… It will be incredible to run over that bridge!

So here is my pledge: I will keep running, and I will keep writing.  Not to stay physically fit or to keep up with other bloggers, but because pursuing these activities helps me find my peace and my joy.

Make time for your favorite activities. Only you can choose what to pursue each day – and whether it is the activities that fulfill your obligations or those that fulfill your heart’s desires that gain the emphasis.

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