Baby Steps Forward, Baby Steps Backward

I’m really trying to focus on the here and now, to enjoy life, to shed the unnecessary, and to find a deeper balance in my life. This is part of my Lenten journey this year and I guess it is not meant to be easy. I started out battling the tail-end of a two-week virus and behind in my half-marathon training. Two weeks later, I’m sick again and getting even more behind.

I felt good about my race on Sunday, but the cold was rough on my throat and my first outdoor run in months was rough on my legs and knees. I had intended to do a lower-body workout Monday, but my legs were pretty sore from the run. Then I awoke on Tuesday still sore and also tired and with swollen glands under my chin. Sigh. I’m too tired for a run or a workout.

I’m supposed to run three miles Tuesday, then five on Wednesday and three more on Thursday. Saturday I am hoping to get outside for my ten-mile run. My body may be telling me to cut back for a while. I’m ok with that…I’m pretty sure I can run a half-marathon even if I don’t build up to it like I did before. It’s not ideal, but taking some weeks easier makes more sense than running myself (literally!) ragged.

It’s time to go with the flow. The days are getting longer and the snow is slowly melting away. My daughter has started softball practice. Spring-like weather can’t be too many weeks away. In the meantime, I’m not going to let it bother me. I have plenty to do indoors and I feel as if my “incremental” approach is yielding some early results.

Over the last couple of days, I cleaned out my refrigerator. I know, that doesn’t sound like much, but if I’d set out to do it all at once I wouldn’t have done it at all. Instead, everytime I opened the fridge, I checked the expiration dates on a few items and, in most cases, disposed of them.  I did feel ambivalent about tossing the unopened, and apparently unspoiled, carton of sour cream…but it was several months past its expiration date. I hate to waste things, but instead of focusing on what I’d wasted I decided to change my behavior going forward. After all, the only good thing about guilt is that it helps you learn what you shouldn’t be doing so that you can change your behavior to align better with your values (or realize that you shouldn’t be feeling guilty after all). I have been buying fewer things at the grocery and trying to only buy what we’ll use before it goes bad. It gets a bit tricky when the older kids come home for just a few days, but I’m getting better at it.

I’ve also taken my new incremental habit to the mail and bills. I am more consistent at getting through the mail and recycling most of it. I schedule the bill payments as I get the bill or enter the automatic payments into Quicken. Then I file the bill statements and usually pull out at least the oldest statement and shred it. Viola! I may not be making a dent on all the piles of paper I have, but I’m not making any new ones.

I’m not doing as well with Spanish learning, but I am doing my lessons with the Duolingo application several days a week. I’m coming along with the basics and starting to learn some phrases and simple vocabulary. It’s kind of fun, with a blend of writing, speaking, and translating.

Now to keep up with it all and make it part of my life. Along the way, I’ll stop doing some things as well. That’s a bit harder to figure out, but even more necessary for having a simpler, more integrated life.

Find the Joy in the Journey…whether in baby steps or giant leaps!



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