Alright, I think we’re past the point where I need to explain my absence. Here’s the latest update: I ran the half marathon, well I ran some of it. My foot did not hold up, but walking and running for 2 hours and 39 minutes gives you some time to think. I realised that I had no business being out there trying to set a personal best. I had put in the training, but I had neglected everything else, my studies, my nutrition and my recovery time. Nevertheless, I was grateful for my ability to run, walk and pay an exorbitant amount of money to do so with 14,000 other people. Since then, I’ve been pleaded with by my very caring physiotherapist to finally give my foot a break. So I’m attempting to do that, but it’s triggered a whole new identity crisis. As the semester winds up too, I’m left wondering what I do, or maybe more dramatically, who I am if I’m not a student and a runner? Realistically, I know I’m still a runner and taking a break doesn’t mean shit, so I’m not stressing about that one. Regardless, finishing up my training cycle left me feeling a little lost again. When I feel this way, I consume; food, shopping and more productively, knowledge. Thankfully, I actually needed a few new pieces of clothing for work, so no major damage was done in that department. However, my jeans are bloody tight thanks to Tart Bakery, so the next logical thing to do was buy more jeans. My crisis was over before the jeans arrived, thanks anyway Post Haste.
As I learnt from reading Peak Performance last semester, I knew the best way to be productive was to intersperse periods of hard work (in this case, study) with periods of relaxation. When you’re working on anything tough, having down time can feel counterproductive, so I choose to continue to learn. I bought Lopez Lomong’s biography and listened to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast, waiting for the lessons to emerge. You see, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we interact with the world through a lens, even the most straightforward situations will be interpreted subjectively. I know that if I consume as much knowledge as I can from varying sources, I will draw out the meanings that serve me at this point. I could read the same paragraph tomorrow, next week or next month and it may have an entirely different significance level. What I’ve learnt during this crisis cycle (I may have coined this millennial specific term), is that instead of searching for a particular ‘purpose’, I’m going to live with purpose. A concept that kept jumping out at me was ‘living deliberately’. It occurred to me that I’ve been living the second half of this year just trying to stay afloat, moving from one problem to the next, sticking on a Band-Aid and moving on. I have just been going with the flow, which can feel good sometimes, but I’ve found myself off track, or more specifically misaligned.
I have been making my choices based on what others expect of me, the goals they have for me, and as a result I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of pressure. Some days I have literally said out loud that I feel like the world is squashing me, and now it’s time to hit the reset button. When I was out on the half marathon course, I thought about what I had been trying to prove, was I really trying to prove myself wrong, or everyone else right? Everyone said I could do it, but the thing is, I already knew I could, but I also knew that this probably the best time to try. With this revelation, I thought about waiting until after exams to revamp my life, but I know that hasn’t worked in the past. Every time I finish a semester (I'm into my 10th now) I would construct an outrageously long to-do list, what I needed to achieve to get my life back on track, to be the best version of myself. This implied that what I was currently doing wasn't good enough, but by whose standards? I'm abandoning this tactic this time around, what I need to do is make small choices each day, starting right now to recreate habits that lead me closer to a life that I enjoy, where I feel a sense of control and contentment. So I put on a load of washing and booked a haircut, next week I’ll look at my closet to see what items bring me joy, and which ones may bring others more joy. Yes, I also watched the Minimalists documentary and listened to their audiobook, if you hadn’t already guessed. I’m ready to start deliberately spending my time on the things that matter, whether that’s going to the gym with my friends, finish my damn exams with the level of effort they deserve or volunteering my time in my community. I’m going to try to stop categorizing myself by what I think I should be and hope to free myself from some of the pressure.
Things I am not:
- An epidemiologist (some of y'all will get this)
- An elite athlete
- Marie Kondo
Things I am:
- A sister, aunty and life partner
- A lifelong learner
- An everyday athlete
- A writer (this one has taken a long time to accept)
- A challenger of the status quo
Let me know what living deliberately looks like to you, flick me an email, leave a comment or DM me on instagram.