It’s Okay to Not Do It

This post is a reminder for my future self – it’s okay to not do it, it’s okay to not do all the things in one day, it’s okay to sit and just be still.

It seems that in between the articles about languishing and flourishing, there is the constant unspoken message of needing to always be doing. At least, this is how I feel. I read the articles about how it’s okay to feel burnt out or to be lacking motivation but then I think “yeah, whatever – I still have 15 things I need to get done today.”

And then I try to do those 15 things – some happen, some don’t, and generally of the ones that do get done – most are wrapped in frustration, fatigue, and disinterest.

And here we are today.

I had planned on leaving the house at 7 a.m. for a longish ride to Merrickville and then filling the rest of the day with all the things.

But instead, it’s noon and I’m still in my pyjamas. I got up at 10 a.m. I have zero intentions of riding, swimming, or really doing much.

I want to ride. I want to swim. I want to do everything. But some days I just can’t.

Is it burnout? Is it pandemic fatigue? Is it the fatigue of living with a chronic illness? Is it because the last few days I feel like I’ve been digesting knives? Is it because it got freaking hot really fast? Is it because of the hot flashes and perimenopause?

I don’t know what it is (probably all of the above and more)… What matters is the listening and reminding myself that it’s okay not to do it.

Starting Over

I had a blog post written, and I deleted it. It didn’t say anything I haven’t said before. This pandemic is hard. That’s it. It’s hard regardless of who you are and where you live. And staying angry about people who can’t follow recommendations or refuse to get the vaccine is wasted energy.

Instead here’s what’s happening these days:

  • Marc is recovering well from the bike/car accident. He’s back on the trainer and back at work. And yes, he’s taking it easy. A big thank you for calling, emailing, texting, and messaging – we really appreciate it.
  • The Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club is booming – last count we have 82 members. This is so fantastic and I can’t wait until we can organize rides and get people riding together in small groups.
  • The Ottawa Women’s Cycling Network is close to reaching 1,000 members! I never imagined this happening. It’s a real treat to read the posts and see people helping, encouraging, and sharing.
  • I’ve been swimming – and not in the pool. Not going to lie – that water is cold! But it’s not so bad. In fact it’s exhilarating. And quite addictive. It really is different swimming in cold water, it feels like a totally different sport.
  • I miss the pool and swim practices with the Nepean Masters Swim Club. Up until a few weeks ago, I was swimming four days a week and I was finally making some progress. Fingers crossed the pools reopen soon, I still have so much to learn.
  • April has been a pretty stellar month for cycling. I’m trying to hold back and not do any long rides yet. I’ve learned the hard way that 100+ km days in April results in cycling burn-out by July.
  • I’ve finished all of the Inspector Gamache books and I’m patiently waiting for the next book. I’m not a mystery reader but this series written by Louise Penny has been just what I needed. I started reading this series in 2016 and it became my go-to when I need a total escape.
  • I finished watching Formula 1 Drive to Survive season 3. Dang, this is a fascinating program. I know nothing about Formula One racing but this series is something else. Now, I’m waiting for season three of Sunderland ‘Til I Die.
  • I borrowed an idea from Austin Kleon and I’ve started a daily log journal. Every day I write a few sentences about the day. It can be whatever I want – my mood, something good, a recap of the day, really whatever I feel like jotting down. I like the freedom of this type of journaling – it takes less than a minute to do, there are no rules, and I’m not trying to write something profound.

And well, that’s about it. Life is really just rolling along and for this I’m thankful.

I miss family and friends. I miss the freedom of spontaneity. I miss restaurants. I miss concerts and museums and art. But I’m also so very lucky and fortunate to miss these things – so many people are missing a whole lot more.

(Obligatory photos since every blog needs a photo or two to help improve the click-rate…. These two photos might suggest a slow building pattern.)

Bare legs in the snow way back in 2009 in Belgium
Bright red legs after 23 minutes of swimming in 10.4C water

Resurfacing

It’s been a while… I’ve written numerous posts in my head but couldn’t get them out and on the screen. Frankly, this is a good thing.

I haven’t been super positive or optimistic for a while now. I was doing great and then the lockdown measures were announced before Christmas. The pool closure brought me to my knees. And no, I’m not exagerrating.

Swimming with the Nepean Masters Swim Club has been a bright light for me this fall. I even signed up for four swims a week in Jan/Feb 2021. And then it was gone.

I held onto Jan. 25 when swim club would resume… and then it happened again. Now my club is on hold until March 31.

The last few days I’ve been angry. Angry at the world. Angry at people. Just plain angry. Frustrated with it all. And feeling helpless to do anything about it.

And then I remembered something I said in 2019 to over 500 women at the Bushtukah S.W.E.E.T night: control the controllables.

These three words have brought me back. All I can do is control my emotions, behaviour, and outlook. And honestly, I’m tired of being angry.

I’ve turned off the radio. I’m listening to CBC Radio 2, podcasts, and a lot of Taylor, Adele, and Marcus. I’m back training for cycling (I need to get fit again so I can lead rides for the Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club). I signed up for dryland swim training with the Rideau Speedaus. I’m drawing regularly. I’m watching goofy television – Great Pottery Throwdown, Junior Bake Off, Hell’s Kitchen, Station 19, and Ugly House to Lovely House.

This is a scary time. I don’t know what will happen next. But I do know this – I’m fortunate to be alive today so it’s up to me to make this a good day.

For now, these two photos are giving me all the feels and hope:

New Motivation

Thank you to Andrea Emery for this slick logo and club kit!

A huge thank you to the women who joined the Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club call last night!

I had no idea what to expect. How many women would join the call? What would the interest level be like? Would people like the kit? Could we get people fired up for the 2021 cycling season?

Let’s just say, I was buzzing until almost midnight last night. I’m usually in bed by 9, so yeah, the Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club call was fantastic.

Good discussion. Great questions. Lots of enthusiasm.

It’s interesting, cycling is my thing. I feel best on the bike. But lately I’ve been finding it hard to get on the trainer and stay motivated to train. But geez – this changed last night!

My alarm went off at 4:00 this morning and I was still buzzing from last night’s call. I had zero thoughts of more sleep or riding later… I got on the bike and pedaled. All thanks to the vibe from the group of women who came together last night.

Isn’t amazing what can happen when you connect with like-minded people who are also excited, enthusiastic, and supportive?!

Fingers crossed we’re able to see all our plans for the Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club come together in 2021!

(Want to find out more about the club? Search for Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club on Facebook. We also have a network page for women to connect and chat as well – Ottawa Women’s Cycling Network.)

Alright, I’ve gotta go. I need to work out a winter riding plan so I can be fit and ready to enjoy riding my bike with the rad women in the Ottawa Women’s Cycling Club!

90 Seconds

Some days life is a lot. And it seems that these days life is really a lot.

And being a ruminator and over thinker this can lead to a slippery slope of internal debate, frustration, and despair.

I used to think being a planner was a positive. But it’s really easy to let planning become over thinking and constant internal chatter.

It’s time to get off this merry go-round. The only way I know how to do this is to write about it.

So here goes nothing: I give myself 90 seconds to over think, ruminate, and debate whatever thing has invaded my brain.

This means I have 90 seconds to get over the person who is trying really hard to bully me. This means I give myself 90 seconds to rethink the off-hand comment. This means I have 90 seconds to worry about what comes next or might happen. This means I have 90 seconds to think about what I’ll have for breakfast tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

I think you get the idea. It’s super easy for me to rethink, agitate, and over think the emails, comments, messages, plans, and stuff of life. So 90 seconds it is.

A big thank you to a good friend who suggested the power of the written word in helping me get out of my head.