Sometimes we all need a petite re-charge.
Today I was ripping out a seam for what felt like the 4,000th time and decided I need a break. I actually felt like I needed a break the moment I woke up today but that’s a different story. Quickly tho, why can’t the baby and the dog coordinate and be up in the middle of the night on the same nights?? Why is that too much to ask?
I think we all know when we’ve hit that point when it’s time to put down the seam ripper/pen/computer/legal document and take a break. However, a quick coffee break or shift to focus on something else does not often lead to a re-charge. So the question becomes, what do we need to do to get that break but feel re-charged afterwards so that we can head back into every day life and feel ready for the next round?
It took me years to figure out what I needed to re-charge. No. scratch that. It took me a decade. I tried a lot of different things in the process of locating the ones that work. I used to live on Vancouver Island and almost everyone I knew would walk along the breakwater to clear their minds (or, if you asked them, it was to clear their hearts and souls but that’s too much for me.) So I tried it. I’d go, wander the path, try to feel calm and relaxed and breathe in the beautiful ocean air. I’ll be honest, for me all I felt was bored. And hungry. Great, now my re-charge leads to eating. Perfect.
So scratch that. I tried different forms of working out – weight lifting, kickboxing, group fitness classes, yoga, Pilates, boot camp just to name a few. Yeah sure, they kind of worked. No, no, they really didn’t. I felt healthier for sure and I felt better about myself in general but I mostly felt tired and sore so no, that’s not re-charging.
Somewhere in there I started long distance running and that’s where I discovered my re-charge. Not the running. The running itself also makes me feel tired and sore but it was where I was running that I found my re-charge. I was training for a marathon and for anyone that doesn’t know how stupidly long a marathon is, it’s long. Really, really long. And the training for it is like 5 times the distance. So on my “long run” days, I’d have to map out a run that was oh somewhere around 20 or so kilometers long and since I can’t stand running a course out and back (who needs to see stuff TWICE?) I’d have to map a course that was 20 km from point A to point B and beg for someone to drive me home at the end. Inevitably, I’d end up mapping a course through obscure neighborhoods, parks, trails and I’d end up running through these off the beat-and-path areas that I never knew existed. I also found that typically I didn’t run into a lot of people out there and for sometimes many minutes I found myself alone in these beautiful little places with no other sounds then my feet hitting the pavement, my (labored) breathing and the hum of whatever nature was around. For the first time, after getting home and drinking 8 gallons of water and eating a small 7 course brunch, I actually would feel re-charged. The mixture of nature and quiet and lack of people seemed to be the perfect combination for me.
I have a 10 month old baby and am not fortunate enough to be one of those people who gave birth and hopped on out onto a 10km run the next day. I did try but apparently during pregnancy I gained a few pounds (weird hey?) and put some strain on some joints (also weird) and my body despite losing the weight feels completely different then it did pre-pregnancy. When I started running again I found my knees and back were not thrilled with me and I’ve had to be very, very careful about increasing mileage. So most days, when I do run, it’s only for about 30 mins and I’m okay with that.
That being said, living in Alberta means I have access to what I’ve decided is the best re-charge area in the world – the Rocky Mountains (I suspect Bora Bora is a close second… I’ll let you know the next time I hop on over that way.) Driving to Calgary from Vancouver Island I fell madly in love with the Rockies. I don’t miss the ocean because I have access to the most amazing mountain range in the world. The views, the colors, the smells, the quiet (except for that chipmunk I was CONVINCED was a bear but that’s for a different blog.) I love the mountains in the summer for hiking and snowshoeing in the winter. Cross-country skiing may well be the best way for me to re-charge – no threat of bears and hours of quiet. I realized that I didn’t need to be running to feel re-charged, I just needed to get away from people and things and feel surrounded by a little bit of beauty. I’m not a crazy hiker… my boots are about 10 years old and I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to too much elevation but give me a lovely 8 km wander and I’m perfect.
I’m headed out to the mountains tomorrow with my baby in a hiking carrier for the first time and I’m praying she’ll re-charge just as well as I do out there. We’ll see!
Stunning, amazing, unbelievable photo taken by @rockywanders.