Friday’s post about passion got me thinking about why I do whatever is that I do. There are so many things that inspire me, that I realized this idea is a series and I would like to invite other bloggers to link up and contribute. I hope that we can inspire each other to think about why we do what we do when we do it. You can fill in that blank with any thing that motivates you (or doesn’t) and motivates others. It’s about sharing, inspiring, motivating, and captivating.
Why I _________ #1.
Why I move-daily.
You could substitute move with a lot of things-exercise, sweat, raise my heartrate. I need to do all of these things on a daily basis. Without them the energy builds inside into a type of nervous anxiety. It took me well into my adult years to learn this. I was always a busy child. Everyday of the week was filled; gymnastics, karate, CCD (that’s bible class for all you non-catholics), tennis, and piano lessons. This was in between being on every club and organization that school offered.
My plate was always full. I remember being in the 4th grade and having to go to karate (I hated karate), but I had 2 reports due the next day on countries in Africa. (What teacher gives 2 research reports to 4th graders due on the same day?) Anyway, I was telling my Dad that I couldn’t go to karate because I had so much to do. I broke down in tears. He didn’t get it. Mom had to whisper to him, just loud enough that I could hear, “she’s stressed out.” I was in 4th grade and stressed out!
So, I move because of stress. But, I am stressed because I sign up for everything and always have to have a full plate to exhaust all the energy. It is a vicious circle.
A Family that Moves Together Stays Together
What helped was having a home gym growing. It consisted of a treadmill, weight bench, and a borrowed exercise bike from my Grandma. Actually, I can remember my Grandma riding the bike while watching WWF at night. My parents always worked out at a gym and then later bought a treadmill. Definitely some inspiration to my life of exercise. It was in our parlor (that’s East Coast for front living room) and later in the basement. I used it-often. Sometimes late at night before bed. I found I had trouble sleeping if I hadn’t worked out during the day. I still have this problem.
Not to mention that if you are Watts, you certainly have to be in shape at all times to partake in Watts activities. It comes with the territory.
Growing into adulthood
Once I hit college, there was no after school activities, and very few clubs to join at my small college. Not to mention that high school was harder than college for me! My brain wasn’t stimulated like it had been and energy accumulated. There were peaks and valleys during this time. I didn’t always feel the need to exercise daily, but if I went three days the urge was compulsive and hard to resist. I ate more to fill the “gaps.” And most times I wouldn’t know just quite what to do with myself. I was terrible at time management and I said “yes’ to everything just to have something to do. I never knew just quite how “to be.” To just be.
Once I graduated college and settled into my first teaching job, the nervous and anxious energy came back full force. I had a regular job and that was all. No classes to take, after school activities, or clubs. I was living alone and had more down time than ever. There was a significant shift from the social life of my college years to having a career or profession. In past years it had been diagnosed as depression, and anxiety. But, I started mountain biking again and realized that if I biked in the morning I was so tired that I needed a nap in the afternoon and still fell asleep at 8pm. I slept better, my brain was clear and focused, and I felt that I could tackle most things without becoming overwhelmed.
But, mountain biking was hard on my body, so I turned to running in between the days of biking. It was an epiphany. I finally had a management system for all of my “head problems.” Going long distances allowed me to take on less, but to go more deeply into what I was doing. There was depth in areas of my life where there was once only breathe. I took on more to fill the gaps and to exhaust my energy. Really all I had to do was run, bike, or lift for many hours a week. From here it spiraled into running marathons and racing mountain bikes. Training gave me a goal to focus on.
It allowed me time alone to work on me-both physically and mentally. I never realized this more until I broke my foot not once, not twice, but three times. Without being able to work out before or after school I was lost. Without being able to train I became unfocused. The anxiety came back, the depression, and this incredible feeling of a loss of control.
Social Benefits of Being in Shape Year Round
Living a lifestyle close to the mountains and being engaged in activities such as mountain biking, running, and skiing, requires a certain base level of fitness. If someone invites me to go hike a 14’er (that’s lingo for a 14 foot mountain) I want to say “yes” and not worry about whether or not I will be able to do it. If someone asks me to go do a backcountry ski trip, I want to say “yes” and start packing. I want to be able to not only participate, but keep up. Many of the races (minus full marathons) I sign up for the night before. My training is my life.
One year ago my foot was still broken. Right now I stand 3 weeks away from my next marathon. Why do I move? It liberates me, it grounds me, it focuses me, and takes away any feelings of anxiety. Why do I go such long distances? That’s an answer for another post.
Why do you do what you do?
Do you have inspiration for a post on this topic in the future? If you do, share in the comments and get writing! When you post link up to this post!