thoughts while running like old times (# 22)

Ah! I set out running at dusk, and it was the first time in MONTHS that it truly felt good. Instead of plodding along just to get in my 2.5 miles, I felt like I could vary the pace with my mood or the music, speed up with a burst and drop easily back to my steady state instead of crapping out altogether. Maybe I can attribute my enjoyment to listening to an old running mix I used a lot from 2010-2012, when I was running many more miles at a faster clip. Revisiting those songs made me feel good, reminded me of past accomplishments and reawakened my knowledge that transformation takes time, but it can be a joyful process.

I reflected on how our daily patterns and habits can change over the years as our life circumstances change.  In turn, our habits affect how we exercise, eat, read, everything. For example, four years ago I was in a different (much more stressful) job, and I had a boyfriend who was in graduate school. He spent a lot of time working too. My habit, on the nights I did not have my kids, was to work as late as needed (maybe 6 p.m.), go to the gym, and then go to his place to have a late dinner. I always got my workouts in after work because my gym was between work and his place. I might drink some wine with dinner, but I would never start drinking until then (8 or 8:30 p.m.). My boyfriend liked to be asleep by 11 p.m. if possible, and 12 a.m. at the absolute latest. It was a relatively unvaried, contained situation, for half of the week anyway.

Then several years later, the boyfriend and I broke up. I fell in love with my husband, and I was so passionately eager to see him straight after work that I would speed home as soon as possible. As a self-employed person, he was generally available if I was. Sometimes I would work out later, sometimes not; sometimes I would work out in the morning instead, sometimes not. Sometimes, we’d have some wine when I got home, sometimes not. Before long, I got a less stressful job, closer to home, and my commuting path changed. The point is, my habits shifted with my life circumstances.  And gradually my new habits allowed for a less rigid routine, more flexibility, more decisions about how to allocate my time, and ultimately the opportunity to drink more alcohol. Which I did.

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energy (# 8)

One criterion for determining whether one is alcohol dependent: passing up favorite activities for opportunities to drink. I could feel this happening over the past year. I was having a harder and harder time waking up to exercise. Also, I was opting to have a glass of wine after work, which turned into several. At that point, I wasn’t in the right condition to exercise or go to tango events like I used to do several times a week. Lately, I have been tangoing about once every two weeks at best.

It has been enjoyable running again (3 days in row!). Tonight I went to tango class. Tomorrow, I will be up at 5:45 a.m. and happily heading out for a jog. It feels good to look forward to my activities again. I now have room in my brain to anticipate such things, since I am no longer pinning my hopes on having a drink or three.