Slow night at the Tavern

Boxing Day at Court Square Tavern. My horoscope told me today I needed to watch my accounts and watch any habits that may be forming, so I'm likely going to head home after closing up in about 30 minutes from now. Everything's been done, so I'm just waiting out the two tables I have left. One is a group of guys, and the other is a trio. I'm assuming these are folks getting together in a quiet space so they can chat while listening to some music and enjoying a cold beverage.

Just the service I like to provide.

This last month has been a whirlwind of activity. I'm definitely not who I was a year ago when I was despondent and mourning the end of my marriage. I wasn't sure what would happen with the children, what would happen with me, and wondering if I was going to make it.

I made it, most definitely. But, now I'm wondering how I can improve a little more. And, of course, I'm wondering where I'll be a year from now.

My "therapy" has mostly consisted of not asking that sort of question of myself. Or rather, being okay if I couldn't quite see the answer. I took things one day at a time. I reordered my sense of self, and allowed myself to have a little breathing space.

Never underestimate the power of breathing. My running has taught me that. My new-found ability to cope with stress has been the primary beneficiary. By extension, those I come into contact with have also been much happier.

Our job as humans should be to reduce stress, first for ourselves, and then for those around us. I am hopeful that as 2010 draws near, I can extend outward and look a little less inward. Our species is filled with paradoxes and contradictions.

The Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" comes on, flooding me with memories of being a child at Hilton Head, hearing this song for the first time and being infatuated with it. I take a deep breath and think of all the songs that have filled me with joy, filled me with a sense that I'm connected to this place and time, and to all the other places and times that have occurred. I can imagine pubs filled with people singing this song at the top of their lungs, everyone temporarily united.

Music has reduced my stress level, as I have renewed my attempt at realizing the notes in my head. I've learned to take confidence in the nascent ability I have to put words to music. I am not sure if I will ever manage to fully materialize these dreams into reality, but the journey is what matters.


A milestone that must be documented

365 days ago at this exact moment, I got on a treadmill at Gold's Gym. I was 190 pounds and I'd signed up three days before as a way of coping with the separation from my wife. I had to do something to burn off stress, so I overcame my fear of going to a public place to exercise.

This milestone should be 366 days ago, because I had driven into the parking lot but turned around because I was too scared to go in.

But, a year ago today, I had my free personal training session, which basically consisted of taking measurements and then doing a little cardio. That meant I got my chubby sweat-pants wearing self onto a treadmill and walked for 30 minutes, messing around with the controls.

Over the next week, I went to the gym five days out of seven, switching between the exercise bike and the treadmill. I gradually started jogging on these, and spent as much time as I could.

Work begins in 31 minutes, but I'll just say I just got back from a 3.5 mile run I ran in 29 minutes, and this was a recovery run in which the object was to go at a pace at which I did not surpass my aerobic heart rate. A nice easy run. In the freezing cold. Miles 13 through 16.5 this week.

Anyone who is in a dark hole should seriously consider exercise as the way out. I look back at myself a year ago and I look at myself now, and I don't recognize who I was. I was angry. I was lost. I blamed other people for everything. I was so scared and worried everything was going to fall apart.

I'm not going to say I never feel those things now. But, I do know that I don't want to feel those things, and I've got something to strive for. I have a tremendous coping mechanism that fills me with so much energy, has given me a much healthier body, and has introduced me to so many people.

Now that I'm training again for an actual race, I know that I have a short-term purpose that will help me get through everything else. I do regret not running the Richmond marathon, but that's okay. Sometimes we change our plans, but when we've made the decision to do so, we must move on. Sometimes that's hard.

And that's why I run. I used to think running was hard. Now, I know it's something I can do. I have a platform in which I can practice pacing, form, technique. Now I want to improve every aspect of my life, even though at times I might stumble.

Now, 26 minutes until work and I must run.

(see what I did there?)


Rules for this December

I hereby resolve this December will be awesome.

I will not think about what may have happened a year ago.

Any previous December that may have occurred did most certainly occur to a different version of myself. I will not pay attention to anniversaries which only mean something to that version of myself who still wants to hold on to the comfort of pain. I will forgive and I will love.

I shall look upon myself as an ever-changing work in progress who has demonstrated resilience, humility, and humanity.

I shall not look for the black lining in everything. I will not procrastinate. I will not give in to negativity. I will not be my own worst enemy. I will not blow up every mistake into the sinking of the Titanic. Molehills shall stay molehills. I will not think about my impending demise, my nails being too long, or the pain in all the diodes down my left side.

I will look upon the bright smiling faces of my children on Christmas Day. I will not worry about the money I spent on their presents, which will hopefully give them the same kind of memories I had as a child. I will sing songs with them. I will find reindeer antlers for my dog. I will live. I will laugh. I will make positive memories of Yuletide joy. I will bring tidings, whatever those actually are.

I will prepare for 2010 by finding new ways to improve myself. I will continue learning to live in the moment while keeping perspective of the entire journey I am on. I will work hard.