I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Other Side of Halfway

Several times a week I go to the gym, and it's a circuit gym which means you do some cardio warm up, then two circuits of mixed cardio/weights, then some more cardio, then stretching.  The two circuits are formed around a rectangular shape - meaning lots of stations along two long walls, then the shorter walls have only 1 station. In my warped mind, I think of the long walls as "half circuits" meaning that once I've done one end of one circuit, I consider myself 1/4 done. Then it's 1/2 done at the end of one full circle, then 3/4 done at the end of one circuit and a half, and so on. In my head I'm mentally working out how much further I've got to go - and it's not for the reasons you might think.

I've been a gym junkie most of my adult life, and as amazing as it might seem for a fat chick, I actually really enjoy exercising. I like that for that single hour of every day, nobody is demanding my attention. I can't hear my phone ring, I can't hear my email inbox ping, nobody wants me to do anything for them, and for that hour I think about NOTHING (except for counting circuits.) I'm not counting circuits because I hate exercise and can't wait for it to be over, I count circuits because I am totally a horizon person AND I'm the sort of person who gets a fabulous high off of achieving things. Meaning I am *always* looking forward to the next thing, or reaching the finish line, or ticking something off a list, or making another list. I'm forever looking at the sunset in front of me and almost never looking at the sunrise that was behind me.

I don't recommend this as a lifestyle choice, because it means that I never truly appreciate how far I've come, how much history there is behind things, and I'm spending so much time living in the tomorrow that I rarely if ever appreciate the journey it took to GET to right now.

Back to my gym sessions - so all the way through the first circuit, I'm thinking, "Woo hoo, I'm nearly at halfway!" and then, because I'm OCD like that, I'll count how many more stations there are until I get to halfway. Then once I've finished a whole circuit and started another one, I think to myself, "YEAH! I'm ON THE OTHER SIDE of halfway!" meaning that I am now on the downward slope to the finish line.

That expression - 'the other side of halfway' is one that I use A LOT (in my head). It applies to long drives, lists of cakes which need finishing, lists of anything at all, biscuits which need cutting out, emails which need replying to, counting sleeps waiting for something wonderful to happen, counting hours until meeting friends, whatever. I spend my entire life wanting to be on the other side of halfway, because once you are on the other side of halfway, NOTHING can stop you. You're on the downward slope to victory and that, my friends, is what it's all about for me. The horizon. The victory. The end point. FINISHING on the other side of halfway.

In short, it's not at all about the journey and ALL about the finish, and then it's about starting the next thing so you can finish that as well. Start, do, fnish, repeat.

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend I've not seen in a really long time.  She is, by all accounts, one of the most wonderful people I have ever had the good fortune to be friends with. The thing about her is, she is living an ordinary life - in a totally EXTRAordinary way.  She has faith, she has wisdom, she has knowledge, she has belief, she has temperance and she has patience. Like every other person, I am sure she has her moments when all of those traits abandon her entirely, but on the whole I've never meet anyone as centred as she is. I left that lunch feeling very thoughtful about the things she had to say and the experiences she shared with me. I truly believe that encounter will have a ripple effect on the rest of my life...and not surprisingly, it already has.

One of the comments she made was, "None of us truly understand how we are just mere moments away from random tragedy," to which I replied, "Yes, but we are also mere moments away from random joy," - because I am if nothing else an optimist. She agreed with me and told me that other people don't really understand just how MUCH joy she derives from a really lovely cup of tea, the sound of a kookaburra outside her window, finding the right fabric for a project, and so on.

Here is someone whose life has given her many challenges - and yet she still finds the time, and the mind space within, to do nothing but truly enjoy the little things. I'm guessing she has never used the expression "other side of halfway" because to her, it's now which is important. She has experienced how life can change unexpectedly and in a split second - and those experiences make her truly appreciate all she has and all she has done until now.

You all know that I have been struggling with this idea of not racing forward, not running constantly, and just BEING - I've been blogging about it rather a lot lately. Many of my friends (and now the neuro guy too) have been giving me the "slow down" message...and I've listened, but I'll be honest in saying I've not done a damn thing about it. I'd be lying if I said having lunch with my friend suddenly made me realise what I need to do in order to lead this calmer, slower life...but it is the absolute truth to say I believe that conversation was a turning point for me. So much of what she had to say -even in just the telling of her life stories - made me sit up and think...and think...and think.

This morning I went to the gym as per usual. I decided before I got there that I wasn't going to count the circuits, and I wasn't going to count the stations either - I'd just go along and let my mind wander as I made my way through the workout. I did catch myself doing it once or twice (Rome wasn't built in a day, blah blah)...but for the most part I took my own advice and just exercised. Nothing else.

I ended up staying at the gym 15 minutes longer than usual, worked far harder than usual, and then spent a couple of minutes in the car just feeling sweaty and rather pleased with myself. Not for a moment did I think about the day ahead, that I was probably now running late, or that there were calls to return and emails to write.

It's not much, it's really not. But it's a start...and the other side of halfway for this skill is probably a VERY long way off in the distance somewhere. I would tell you HOW far, but I don't know since right now all I am doing is looking at my feet and the road only one or two steps ahead. I've spent long enough looking at the horizon. Time to experience a different view.

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