Last night I got a few well wishes for my birthday from India where it was already well in to my birthday already. One of the folks who called asked me “What is your resolution?” I hadn’t heard of resolutions outside of New Years Day but the idea was intriguing and really well timed. I was caught off guard with nothing prepared and asked for some time to think about it. I filed the information in the back of my mind and chewed on it from time to time last night, and in to this morning. By the morning I had “work harder” which seemed a bit of a cop out. I mean, we can always talk about that. But can you measure it? How do you know you’re succeeding.
I woke up this morning, had some coffee and breakfast, allowing myself to add a biscuit and some gravy to my usual healthy breakfast. It was my birthday, after all and then back upstairs to hang out with Sage some. She left soon after to teach her workshop and I realized “work harder” meant putting my shorts on and finding a place to run, not just complaining that I couldn’t figure it out. Surely there are people who run here all the time, and they don’t expect a paved trail leading from their front door to wherever they want. (OK, so I have that at home, but not everyone does…) I got my gear on and headed up to Baton Rouge to a park I’d been to a few months back. In the light, Sunday morning track it took less than 15 minutes. Hard to complain about that, eh? Before long I was out running.
Yeah, I know, 2.1 km, less than 15 min, that pace. That doesn’t look like “work harder.” But there’s one factor that doesn’t show up on the photo. It was not only pretty warm, the humidity was at about 95%. It was so humid I couldn’t see out the window this morning because it was covered with drops of water that had condensed on the cooler windowpane. One thing I’ve noticed over many trips down here: humidity directly affects your heart rate. The first time it happened I was worried. Was something wrong with my heart? How could it possibly be that high? But searching online I could see that this is absolutely a thing. For a run of this effort last weekend my heart rate was at about 80% of maximum. By the time I stopped here I was at 98% maximum. So balancing “work harder” with “don’t keel over” was important here. But I was really glad to have done it instead of deciding there are obstacles and I couldn’t possibly do it. Not only that, the other thing I learned was that with practice you get better at dealing with the humidity. Last summer I was here and running in ridiculous weather – high humidity and mid 30’s C (mid 90’s F) and it felt like 50C (122F).
One of the great things about running, aside from getting an endorphin infusion while listening to great music (it’s as close to dancing as I get), is that it is just like the shower is for me. No, I don’t end up needing to towel off at the end (OK, maybe here), I get lots of thinking done and ideas come to me. So today on that short run it occurred to me a better way to look at this resolution. It isn’t just “work harder” it’s “Work like you care about it (because you do).”
I don’t know about other folks but I have a few bad habits, and the habit this addresses is one of my big ones. I want things, but when it comes to working for it, I’m not always up for it. I come up with excuses: “Traffic is bad, I can’t run in the hotel so I’ll skip tonight.” “I’m really hungry, I haven’t eaten in hours, why not order something huge instead of healthy?”, “My brain is tired, watching a Hindi film takes mental work. I’ll just watch a Masterchef Episode instead.” But the reality is, we don’t train for a marathon on the couch, we don’t learn a new language watching The Price is Right, and we don’t learn to make a croquembouche by ordering takeout.
So that’s my challenge for the coming year. Work for the things I want because they matter. And if I don’t want to work for them, perhaps I need to look at them and decide if I really want it or not. There’s no shame in dropping projects that you really aren’t interested in. There’s only a limited number of hours in the day, after all.
So let ’47’ be the year of no excuses for me.