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Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I took Patton for an extremely lazy, easy jog at a local park here in town yesterday late afternoon. My knee was still feeling dynamite after last week's 12 mile bike ride, followed up the next day by a mile walk/run with the dog. I was still so utterly exhausted from painting the living room all weekend (more on that later) and due to all that painting, poor Patton was left cooped up either indoors or sequestered with the damn cat in the backyard. I needed something fun and easy and Patton needed ANYTHING. Poor guy seemed even more emo. While I know we cannot attribute human emotions to animals, it's still sort of amusing to do so. Every time he'd walk around on Sunday Todd and I would say "Oh, I'm depressed" in the deep, lispy Patton voice Todd invented. Wait. Am I talking about running?

Right. Well, I decided I'd jog really lightly, with more of a shuffle step then an out and out prancy, high-kneed jaunty pace. Which actually is better for you. The higher you lift your thighs, the higher the impact and subsequently all the more energy is expelled. But I digress. I figured if I felt anything, ANY sort of sensation coming from my knee, I'd back off, stretch and walk a bit. Which I did about four times.

But you guys? I ran. And it felt so good, and it was so tiring, and it was such an accomplishment. You know, they say that even if you work out for years, if you have to stop, it only takes about 12 weeks to lose what you've built up. GUESS HOW LONG I'VE BEEN OUT TO PASTURE. Yep. 12 weeks. What a bummer, right? 

That gets frustrating sometimes. You feel like if you stop to rest or, in my case, recover, you're doing so on a slippery slope that will only dump you out at that 12 week bottom of Back to Square One. But, yesterday as I was jogging with an increasingly more tired dog (he used to smoke me sometimes, but it seems like the 12 week rule also applies to German shepherds), the idea of cycles came upon me.

I was actually thinking about cycles the other day when I realized it had been a couple of months since I bit my nails, and they've now grown to a pretty, ladylike length. I even painted them with color last night! But with my nails, it's always about a 3 - 6 month cycle with them. Either stress or nerves or a fidgety need comes over me and suddenly I can't stop chewing my nails to shreds. And then, one day, it stops. I stop biting my nails and I just let it go. I stop thinking about them entirely, but through no mustering of will power. The cycle ends.

And that's how it is with everything. I had had fun training and busting my ass for that triathlon. Afterwards, my body needed rest. I kept pushing and pushing until July when it said STOP. So, I stopped and my God, I'm so glad I did. The body, the mind, the entire planet are cyclical. I needed those 12 weeks to get my body back in gear and now, just in time for autumn runs and cool weather bike rides, my body is getting ready for another part of the cycle. The fun part, to be honest.

The same thing goes with my allergies. I was so fed up with them that Sunday morning at 4:30am, when I woke up utterly unable to breathe through my nose despite taking allergy meds, I cried and got up and sulked while Googling Sudafed and rebound congestion. And then around 5am, I realized I just needed to succumb to it. The allergies were linked to the seasons; they'd leave eventually. I had to breathe through my mouth when I'm sick, so I'm going to have to suck it up and deal with these allergies. So I went back to sleep and slept until 9am.

And the same thing goes with my other ailments also. A jaw that won't close. Instead of futzing with it constantly and getting it more and more stiff and sore and tightened up, I gave up. I went to the dentist, got some treatment advice, and it's almost back to normal. My knee hurt, so instead of flailing blindly in life, bemoaning a mysterious injury, I got advice and I accepted my place in the cycle. The same is occuring now with my plantar fasciitis. I need to stretch, I need to ice, I need to accept that it's an issue I have to deal with, I have to accept where I am with it, and I need to fix it. And then, I'll be right as rain.

I frequently feel stuck in my life, in all sorts of small and various ways. I'd love to be home full time, spending hours on my writing, and the other parts of the day doing brilliant and creative things with Alexandra and having quality romantic time with Todd. But I have to work. Oh poor me, I'm stuck! Well, Jil, flip it over and be grateful you have a job! One day I will get the opportunity to do these things, but it's not now. That's now the part of the cycle I'm in. I need to focus on doing a good job in the field I'm in now, not pine for something that simply isn't in the cards at the moment.

I felt so stuck with my stupid knee all summer, too. Can you believe I felt trapped? In an otherwise able body! Instead I should have been focusing on how I was healing it up, getting ready for the next phase of my active life. Being fit and healthy is not just running yourself into the ground all in the name of calorie burn, endurance and strength. It's knowing when to take care of yourself. I feel so foolish all of a sudden, realizing the wasted energy I spent on being negative. I will not be injured, allergy-ridden, jaw-locked for the rest of my life. Well, I will be if I don't take advantage of the time and take care of myself. But if I accept it, embrace it and follow through with a solution, well, that chapter, that cycle, is complete. I move on.

Sometimes there is just a time and a place for things, and for you to be in and often times the options in that place are limited. Sure we may want it all, but realistically that is not an option. There is a time and a place for everything, and sometimes you have put something off to take care of other things, to take care of yourself. It will cycle back around and give you another opportunity, but one needs a bit of patience in life. Sometimes you have to sit this round out and accept that it wasn't meant to be, but next time, it's all yours for the taking.

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