I was spinning my wheels at work yesterday, mentally working on several projects and ideas but not making any tangible progress. A lot of my work is with data, and I collect data on myself too – I carefully track hours I work and wear a Fitbit and monitor my HRV. Sometimes to my detriment.
I can get caught up in accounting for time and effort and work and forget that the reason I work for myself is so that I can better see to my own needs, which have nothing to do with data management and measurement. I work for myself so that I can have space to work out what a healthy lifestyle looks like for me – because the companies I’ve worked for previously could not have cared less, and I’ve paid for it.
I bailed out of work and went for a hike.
As much as that might be peaceful and relaxing for others, it isn’t as much for me. Exercise doesn’t have a calming effect on my nervous system, as much as I do like to be outside. I developed mild vertigo several months ago, and looking down while stepping around rocks and roots on downward slopes can be challenging. Sometimes I have an elevated fear response, sometimes the ground appears to shift beneath me, and I have to move slowly and cautiously. Late afternoon shadows can be somewhat disorienting now. But I went, and I enjoyed it, and I have some of the creative energy and forward motion I was hoping for.
I’m trying to both do more things that I enjoy and enjoy more things that I do. Yesterday I traveled across the desert, drank a lot of wine, soaked up the landscape and got rained on. There’s something about me and rain in the desert. I was at Uluru in the middle of Australia twelve years ago and it rained on the full day I was out there hiking – so much so that the rock turned to waterfalls and the desert became green. They said it happens once or twice a year. Yesterday wasn’t as dramatic, but the 20 degree drop in temps due to the rain was a nice change.
When I stopped for the night, my mind turned to how unready I am to carry on with the work of life. I’ve been wondering how substantial the changes I need to make in my lifestyle might need to be for me to be whole, for me to step away from frayed nerves and a perpetually high alert nervous system. It’s not a peaceful way to live, and the recovery time from doing that for several years seems…insurmountable.
I’ve walked more than 20 miles this week, most of it in two big hikes that have left my muscles sore and the rest of me really tired. 20 miles in a week is not a lot, and less than when I’m walking in the evenings at home. However, these 20 miles had a lot of uphill or uprock, some downhill so steep I had to go down backwards and temps that sucked the air out of me. All of my wrinkles are showing, because as much as I drink I need MORE WATER, constantly. It’s not a bad mantra, actually. More water.