Post 504: ‘Go outside’

I called Nick because I’d had a frustrating afternoon.

The morning started out fine – I decided to work from home when I noticed I didn’t have any in-person meetings. I chugged along, answering emails, swapping the laundry and folding mounds of clothing. 

He spent the morning washing his bikes, checking his email, and stretching before going in for a later shift. 

After a quick visit to the local bike shop together in the name of work/life balance, I returned to my email. Because that’s sometimes all I do: answer email. 

I never made it up to my spare-bedroom office after folding all the laundry and stacking it in neat piles around the living room. I sat, holed up on the couch, scrunched, answering email. And, to be honest, I got totally lost in it. Absorbed, even. Touched by the urgency of each notification, I barely ate, drank water, or looked away from the screen. 

I fired off responses one by one, accepting some new assignments as they came in and skirting around others in politically savvy ways. 

Then there was one that made me want to throw my computer across the room. Then, shortly afterward, another. 

I often receive compliments on my work/life balance philosophy and the way I approach high-pressure situations. So it’s a good thing nobody could see my face beam like a stoplight and feel my pulse quicken, knuckles cracking in-between audible expletives. 

I called Nick because I’d had a frustrating afternoon.

He listened patiently and said the two words I needed to hear: “go outside.”

“Get on your bike,” he said, “and go for a ride, even if it’s just around town. You’ve been scrunched up on the couch all day and need to get away.”

I knew he was right. 

I shut my computer down at around 5:45 and prepped my gravel bike, Winifred, for a quick adventure. 

Down the hill and up another, the seasonal gravel road I chose for a 2.5-mile climb enveloped me in its tree-lined magical healing powers. I traversed puddle-ridden pathways and areas with more stream than road. I stopped thinking about work with each pedal rotation, splashing through puddles and picking lines to avoid large rocks.

After the first climb, I faced another – this one more daunting at 12.7% grade than I remember it being last year. 

But I did it. And I forgot about everything I was pissed about by the time I reached the epic downhill back to town.

My brain had switched channels to far more important things, like ice cream and what I wanted for dinner, instead.

There’s a massive hill hiding behind those trees, I swear.

All 5’2″ of me

The light is still on in the far-right room on the second floor of Townhouse 31 because Emily CANNOT sleep. And she just gave away WHERE she sleeps. Whoops. She’d make some potatoes to eat right now if she had any. Unfortunately, she threw her last bag of sprout-covered potatoes in the trash can last weekend during a spring-cleaning binge. New potatoes have yet to be purchased. Tsk tsk. I know.

Enough of this third-person shiite.

I was texting my friend who lives in Iowa, but he seems to have fallen asleep. So that’s fun.

I wrote in my journal already and couldn’t come up with any material for a poem, so there’s that.

Oh, and I updated a few things on this here portfolio blog in case you’d like to take a gander. I finally –– FINALLY! –– added a picture of myself. Seems that’s been on my to-do list for two years.

What else to do but to open my laptop and try to write something? I’ve done my fair share of Facebook and Twitter stalking tonight and have grown a tad bored. Not a lot is happening on Instagram either, though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised after seeing what hour I’ve reached in the early goddamn morning.

I guess this is what I get for loading myself with sleeping pills every night this week except tonight. I really thought I was tired enough to just roll over and conk out, but I stand, erm, lay, corrected.

I ran tonight. Yes, as in the past verb tense of “run.” Shocking, I know. I had some pent-up energy that needed to be released, and staring at Natty World notes for another second sure as hell wasn’t going to help things. I ran to the gym. I ran around the track a few times. I walked. I ran again. I skipped a song on my iPod. I managed to forego what could have been an awkward encounter and just flipped that group of people the bird instead. I never said I was nice. (They laughed at me, though…people don’t seem to expect shit like that to come from me in all my 5-foot-2-inch glory. Hmph.)

It felt great to experience physical pain instead of the emotional-bullshit kind. It felt great to breathe heavily –– though my lungs are seriously suffering now –– and work up a sweat. I also got what is to me a rare glimpse of gym culture. It’s fascinating, really. Men flooded the basketball courts for intramural games, hogged the weight-lifting equipment and women took up the cardio room. I just kept running. And walking. And skipping songs on my iPod. Oh, and rehydrating.

I’ve said this before, but I really mean it when I say it this time: I’m going to take some time to really focus on myself. 

My roommate doesn’t believe that I will, so I’m going to prove her wrong. I have text messages from friends who agree that it really would/will be beneficial for me:

“Just give it a few days and you’ll be back to feeling like the wonderful person you are all by yourself!” said one.

“You need to get back in touch with you and stop trying to please everyone and stop trying to fix people, hun,” said another.

“You definitely deserve time for yourself,” said a third.

So I’m going to keep running and exercising, in general. I came back home tonight high off endorphins and ready to go. Go do anything.

I got the summer internship I really wanted, have plans to get serious about road biking and, best of all, my parents, brothers and sister-in-law are all in good health.

I’m done stalking social networks and I’m especially done writing this post for the night. Good night/morning.

He has shown me how

Normally when Spring rolls around, I open my window, freshen up my room, enjoy the sound of birds singing and sit on the front porch to soak it all in. It’s been years since I have actually gone outside to play and run around and get some exercise. I have gotten back on track with my life.

I started eating breakfast again. Every morning, I dig out the Rice Krispies, pour myself a bowl along with a glass of OJ and then settle down with one of my daily vitamins that I need to up the iron level in my body. I’m a girl, you see, and girls need more iron than boys do. I have established a rather strict routine to keep up with everything. I don’t scramble to get homework done anymore; I get it done right after it’s assigned and then I don’t have to worry. It’s fun not having any worries. Hakuna Matata!

Last Sunday, I was sick, which is odd for me. I’m NEVER sick. The last time I missed school was when I had pink eye – that doesn’t qualify as the queasiness I’m speaking of now. I get plenty of Vitamin C, take cough syrup when I feel a cold coming on and suck it up when I have a tiny stomachache. But, on this day, I woke up, felt awful, vomited a couple times and then took to the couch for the rest of the day, with only my pillow, a blanket, a heating pad and the drone of a television to keep me company. That one day was the first day in well over a month that I was completely miserable. Part of it has to do with the fact that I felt like I was going to die. The other part was the fact that it was the first day in a streak of nineteen that I hadn’t spent the day with Robby. Yeah, you read correctly. We are inseparable. When I told this to some people in my English class the Monday after that dreadful Sunday, one girl (who was astounded, I might add) asked me, “how do you get all of your schoolwork done?” because, well, Robby is over at my house or I’m over at his every school night. I replied with “well, while you guys are all talking during the free time we have in Chemistry, I sit down and get all of my homework done.” This relates back to the routine I now have down pat. I get all of my homework done and then I don’t have to worry about it, and plus, I get to see Robby. Which yeah, I could get my homework done after he leaves, but that’s generally around 10 o’clock and lately I’ve been getting to bed around 10:30, which is very, very early for me. But hey, it’s all a part of wanting to live a healthier lifestyle.

Now, back to the part about Spring. Normally, I watch it happen. This year, I’ve been a part of it. Robby has shown me how. If it’s nice out, you’d better believe we’re outside doing something. We spent March 21st jumping from cliffs into pits of sand. I definitely lived that day. It felt good to live. Since then, we’ve taken countless walks, gazed at the stars, swung on the swings behind his house, jumped on the trampoline, played catch, ridden our bikes and sat out on the porch with smoothies that I surprised him with. I saw him three different times today, much like I did yesterday. He surprised me by stopping by this morning on his bike before heading out to practice. After practice, he rode right back, and I welcomed him with a strawberry banana smoothie I’d made up for him in my hand. Then, back he came for the real plans that we had made for today. My feet get covered with dirt everyday, and it’s such a great feeling.

I feel healthy. I feel free. I feel fun. I’ve felt the sun on countless occasions already, and Spring has hardly even started. I have a good feeling about everything, and I hope this never stops. I’m the old me with a new twist, and there are so many people out there that are happy to see that I’ve returned to my happy, bubbly self. I’m back.