Eureka or just fooling myself?

So, 2021 has been a challenge. I can’t deny that fact. It’s not that there’s been any specific roadblock sent my way. It’s not that at all. If anything, 2021 has shown me more than ever how much I get in my own way. And in a sense that’s been utterly disappointing, but in another, it’s provided me a level of clarity that is quite refreshing. 

So, let’s start from the beginning (of the year that is). I came off of 2020 with a sense of accomplishment, pride and satisfaction. From October to December I took on a physical challenge, to do Yoga every day, to reconnect with my body and to see where that might bring me. Those 3 months were incredible. I went from this feeling that I had never been so out of shape and so unsexy in September to feeling like I was in the best shape in almost a decade and feeling and looking the way I felt I deserved by the time I reached the end of December. I was at a high; not only in terms of how I felt and what I saw looking back at me in the mirror, but also in terms of where I was with my career, with my ability to be productive and my general sense of self-satisfaction. That being said, in the back of my mind I wondered and even doubted that what I was experiencing was sustainable. Well, the holidays brought those fears to life. While I continued my Yoga ritual I wasn’t pushing. At the same time, there were no work deadlines and that gave me the excuse to just take some time off and chill. That’s all good but when 2021 started I just could not find the focus, clarity or motivation that had defined my last 3 months of 2020. Don’t get me wrong, at first I felt it was normal. How could I possibly expect to maintain that level of productivity? It made no sense. But January bled into February. February into March and I just could not summon any of the inspiration, motivation or energy I had had previously and the more that situation continues the worst I felt. 

It must be said, there was an emotional component to this as well. During that same period I was reconnecting with my Magdalena and the same feelings I had had during our relationship were coming back up to the surface and they were bringing me down. So the closer we got, the worst I felt because well, that just wasn’t a relationship that did me much good emotionally. So, yes that’s a part of it. But, in the back of my mind I wondered whether somehow in those 3 months, something had changed and that at the very root of my sense of well-being was…. exercise. 

Sometime in April I decided that I had to try to make an effort to reconnect again with the physical. It didn’t happen immediately. It was a hard slog at first but by the end of April I could feel the energy building again. And now, today, end of May, I’ve managed to get into that space again. No, it’s not quite how it was in November, at my peak, but it’s close. See, thing is, I always had doubts that I could maintain that, and it turns out I can’t really buuuuut, it turns out, I can get pretty close. And that close enough is actually probably even better. No I don’t quite feel the same high but the high I feel now actually does feel sustainable and that in itself adds a ton of value to this equation. 

I’ve found a new routine. I’ve set alarms throughout the day on my backup phone. One at 1pm, one at 4pm, 7:15, then 10:30. At 1pm, not every day but most days, I do my “morning” stretch. It helps setup the rest of the day. Generally at 4, I dismiss the alarm. At 7:15, which on Wednesdays and Thursday is right after spanish class, on some days I do my more intense workout. Some days it’s a calisthenics routine, others it’s HIIT, others it’s an all out mile run, whatever. Sometimes I postpone it to later. But lately I’ve managed to get my morning stretch in, my evening workout and then my late evening/late night yoga with Adrienne routine. And that’s a pretty good mix. So it feels good. But along with that has come an ability to actually get more work done and less just browsing or watching videos or reading news. Yes, part of that is to do with having some work deadlines, but I’m also managing to apply for new projects, etc, so it’s not just about the deadlines. 

So, all this to say, I’ve learned something important. I’m about to complete my 8th month of daily exercise. Sure between Jan and April it was pretty much just yoga and some days the bare fucking minimum yoga but I haven’t missed a single day of it and there’s a sense of pride there, a sense of accomplishment and recognition that I have in me, somewhere the ability to be disciplined. So that’s great, but my real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction (I won’t go as far as saying happiness, though honestly, it’s pretty damn close) is a repeatable and accessible state. What it takes, for the first time in my life, is making the effort to exercise. Ya, wtf right? Me, the dude who’s never liked the gym, who has never liked working out or doing any of that if it’s not tied to a sport, has gotten to the point where I don’t feel good if I am not exercising. But as soon as I push into that space, as soon as I make the effort, everything else seems to fall into place. 

Now, there are other stresses. Money, family, supporting and helping those that I care about, they all factor in and add weight but it seems, at least based on my 2020 experience and the past month and a bit, that if I can create that space, that time, that opening for myself on a physical level, I can tap into that feeling that brings about all the other positive things in my life. THAT to me is Eureka. That, the ability to have a predictable means of reaching a state of satisfaction and contentment, is something completely new and beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy to push into that space, but knowing that whenever I do I get rewarded has certainly made it sooooo much easier and I love that. 

From October 1st to the end of December I was sore every single day somewhere in my body. And that soreness was a symbol of something bigger and it was directly tied into my sense of self, of satisfaction, of accomplishment and productivity. From January to April, despite continuing with my Yoga I didn’t have that. I wasn’t pushing, I could barely do more than the basic effort of showing up and I started drowning in a sense of lethargy, failure and laziness. It affected everything from my mood to my energy levels, my work to my desire to be social. Then, somehow I made a decision to start again, to push again and also to distance myself from Magdalena and everything starting to click again. When my body, my heart and my mind are in agreement, wonderful things happen. 

I’m in that space again. And today, now, I know that this is a space I can always reach if I’m willing to make the space and to make a bit of an effort to tap into that push, that energy that I never feel I have. But once I’m there, things get a bit easier and with that ease comes this sense of pride and satisfaction and everything just feels better. So now, I have a formula, and I dare say, a habit and it’s an incredible feeling that I need to remember is always up to me to claim. 

So, I’m sure I’ll have harder times. I’m sure I need to still push a bit more to be more productive cause I’m not quite at the level I was, but I do feel this place I’m in now is healthy and valuable. I’ve been sore again every single day for a few weeks, and I realize that I love that feeling. Whether it’s my legs, back, abs, arms or chest, it’s a symbol of something that keeps me going and let’s me know I’m moving in a positive direction. Yes I look better than I have in a long time, in fact better than I think I ever have, and that certainly helps, but more importantly, it makes me feel like I’m alive, that I have purpose, that I can be a healthy person who still has something to live for, to contribute and potentially add value to the lives of others. So dude, keep this up. Return to this post whenever you’re feeling low or unsatisfied and hopefully this will remind you of how to get back into that space and why it’s such an awesome place to be. 

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