Being single forces one to be introspective to a certain degree. I'm forced to listen to myself, count on myself, and figure out what I like and want to do. And if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: I'm happiest when I'm active. After three half-marathons in less than a year and a half, starting school, getting a new job, and moving, I was a bit burnt out. OK, I was a lot burnt out. I spent some very unnecessary energy on boys who weren't worth my time and who didn't understand me at all. I used school as an excuse to not go out with my friends (something I'm still working on) and my eating/sleeping/exercise habits were practically non-existent.
This blog serves a few purposes for me, and one of them is that it is a chance to consciously reflect on what I'm feeling and doing over a period of time. Seven months ago, my blog was all about how amazing I felt after a nine-mile run. And I miss that feeling. The last time I had that much adrenaline pumping through me was January when I finished my fastest half-marathon and then immediately started my second semester of business school.
My moods were so dramatic and unpleasant the beginning of the year that I was seriously contemplating seeing a therapist. I was in a funk I both couldn't shake and couldn't pinpoint. School was going well, I was in a new relationship and I was finally living alone again. Sure, some friendships had evolved and had even been lost, but my misery was beyond all that. It got to a point where I didn't even want to be around me, and that's never a good sign.
So I got in the car and took a drive. Actually, I just sat in my car in the driveway. I don't know why this works, but let me tell you that it does. Even when my parents were getting a divorce my mom would go for a drive. Drive up to the cabin, be alone, drive around the block. It's cathartic. Cleansing. Anyhow, I came up with a solution that I thought would be both more productive and less expensive than full on therapy. Exercise!
Now, I'm no gym rat. I have a pair of what I think are ridiculously expensive yoga pants I bought with a little discretionary bonus the other day, but I wouldn't dare wear them to do the gym; I live in them around the house and wear them to the grocery store (which, by the way, I haven't been to in weeks). I wear oversize t-shirts, my favorite running shorts, a headband and my training shoes. The new gym is four times as expensive as the old one, but I actually go. In fact, the financial burden alone is enough to make me go three times a week.
And guess what? I'm happier. I don't always want to go for a run after work, but I do it. The gym is in my building and it's too easy just to walk up the stairs, put on my clothes, and hop on the treadmill or elliptical. I even got back in to spinning, which is hard, but fun. The showers are clean and relaxing, it is never packed in the early evenings or weekend morning, and I'm not intimidated by all the beautiful people. In the six weeks I've been going, I feel a difference. Both in my body and in the way I feel mentally. I feel strong again. And when I feel physically strong I remember that I am mentally strong.