A couple of weeks ago I made it to the gym, so good for me. I can go on the treadmill for 4-5 miles if there is something good on the TV monitor, and I can actually do a not totally crappy 10k if I am trying hard. But that night my head was not into it and after about a mile (11 minutes, but who's counting), I started to wheeze, so I stopped.
Now generally that is a fairly common occurrence for me. After about a mile or so two things happen: first, I get bored, and start telling myself to just stop, because this is stupid, and you're not having a good time anyway, and you're slow, and it's not as if it's going to make a difference in your figure, and you have a lot of other work to do that is more important. Second, my body starts to cramp up, and I start hearing these noises as if the treadmill needs maintenance, except then I realize that it's my lungs. I get a tightness across my shoulders, and I feel my chest stop expanding right about at my armpits. My mind picks up on the physical issues, and gets all excited: see, you're not well, you'd better stop before you hurt yourself, it's not safe to stress yourself beyond your limits like this.
Normally, I come prepared. An energetic song begins on my ipod, and distracts my brain. The "ooh! I love this song" part takes over for a few minutes, and then a few more. During that time, my hamstrings stretch, my chest warms up, and I stop wheezing. The most important part seems to be to stifle the critical, neurotic part of my brain until I'm relaxed and having fun.
But the other day, this did not happen. I got more and more discouraged as the seconds passed. I was not able to talk myself out of slowing down, walking, and then pretty much just stepping off in disgust. I hadn't even broken a sweat and I did not care.
Why is that? Why is the second mile so hard? And I say this thinking of that feeling you get sometime after you pass the one-year mark of your divorce. When you expect it to be more of a breeze, except it's not. Right about the time people stop cutting you some slack, because it's been a year already, I mean, really. You shouldn't you be able to handle [fill in the blank] event now (holiday, anniversary, tax returns) that you've done it once already.
But that's precisely why it is so hard to start that second lap - this time it's all you. There's no momentum spurring you on like there was when you started. During the first year, all you had to do was make it to the end. When you arrived, ta daah! Good for you! But this second time around - in case you hadn't figured it out it's the first year all over again with just a slightly different date on every check you write. All your cheering fans are attending to somebody else's crisis. Here I am, starting the second year of moving back to town where TGIUTBMT still lives, and certain days are so surprisingly hard. Sometimes all I can hear is the skepticism inside my own head, and I think, where's the deafening silence when I need it?
Distraction, as I mentioned, has been the key for me (but not drinking to distraction. Tried it. Doesn't work). It's that ipod song that keeps me going for a few minutes until the doubt passes. It's that pottery class I pre-paid for, or that women's event I agreed to bring the spinach dip for. Something external to myself that I can blame for keeping me moving instead of letting me sit in my rut. A few of these, and then a few more, and at some point when I check in with myself, I find that I'm moving through that second year, looking forward, not minding the effort.
About this Blog
About this Blog: Divorce is something you do, not something you are. It is not easy, but it can be funny. I know hanging on to my humor gave me hope and courage. Divorce shouldn't cramp your style. There are whole industries devoted to helping brides plan their weddings -- why shouldn't we have a style guide for divorce?