Monday Musings: when you accidentally give up twitter

In my last job I was so incredibly bored and so remarkably un-busy that I often checked Twitter hourly. Okay, if I’m being really honest, sometimes it was every 15 minutes. So basically I checked Twitter way too often. But then I got busy in my new job, so busy in fact that I cold-turkey stopped checking Twitter almost two months ago.  It’s been an enlightening experience to let go of something that used dominate a fair bit of my time and mental energy, and today I share that enlightenment with you.

For the most part, I followed a pretty light crowd, a pop culture hodge-podge of musicians, movie stars and athletes. Still, there’s enough going on in the world today that it was easy to fall down the Twitter rabbit hole of infuriating tweets and retweets and sub-threads. Often, I’d walk away from my brief but frequent forays into the Twitter-scape with feelings running the gamut from mildly irritated to disgusted with the state of the world. In other words, Twitter was bad news for my emotional well-being.

At first it was difficult to let go.  Sure, I was busy, but I wondered what  Chrissie Teigen was cooking that day or whether Ryan Adams was hanging out with his cats.  I felt disconnected from the world at large.  But then when I realized I also wasn’t reading Donald Trump retweets or endless and increasingly illogical arguments between the anti-NRA and the pro-NRA, suddenly I realized that my mental energy was staying more balanced. I was getting less worked up. The world was looking brighter. Twitter was in grave danger of being forgotten.

But the best part of this whole unintended Twitter breakup was that Twitter knew it was on the verge of being ghosted. They clearly have a game plan in place for when frequent users experience a drastic drop off. It started with the daily emails, that ones that kindly informed me that I had 29 updates from a handful of whatever Twitter’s algorithm had determined were my favourite celebrities du jour. I could live with that. I liked to know Twitter was still thinking about me.

But then they added a second daily email, these ones a little more focused on just one celebrity. They were putting all their eggs in one basket.  They were willing to bet that if I knew Ryan Adams tweet was featured in the news, I’d have to get back into that app. I mean, I might be missing kitten pictures. I was sort of impressed with this strategy. I am a highly curious person. I did want to look, but my new job has kept me so much busier that I often simply forgot.

Never ones to accept defeat, Twitter then unleashed its unleashed the ultimate FOMO-inducing strategy. Feast your eyes on this one:

It’s so supremely mysterious, so very deliciously vague. I mean, what is this one message that is waiting just for me??? I actually give Twitter a huge kudos for this one. It’s one thing to tell me that someone I follow has just tweeted, or to let me know that his or her tweet has somehow gone viral, but it’s a whole different ballgame to create the illusion of personally curated tweets that only my eyes might see.

It’s a total lie, of course, but for just one brief moment I imagined a world in which Twitter might somehow know that what I needed that very moment was a picture of Ryan Adam’s cats and not the inane political ramblings of a bunch of total strangers. But although it was a nice dream, it was also a flawed one, and so I ignored even this most coy of click bait and continued without Twitter. On the other side of two months Twitter-free, I can honestly say that almost nothing could tempt me to come back.*  I might finally have cracked the code on my own sense of FOMO. Thanks, Twitter, I’ve been working on that one for a while.

 

*It also helps that I finally unsubscribed from all their “you’re missing out” emails. 

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TWIR #103: roof stoof

Please tell someone out there watched Happy Endings? Otherwise this post total is pure gibberish. But if you did watch Happy Endings, this title is gold.  Either way, it translates to rough stuff, and it’s exactly what my workouts felt like this week. Front to back this week, everything felt incredibly difficult, I had no energy, and my muscles were tired as hell. I have no idea why.  No matter, here’s what I got up to:

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: wine sampling + schnitzel eating
Observations: I did some serious bicep curls…while lifting wine glasses to my lips. We visited a handful of local wineries on an impromptu wine tour and then capped off our day with some mediocre schnitzel. It certainly wasn’t my most healthy day, but it also wasn’t my least active day ever. I spent a lot of time on my feet and walking. Also, sometimes you just need a day of fun…and a looooot of wine.

Sunday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I can’t remember the last time I got to a gym and thought “Spin. Yes, I’m going to spin.”  It’s probably been six months, maybe even more.  But when the old body wants to do something other than strength training, sometimes you gotta listen. I had an entire spin studio to myself and had a solid ride…once I figured out how to adjust the seat, that is. I also consider this the only workout of the week that actually felt good.

Monday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: turbulent stomach issues abounded
Observations: I’ll spare you the details, but I felt like a bag of garbage all day and my stomach was not at all cooperating. I contemplated going to the gym anyway, but my energy levels just weren’t supporting that. If you don’t believe my energy was that low, consider that I walked fewer than 500 steps all day. All day.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session + hill walk
Relevant Stats: 50 min. training + 30 min. hill walk
Observations: I met with my potential new trainer. I’ll admit I spent the first half of the session missing my old trainer. I mean, my new trainer started me off with bicep curls, which I’ve pretty much dismissed as a waste of time over the years.  I tried to remind myself not to be so damn judgmental, and that the first workout with a new trainer is largely a chance for them to get a sense of your muscle patterns and baseline fitness. I am willing to see how things go, especially since she said she was excited to be able to push way harder next time. My only regret was inexplicably keeping a 6:15am training session time. I work from home now and don’t need to be online at any specific time. Why did I do that??? Because the morning workout was so light and Monday had been a write off, I threw in a solid hill walk mid-afternoon to get some more movement and fresh air.

Wednesday
Activity: strength training + evening sunset walk
Relevant Stats:  40 min. strength training + 40 min. walk
Observations: Because of work projects and a physio appointment, I had to fit in my workout first thing in the morning and it did not feel good.  My muscles were not wanting anything to do with a workout and I felt like I was sleep-walking through the entire workout. Not my best effort. I then met with my new physiotherapist, who thinks that my SI issues are largely due to rib cage to pelvis alignment and something I think she called rib cage compression. My old trainer was always harping on me about keeping my ribs aligned with my hips. It’s all coming together! Anyway, after sitting on my butt all day working and a crappy workout, I dragged my partner out for a stunning sunset walk to a (tiny) little ridge. It was a solid walk and made me feel like the day was moderately less lazy.

Thursday
Activity: spin + core
Relevant Stats: 35 min. spin + 10 min. core
Observations: Spinning twice in one week? I have no idea who I’ve become. It just felt like the right thing to do, until about a half hour into the workout when my shoulders and rib cage were in a world of pain. Whatever my phsyio did to me yesterday has left me ultra tender and sore through my upper rib cage and shoulders and the spin bike was not helping. I pushed through for as long as I could before throwing in the towel and switching to some core work. This probably doesn’t sound like a bad workout, but I promise you my legs had nothing to give on the spin bike and I wussed out big time on some of the hill climbs and sprints.

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I actually might have worked out longer but I didn’t really pay attention to when I started or when I ended. I somehow just now it wasn’t any shorter than that.  Things were at least feeling moderately better for me today and I was able to do box jumps AND a whole bunch of single leg exercises without dying  Perhaps my week of low energy is finally coming to an end!

Once again the weekend is here and it’s EASTER, which I hope means that someone will bring me heaps of chocolate to stash away for my one-day-a-week sugar rushes. Bring on the mini eggs!  May the Easter bunny also bring you some of your favourite treats, or at least may you have a happy and relaxing long weekend. See y’all next week!

 

TWIR #80 (!!!): Getting Back to It

I just had a moment when I realized that somehow I’ve been doing training weeks in review for 80 weeks. That’s more than a year and a half. It’s cliche to ask where does the time go, but seriously, where does the time go? Okay, that’s enough existential questioning for a Friday afternoon. Let’s get on to workouts. This week was a marked improvement over last week’s shameful cake consumption and relative lack of legitimate workouts. Here’s what I accomplished:

Saturday
Activity: outdoor workout (!) + walking
Relevant Stats: 45 min. mixed running and strength + 15 km walking
Observations: I love, love, love having a legit track by our house. Saturday morning, with only half a cup of coffee in my belly, we hit the local park for a mix of running laps and various strength exercises. Nothing is cooler than doing walking lunges, walking side lunges, hip bridges, push ups and step ups, among other things, while all the other people running or walking the track stare at you. We then walked a collective 12 km running errands and generally taking advantage of a rain-free day. I felt really good about the day’s activities, until we went for a six-course meal with wine pairings at Hawksworth, the richness of which most definitely counteracted whatever benefit we gained through exercise.  The meal was absolutely worth it.

Sunday
Activity: walking
Relevant Stats: 12.6 km
Observations: I keep telling you walking isn’t a real workout and then I keep listing it as my workout. It was too nice a day to waste at the gym, and since I’d already run on Saturday there was no way to do an outdoor workout near the house. Walking was the answer, and trust me when I say it felt like we walked way farther than 12.6 km. At times, it seemed like our walk was never ending, and my legs were tired as hell.

Monday 
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: After being in a hotel gym and out of town for a week and a half, it felt fantastic to be back at my gym.  There were prowler runs and negative pull ups and the triumphant return of kettle bells (seriously, why do hotel gyms never have kettle bells?). It was a good workout day.

Tuesday 
Activity: attempted spin & strength training
Relevant Stats: 20 min. spin + 25 min. strength
Observations: I tried to do just cardio, I really did. The thing that used to happen with me when I ran all the time is happening to me with spin now: I hate it. I get on that bike and I want off immediately. I used to get that way when I ran all the time, and my runs would just get worse and worse until I forced myself to take a break. I need to take a spin break, but with not being able to run it’s tough to find an alternative. At any rate, I opted for more strength training after hopping off the bike despite my sore arms and legs from the day prior. I felt certain I would be in a world of pain on Wednesday.

Wednesday 
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: I know just one day prior I said I needed a break from spin, but I really don’t know what to do with myself for cardio when I can’t run. I hate the elliptical and it never feels like a real workout. I hate the rowing machine and my arms were way too dead to attempt that. That staircase machine terrifies me (I always feel like I’m going to trip and seriously embarrass/injure myself). All that to say I attempted spinning again, and had the same awful result. I could not make myself pedal a second longer than 35 min.

Thursday 
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: Two words: prowler presses. Ugh. These kill my arms but I forced myself to do four sets. By the end of this workout, my muscles were very clearly saying to me “NO MORE STRENGTH TRAINING THIS WEEK!”  My arms, in particular, are not pleased with multiple days of strength training. My legs are a little bit more tolerant of it, but even they were kind of like “can we get a break?”.

Friday 
Activity: spin + elliptical
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 10 min. elliptical
Observations: Oh that spin bike. It is really, really killing me these days. I knew within 5 minutes that it was not going to be a good spin session. After half an hour, I threw in the towel and tried to crank the hell out of the resistance and incline on the elliptical to make it a decent workout. Even on the elliptical, my legs were telling me that they were done like dinner. Sometimes I just have to accept that bad workouts will happen.

Now, as I write this, the sun has actually emerged after three days of heavy, disgusting, West Coast rain that has rendered walking outside beyond unattractive.  As much as I love writing, I love being outside in the sunshine more, and I know this sunshine is not going to last for more than a couple of hours. So happy weekend y’all! I’m going for a walk!

Monday Musings: on the return of relaxation and its enormous power

It surprised me how much weight I was carrying from this move. It wasn’t that we weren’t organized. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a lot of time to deal with it. It wasn’t that I’m not overly skilled at moving (because I am, care of 10+ moves as an adult. and that’s not even counting all the dorm moves in university). In my experience, moving is just one of those things that is all encompassing. It eats up your life for weeks on end as you fill your precious leisure time with unglamorous tasks like…

…purging junk you’ve been clinging to for a decade…

…trying to list shit to sell online to absurd bargain-hunting flakes…

…packing in waves so you aren’t living in an empty house for too long but not leaving too much til the end…

…and trying to clean years of filth from the darkest reaches of your home (hello, under the kitchen sink, I’m talking to you)…

As if I weren’t feeling enough like a shadow of my former self with the new job and the heinous commute, adding moving to the mix took my monster status to the next level.  There has been no fun, or at least no fun that hasn’t been overshadowed by nagging feeling that shit still needs to get done. Then, this weekend the clouds parted (literally and figuratively), and we were blessed with a true Sunday Funday and I had forgotten how significantly true relaxation alters one’s state of mind.

For the first time in months, we weren’t weighed down by the mental stress of feeling like we should be doing something else. We leisurely and carelessly strolled the streets of our new neighborhood without that nagging feeling that we should be packing or cleaning or organizing. It was glorious. We played at the local Pitch & Putt course, which ended up taking a full three hours thanks to many, many beginners slowing our roll (as a sidenote, never have I felt so good at golfing), and I didn’t once think “oh crap, this is taking too long and now we’re going to be f*$%ed later on.”

I cannot tell you how much lighter I felt without the stressful weight of the move. Relaxation truly is a miracle worker.  It didn’t take a major vacation or even wildly elaborate plans. We did what we always do: walked and golfed and drank some wine (not at the same time), but we did it without the burden of a million unfinished tasks. This feeling may not last long, but I’m going to enjoy the peace of relaxation while I can.

Mid-Week Tangent: how to ruin a perfectly good morning in five easy steps

1. Spill your entire travel mug of coffee all over your cloth gym bag containing your work clothes, and all over the hallway floor while trying to leave the house as quickly as possible.

2.  Drive 15 minutes towards the office before listening to a story on the radio about texting while driving, which triggers the realization that you forgot your phone at home, which also contains your license, credit cards and the access card for your office building.

3. When trying to turn around to retrieve your phone from home, sharply cut across two lanes of traffic to make the last exit before the toll bridge and then realize this is the one exit that doesn’t just loop right back onto the highway in the opposite direction.

4. Arrive home to realize that you also forgot your house keys inside so you have to ring the doorbell and knock like a crazy person, which only makes your boyfriend less likely to come to the door because you could actually be a crazy person.

5. Miss your morning workout entirely because now it’s too late to fit it in; shower, put on makeup, do your hair and get dressed in 10 minutes so you don’t arrive at work still in your gym clothes; and then proceed to sit in rush hour traffic because you are leaving 48 minutes later than usual.

* Yes, this happened to me today and, yes, I was about as pleasant as you can imagine after starting my day off on this foot. Is it Friday yet?

Monday Musings: on metaphysics of injuries

If you read Friday’s post, you’ll know that I have yet another sprained ankle. It’s not a particularly bad one judging by the relative lack of swelling or bruising.  Then again, the one thing I’ve learned about ankle sprains is that after a few of them they don’t swell or bruise as badly.  I used to think that was a good thing when, in reality, it’s just a sign of really bad damage. This is all rather beside the point of today’s post. The point is that my ankle is sprained again and the timing is…interesting.

I was in the midst of a really great run (in the sunshine no less!) when my ankle crumbled beneath me. I could easily look at this from a purely objective standpoint:  I wasn’t paying any attention to the ground, I stepped awkwardly on a rock, and I have weak ankles from past injuries. Long story short, I could just say it was bad timing and clumsiness and call it a day.

Or I could look to metaphysics, which would hold that there is powerful connection between mind and body. Metaphysics provides a more holistic view of our injuries, emphasizing that there is an emotional or psychological root to virtually any physical issue. Where it gets really interesting, to me at least, is when you look at the metaphysical causes of ankle injuries.

Ankles, you see, are critical for a sense of grounding, stability and mobility.  Ankles literally support us and propel us.  Ankle injuries can occur when we feel unsupported, either by others or by our own beliefs; and they can be a sign that we aren’t willing or able to move forward, particularly when moving forward means a change in direction or taking a stand.  Bet you didn’t know how much you need your ankles just to hold your shit together, did you?

This isn’t the first time that I’ve read up on metaphysical causes of ankle injuries (or any injury for that matter), but I was reminded of it on Friday as I killed time icing my foot. What I found particularly interesting was that, just as my ankle decided to go in a different direction than the rest of my body, I was grappling with how to get out of a potential commitment to work I didn’t care about and wondering what I would possibly do in its place. In other words, just as I was agonizing over my crumbling beliefs and fear of moving in a new direction, my poor ankle, that pillar of stability and motion, crapped out on me.  If that’s not a powerful mind-body connection, I don’t know what is.

This is all endlessly fascinating to me, except for the part where I realize that essentially I have to figure out a way to fearlessly forge a new direction for myself…That part’s a little less fascinating, but I suppose eventually I have to tackle the bigger issues, don’t I?

Thursday Real Talk: it’s not all sunshine and roses

You may have noticed that I’ve been writing less this week. I didn’t post on Monday even though I had a draft that I could’ve tidied up quickly. I threw together a post for Tuesday purely because I felt pressured (entirely self-inflicted) not to miss two days in a row.  Yesterday, I sat down to write a post and, after completing two partial drafts on completely different topics, abandoned all hope of pulling together anything good. And today, today I wrote another two partial drafts on different topics, neither of which will see the light of day any time soon.

What’s at the heart of this? It’s not a lack of interest in writing for this space. Writing is still one of the things I love to do most.  It’s that my mental landscape is so completely occupied with career-related questions that I haven’t been successful in clearing out the tiny generative space that I personally need to write for this blog. In other words, I’m squelching my own creativity because I’m stuck in a downward spiral of career confusion.

Namely, I have no idea what to do with myself. I cannot remember the last time I got excited about a prospective opportunity, and by ‘excited’ I mean curious and interested, not jumping with joy. For the better part of a year, I’ve been tossing my resume out into the ether, meeting with employers, talking to prospective clients and networking my ass off and I cannot recall a single conversation that had me thinking ‘Yes! This sounds right!’ For some reason, this week more than ever, I’ve felt the troubling weight of this realization: I do not know what I want to do.

I have a small handful of potential work opportunities on the go and not a single one sounds genuinely interesting to me.  In fact, one potential opportunity, for which I’m supposed to ‘audition’ by delivering a portion of a workshop next Tuesday, is actually filling me with the same dread that I felt before I started my last job. I know it’s a bad fit already but, without having viable career alternatives in mind, I feel like I have to keep moving forward despite everything screaming in me to cancel, cancel, cancel. I’m conscious that I’m repeating my old patterns but, as they say, the train is in motion and I’m not sure how to bring it to a halt.

I am frustrated with myself for not being able to figure out an alternate course of action for my career.  I pride myself on being competent, thoughtful, reflective and, above all else, capable. I’ve always made things happen for myself, taken care of myself, and kept myself in a stable and secure position. For the first time,  I’m in a state of total uncertainty and I don’t feel entirely capable of identifying my direction.  It’s not a comfortable feeling for me, and it’s definitely putting a damper on my creative flair.

So there’s that. I have no answers. I have no great wisdom. I have nothing to offer except some real talk on where my head is at these days, and I can safely say that it’s not all sunshine and roses.