I have had quite a lot on my mind lately. I’ve been writing some, and reading a bit, working, lifting, riding, listening to music, and basically doing a lot of sitting. But, I’m trying to form a new habit of taking my two 10 minute breaks to go for a walk outside. Not only does it get me out of my chair at least twice a day, but it gets some blood flow, and I get to enjoy the fresh Irvine air and lately even see the sun.
I don’t know if it’s these small moments, or a general shift in attitude, but the last few days I found I have felt a certain peace. I wouldn’t call it happiness, or real contentment, but I feel more at peace.
As I rode my mountain bike yesterday, in the early evening sunlight, with the ocean gleaming out west, and the dirt dry, and the brush overgrown and green from the recent rains, it occurred to me that perhaps I had formed a habit.
If you’ve ever tried something new – exercise plan, way of eating, move, etc. – you may realize that, especially if it’s not a particularly positive change, it takes time to adapt. At first the mind and body treat it like an invader, trying to get rid of it, trying to force the will against it, fighting it, complaining about it. But, slowly, this change becomes slightly more routine. The body wakes up at 5 am, even on weekends. The drive becomes normal, with no more apprehension on timing or route. The user is more comfortable. You go to the gym without even looking inside or out for motivation or drive to get you in the door. You grab a bag of carrots instead of cookies. You drink water instead of wine.
Eventually the routine becomes a habit. But, at what point, and after how long, does something become a habit? Well, according to a site I found on Google, it’s 66 days. Which, after calculating, I find to be either extremely ironic, or absolute truth. Whichever you prefer.
Yesterday, as I was sitting in my car, on the 405 South, in bumper to bumper traffic, I felt at peace. There was a certain simple serenity. I didn’t feel like I was pushing against anything, I wasn’t waiting for the next breakdown. I simply was.
And today, as I calculate how long it’s been since I started my new job to yesterday, sitting in traffic… 66 days.
I have been making an attempt to live not in my past, await not my future, but to live in my present. Because the more I wish for what’s past, and the more I dream for what’s ahead, the less I am able to actually LIVE. We are the sum of our moments, good and bad, and without the best of times a year ago, I wouldn’t think these were the worst of times now. There’s a lot of discomfort and uncertainty, and I feel very much out of control with things I am waiting for, that’s no excuse to sit idly in depression (easy to say today, we’ll see how tomorrow and next week and so on goes) and forget that right now I am living my life, of which I get one shot, one opportunity to capture it and not let it slip.
“However long the night, the dawn will break.”
“The secret of happiness is to open the crack between the past and the future and live life in the moment we’re in.”
I don’t really have anything more positive than that to go on right now.
So who knows… even as the winter warms and March rains bring green grasses and tall bushes, and flowering trees, the Spring rises again. Seasons change, throughout the year, throughout time, throughout our lives and journeys. Nothing’s ever really perfect. And that’s okay. Enjoy and appreciate the good times, and find a way to exist through the bad times.
If you’re in need of a lift, even on a bad day, find some sunlight, go outside. Tip your chin to the sky, close your eyes. Raise out your arms, and like a flower, soak in the sun. Let it fill you up. Breathe deep.
Also… buy my book. It’s better than the first one. I promise.