This has been a unique winter because, for the first stretch since college, I’ve been gifted with time. I never realized what a blessing and a curse this gift was. There’s nothing better than stealing an hour or two to relax without a plan. But when hours turned into days and days turned into weeks and months, it started to feel as though I was dragging a weight, rather than lifting one off of my shoulders.
At first I went through the textbook ups and downs that follow a layoff. I self medicated from the saddle of my bike, determined to keep pedaling until this whole thing made sense. Riding my bike seemed to melt away all the layers of stress that had accumulated over the years and were hanging from my body like an old sweater. I never realized how tightly wound I was until everything suddenly stopped.
For years I had rushed home from work, grabbing an often unhealthy snack as I raced out the door to chase the last minutes of daylight. That bike ride was my salvation, the first thing I thought of every morning at the shrill of the alarm clock and the last thing I thought about as I tossed and turned in bed at night.
Now is the time to care for my body and to listen to what it’s been trying to tell me all along. Start sleeping more! Stop mindlessly eating everything in sight! Are you sure you want another cup of coffee!? Instead of cramming big rides into the weekend, I’ve learned to rest when my legs tell my they’ve had enough, instead of collapsing into my desk chair on Monday mornings. When my stomach says it’s full, I quit eating (trust me, this does work). I never thought I would find time to lift weights and drop weight, especially in the winter.
Time is a gift. And I plan to make the most of every minute.