I have always been a goal setter, a list keeper, and a chart maker. There is something so rewarding about ticking off check boxes, tracking my completed classes, work progress, and logging in miles swam and/or ran each day. When I started running in 2000 I would religiously write down how many miles I ran each day and any other types of exercise. This went on until the past couple of years when suddenly I stopped. Maybe it coincided with the stress of getting a divorce, long work hours, and getting back in school. I tried using My Fitness Pal and some other online trackers but after a while I couldn’t bring myself to do that either. Last year when I started swimming and joined USA masters swimming I enrolled in their online goal setter to swim 50 miles by the end of the year. This was a goal which I could have easily made had I continued logging in my miles, but something inside of me seemed to rebel and I stopped.
I don’t know what to make of the new me. I am not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing, or if it needs to be so black and white. I probably (definitely) was a little obsessive before so relaxing a bit seems all right. I still seem to be getting decent grades, taking on new projects at work, and doing the presentations, publications etc. that are required to maintain my level. I still exercise, but just not as much now, and I just can’t seem to bring myself to track it any more.
A few years ago I started going to a wonderful counselor who pointed out this need I have to always strive for the “gold star” and it has been an eye opener for me. She has since moved away, and I miss her reassurance that I don’t need to put that kind of pressure on myself all the time. It feels weird as I seek to find a middle ground.
Letting go of my need for constant validation is the final frontier in my recovery process which has spanned several decades now. It is the part that has helped me to release a lot of the anxiety I unknowingly carried around all the time, and it feels strangely good to come to the realization that I don’t have to try so hard all the time.
Sometimes trying less leads to a better, healthier outcome, and it is definitely a lot more fun.