I run from ZOMBIES

Let me preface this by first saying that I don’t like to run. I am a horrible runner! For many years, in fact all except the last 4, I have also had an aversion to the gym. The thought of someone watching me while I run, sweat and wimpily (not a word but I don’t care) try to lift weights on a machine was actually quite repulsive. Even though I was active as a kid I had now stopped participating in the team sports of my youth due to travel and lack of a home base. I will say that while travelling I mostly walk, occasionally taking public transport out of need or because it’s something cool to do, but mostly I use the power of my own two feet to see new places.

But then I hit that age where you start to realise that you’re not a kid any more. All those muffins are not helping your waistline although they go deliciously with a mid-morning latte. The latte probably isn’t helping either but cutting that out is a deal breaker. So you end up in this predicament…. Eat less or exercise more?

Health for me is all about moderation. This is mainly because I don’t do anything in extremes (I’m also rather stoic) but also because the thought of running a marathon seems like a dumb idea and the thought of giving up chocolate, coffee and red wine is just foolish. Clean eating is not my idea of a good time! So I choose to live life in moderation. Occasionally the balance tips either way… I live the high life one week, partying and indulging in delicious food and the next I hit the gym, cutting back on chocolate bars and afternoon snacks. Overall the equilibrium is maintained and general health restored…. At least until the next indulgence.

While I normally crave winter, I have slowly started to enjoy summer. Mainly because despite the fact that I am a horrible runner (again, I truly am a horrible runner, no exaggeration here) I prefer to run outdoors than on a treadmill. Treadmills scare me and while I will use them when it is absolutely necessary, I will avoid them at the earliest opportunity. Does anyone else feel like a rat in a cage where treadmills are involved? No? Just me? Ok then……. Winter running is horrendous and not to mention cold, so in winter I prefer the gym. I have slowly gotten over my aversion to people watching me exercise and have realised that I’m not actually the most uncoordinated person in the room (or inflexible). Perhaps this has come with age or simply the idea that I’d rather be working out than expanding my waistline by the minute whilst sitting on the couch. It started when someone convinced me to try zumba…. I got more of a workout from laughing so hard than I did from actually getting the moves right. It took two friends to make me go but from the first time it became our weekly time to enjoy each others company while laughing hysterically at our lack of coordination. Then I progressed to body balance for a more relaxing yet painfully stretching experience. Again, I was convinced to try this yoga meets pilates and has a baby called thai chi, class by a friend. Someone that raved about it and wouldn’t dare laugh at my inability to touch my toes (which by the way I now can). As we convinced others to join us we became a posse and then one night on a whim and the fact that it was Tuesday and the class doesn’t run on a Tuesday, we decided to give CX works a crack. If you haven’t heard of CX then you’re missing out. It’s 30 minutes of absolute core and ab torture. That’s right… I said you were missing out! It’s 30 minutes of pain but I love it. Now when I don’t go, I miss it. Who would’ve thought?

So where are the zombies? I actually just used that title to get your attention…. No really …. Ok, I didn’t. But I do run from zombies!! While I do not want or like to shamelessly promote products, in my quest for health and motivation I downloaded an app for running and it involves zombies. In my efforts to become a better runner, every bit of motivation counts, and what better motivation than the threat of zombies catching you and ultimately eating your brains. Initially I was sceptical when a friend suggested this app. I thought it would be so cliché and ridiculous that it was laughable. But I have learned that laughing is itself a great work out (remember zumba?) so I thought what the heck… it’s $5 I can afford not to spend on chocolate bars after all! I can now safely say that it is the best $5 I have ever spent on anything so frivolous that didn’t involve food or coffee. Running from zombies is the way of the future!!! I even went running in the rain I was so motivated to listen to the next chapter of the story and to evade as many zombie mobs as possible. My running skills are still horrendous, but enduring 30 minutes of physical activity while being chased by brain eating post-apocalyptic hoards has become enjoyable. Not as enjoyable as sitting in a café eating a muffin and drinking a latte but not much else is, right? My health is now reliant on running in the real world being chased by virtual zombies and that’s kind of how I like it.

I guess the moral of the story is that health is balance. Enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it, push your limits beyond your fears or aversions and do it with people you love to hang out with. Health comes with doing things you love with people you love and being comfortable with who you are. Now that’s a philosophical ending if ever I wrote one!

I tried the weekly challenge

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Do Not Disturb

I make no apologies for being on the introverted side of the personality spectrum. Not to say that sometimes I don’t wish I was more extroverted. That I could walk into a room of people like I own it, say hello to everyone, have endless conversations and be the life of the party, the simple fact is, I find it draining. 

In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a cycle. Not that it hasn’t been there before but this time I have actually taken note. My housemate (and good friend) always wanted us to take the same two days off a week together. In her mind I think she thought this was a fantastic idea. We could hang out, do activities (which there are plenty of), spend the “weekend” together….. for her this sounded amazing. For me, I couldn’t find enough excuses to NOT have the same days off. 1 day fine but 2! Nuh-uh….. couldn’t do it. Why? Because I always need at least one day or most of it to myself. A little bit of ME time to relax, recharge, not talk to anyone and generally put the “Do Not Disturb” sign up. Sometimes it’s not even about alone time, it’s simply about being able to do what you want without having to answer to anyone. No commitment (but that’s a whole separate conversation). 

Now after this little bit of what most extroverts would say is selfish me time, I am awesome! Ready to take on the world, bubbly, happy, open to conversation and quite frankly hilarious! All after my morning coffee of course! Day 2 I’m still going strong, still open to conversation, and still happy to be distracted and interrupted from my work. Wednesday (day 3) is where the tipping of the scale starts to occur. If on Wednesday I get a little bit of time away from the bustling world, then all is peachy and we keep travelling through the week but if I haven’t had a second to myself or a moment to breathe then the downward spiral begins. 

As the days go on, I feel myself starting to get more grumpy, less interactive, and small interruptions start to bug me. Slowly the urge to slap people rises, the monosyllabic answers start flowing and if you’re not careful you’ll get a head shake, an eye roll and a sigh. Keep pushing me and while I’m not a “yell-er” I will potentially turn in to the most sarcastic person you’ve ever met and not in a good way. And so it goes until I get some space and time to rejuvenate away from the frantic world. Sometimes a trip to the gym, a run in the rain or an hour of watching cheesy youtube videos is all it takes to get me back into conversational mode but sometimes it takes a day away with no interruptions to halt the increasing desire to slap people upside the head!!

So a word of warning to the extroverts of the world, when someone takes time to disappear into their own world, shut the door and put the “Do Not Disturb” sign up, don’t go and force an interaction or conversation. You may just get your head bitten off. Don’t take it personally and don’t assume something’s wrong. Hang out for a while, enjoy your own personal space for a bit  and enjoy the peace because when that little introvert comes back out, they’ll be ready to party (at least for a little while). 

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Espresso in the morning, Affogato in the evening

The definition provided by Wikipedia (a most trustworthy source) of espresso is “a concentrated beverage brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans.” Not only do I need one of these in the morning to wake me up, it also describes my morning personality. Despite a night of sleep, although it’s rarely a decent sleep, I am tightly wound (concentrated). Upon waking my head is filled with everything I need to get done that day: work deadlines, personal tasks, going to the gym, study, catch up with friends, community activities and whatever else is happening at that point in the week. This morning espresso is also representative of my musical choices in the morning of one full playlist of gangsta rap. 

By mid morning, I have slightly chilled. This is the soy latte hip hop part of my day. 1/4 espresso so still a little dark, gloomy and under pressure but the rest is soy goodness and a little Hip Hop Hooray. Sometimes I am the love heart formed in the foam, ready to take on the world with a smile and looking through rose coloured glasses, sometimes I am the leaf, floating through my morning and other times I am the tree that the leaf comes from: stubborn, uncompromising, and unwilling to budge.

Mid afternoon I am looking for a pick me up which usually requires a sugar hit and this is where my day turns to Mocha (I will probably use this phrase in everyday life when I’m having a bad afternoon from now on). Chocolate is one of the 3 staples of my day, along with coffee and red wine. Right now you’re probably picturing an overweight, grumpy person glaring at you as I walk down the street but not true! In the afternoon I am more relaxed, I have achieved what I most urgently need to do and I now need to find the energy and enthusiasm to carry on instead of going home and crawling into bed. I am a part time gym enthusiast but still need convincing to go consistently. My rubber arm can be easily twisted to go the bar for an after work wine if the offer arises.

After an evening of whatever is taking priority whether it be a cup of study, 2 cups of chores and a cup of tea (real tea that wasn’t meant to imply anything), I am an Affogato. Soft and gooey plain old boring vanilla ice cream. Slightly melted but still holding its own and waiting for a final surge of energy. Then it comes in the deliciousness of espresso pouring gently over ice cream. The espresso revealing the sweet tenderness and creamy goodness of the ice cream as it drowns in the thick coffee. The day that was is put into the past, the concentrated pressure eased and I am 99% ready for tomorrow.

This blog is in no way an accurate representation of the amount of coffee I drink! 

Weekly Writing Challenge: A pinch of you

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6 month itch

There’s a phenomenon people talk about in relationships called the 6 month or 7 year itch. I’m single so for me it’s the 6 month job, place and lifestyle itch. It’s something a friend of mine appropriately labelled “Lifestyle ADD”. Just like that 10 year old child who can’t concentrate on one task for longer than 2 minutes, at the 6 month mark I lose interest in whatever I’m doing and feel the need to pick up my toys, throw them in a suitcase and head to another town or city which is generally a ski resort. After living the nomadic lifestyle for 12 years chasing winters and doing the seasonal work thing it seems natural to move, to always be on the go and to forever be packing, unpacking, repacking and stuffing as much as I can into a suitcase and a snowboard bag. Home is a constantly moving target.

Of course, home always was and always will be Australia but truth be told it’s been a long time since I actually spent consecutive weeks there. In fact the thought of moving back to OZ almost seems like admitting defeat. Admitting that the travel bug finally got squished under the sole of a dirty, stinky sneaker. Admitting that it’s time to get a real job, that it’s time to grow up and time to give up the fantasy that we can do whatever we want, wherever we want.

Now, after more than a year in one place the underlying urge to move on has started to stir. It’s not that I’m unhappy, it’s not that I don’t like my job and it’s certainly not that I’m friendless and lonely. The simple fact is I don’t like feeling comfortable. It lulls you into a false sense of security, it stops you from challenging yourself and habitual ways of life become the norm.

Some may say it’s a commitment issue and I would be inclined to agree to a certain extent. However, I am committed… committed to a life of following the path that is laid before me. Committed to taking every opportunity that presents itself and if that means a nomadic life then I’m all for it. Home is where you choose to be, where you find happiness and even if it’s only for a brief time, home is where you feel like you belong.

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