The older I get, the more I feel not only like I understand the world around me better, but the more out of control my life feels. I know that I can sharpen my focus on what’s important to me but I’ll shift my own goal-posts and feel unsatisfied, left with an unfulfilled idea or unachieved goal. Over time, I’m slowly learning how I want my life to look, but occasionally I try and observe my life from a different angle and discover that I’ve felt more like a rudderless boat adrift in a windless sea – directionless. I’ll ask myself: “How did you let this happen?”, or “can’t you understand why this is happening”?
Lately I’ve been trying to fix this by running. And by running, I mean 15km per week. To some that sounds like a lot; to go from 0km per week to three 5km sessions each and every week, but to others that may not sound like enough. Ultimately, I want to prove to myself that I can succeed. Failures from the past have rippled into waves that sabotage my other goals, but tackling that unsatisfied feeling with exercise has more than one reward.
I’ve never been happy with my weight, which with the benefit of hindsight is bizarre. I was at my ideal weight in my teenage years, but even then I was without confidence in how my body looked and wanted to be fitter. This desire pushed me towards training for a sport at an elite level, pushing myself as hard as I possibly could, but the failure that resulted and becoming unsuccessful in qualifying at an elite level had a significantly negative impact on my physical and mental health. It was from that point that I started to add more weight than I needed, and I felt hopeless in controlling it.
I’ve been at the same weight, give or take, for the last 10 years. Multiple gym memberships and diets proved no help to the problem, but there was one thing in more recent time that I’ve noticed: I stopped gaining weight, it stayed almost exactly the same. If the amount of energy I burned throughout the day was the same as what I was putting in, perhaps all I need to do is burn more energy every week. So I started running.
At this point, it appears that the test is working. Most importantly, the improvement that this will make on my mental health far outweighs the improvements for my physical health. I was completely lost when I was unsuccessful in my pursuit of training at an elite sporting level, subsequently I wasn’t confident in other skills either. By winning, one week at a time, I have the confidence in the wind coming back and filling up my sails, allowing me to continue my journey.