Ive been doing pretty okay staying out of the funk. At least the deep funk. But it's always there. Lurking. And on a day to day basis, sometimes it's hard to find ways to hide from it, especially since Im not working (outside the home) right now. I recognize that Im fortunate to have time to myself during the day and I know someday when Im gainfully employed once again I'll kick myself for not enjoying this free time a little more, but right now, sometimes it seems like too much time. I mean I could conceivably fill all this time with household chores, errands, etc., but the problem is, the more time I have, the less I seem to accomplish. And to stay away from the funk, I need to feel some sort of tangible sense of accomplishment. Of course raising my girls is great and rewarding and all that good stuff, but we all know that no one pats you on the back at the end of the day and says "hey man, you're doing a really great job being a mom today. Way to go!" Yes, yes, I know no one says this at your job either, but you have other means of affirmation, like a pay check, to make you feel like it's all worthwhile.
So one of the ways Ive found to get the sort of pat-on-the-back kind of feeling that I need is running, which is somewhat odd as Ive never been athletic. At all. I never played a sport. I was never much of a team player. I was the type to make monthly donations to the gym, rather than actually go. But after the birth of my second child, I knew I needed something that was just for me, something that made me feel good, that could help keep me away from the funk (besides alcohol of course ;)). And I found it, strangely enough, in running.
It was a struggle for me. Frankly, it still is and likely always will be. I had never run a mile before - not even in phys. ed. So I started slowly - very, very slowly, which was hard for my instant gratification oriented self, but eventually, I did it. I learned to run a mile, then two, then three. And it felt really good!!! It felt good that I had succeeded at doing something I had never done before. I loved that when I ran, I didnt think of my kids, or my husband, or anything or anyone in my domestic world. I loved how I could just let my mind wander. I loved how it was time just for me. I loved that I could just put on my sneakers and go. And I loved that my "success" could be measured in a concrete way - by how many miles or minutes I ran. Again, not that parenting isnt a very real and important accomplishment but you know what Im saying. I hope.
So since Ive started running, Ive done a 5k , a ten-mile race, and Ive even done a few triathlons. Im still one of the slowest runners out there (trust me, I am) and I dont really run more than a few miles at a time. And there are many days where running feels like a chore, like it's another thing to cross off on my to-do list. But when Im done with my run, I ALWAYS feel better. I never regret having gone for a run. And no matter how my day goes, I get to feel good that I made it; that I pushed it out; that I survived; that I didnt think I had it in me, but I did. And some days, that feeling is what gets me through and what keeps me from falling back into the funk.