I headed out for a run yesterday morning a little irritated and still not yet recovered from my run the day before. It’s cold, so cold and I am more than ready for spring. I am bitter about how long it takes me to get all of my layers on before I can head out. My phone has been freezing and then my Nike+ app doesn’t pick up the rest of my run. The majority of the world does not keep their sidewalks shoveled and those that do, really just polish it down so that there is a nice 2 inch packed down, smoothed over, sheet of ice. I get honked at for being in the street but the alternatives are: leaping in snowbanks or slipping on ice.
Something was different yesterday though and I glided through my miles. (Without falling!) My mind was at ease and I think it was because I have been thinking a lot about my roommate, Emily, and the frequent moments in her life when she chooses to do nothing. Multiple times each week I will walk by Emily’s room and see her sitting on her bed. I’ll ask her what she is doing and she will reply “Nothing”.
Seems simple, right? Except that when Emily says she is doing nothing, she really is doing nothing. How often do I answer the phone and tell whoever it is on the other end that I am doing nothing when really, I am doing six things at once. How often during my “down time” am I on my computer trying to accomplish something else…
Catching up on emails is not doing nothing.
Watching TV is not doing nothing.
Checking Twitter while eating dinner is not doing nothing.
Sitting, reflecting, relaxing… I think that is closer to doing nothing. Emily makes time for doing nothing in her days.
So yesterday, I set out for my run still annoyed from the day before. It took me 20 minutes to get dressed layer after layer, find the right hat, get my phone and music cued up, and put vaseline on my face. (The vaseline is new trick that I read about that I am trying that is supposed to help prevent windburn when it is so cold). I set out on the gnarly sidewalks and coasted. I turned my mind off. I only focused on the steps ahead. Bounding through snow drifts was actually kind of fun. Paying attention to where my next foot was going to land was more important than what was on my mind. I was more concerned with not losing my feet from out from under me than the homework that was waiting for me at home. Maybe this was what doing nothing was like? My brain felt more at ease than it had in awhile.
It was a fantastic run. I needed one of those. I was running because I loved it not because I had to. I was fully engaged in every step I took.
I need to work on slowing down. I need to spend more time, like Emily, actually doing nothing…even if that means slowing my mind down enough to actually enjoy a run.