I read an article by Melanie Stefan the other day that proposed a radical idea, to make a CV of our failures. The publication argued that making such a document would bring to light that not all paths are black and white. As she put it “...it will remind you of the missing truths, some of the essential parts of what it means to be a scientist — and it might inspire a colleague to shake off a rejection and start again.” (And here substitute scientist for human being)
So I started thinking. In this world that looks at the firsts but forgets about all that follow, where success and achievement is glorified and failures are shunned, my 77 day challenge should not be spoken of. Rather I should skulk away quietly and forget it ever existed. Because if I look at my plan this way, I failed. I did not finish it. But you know what? That statement would not cover 10% of the truth! Therefore, I decided to share with you the white and orange version of the past 77 days; what I have learned and discovered. And I do this with the hope that it will inspire those of you who struggle, to continue on your own paths. Whatever that path may be.Statistically I have a 62% success rate, or rather, I failed 38% of the time. I did not do any physical activity besides walking to the train station and getting to work on 29 days out of the 77. But I never gave up and I did not cheat myself with lame excuses or shading in days that didn’t really happen. I accepted an embraced my reality.
And during this time I have learned to listen to my body. To say no with my brain when my heart wants yes, yes, yeeeesssss. If I was so tired after work that I felt like a zombie I did not force myself to do the exercises. And I think that the time I gave myself to re-energize and regenerate did pay off.
I have learned to be more patient with myself. When the muscle in my leg said no thank you after 15 kilometers into our hiking trip to the Buda mountains, I took it easy and did not rush things. When I sprained my left foot while wearing my new (flat soled!) strappy sandals I almost cried with frustration. But I did as the doctor ordered and stayed put on my bum for a week.
But one of the most important things that I learned is not to loose my focus. Not to confuse my path with my destination. Because what I really wanted is to get in the habit of regular exercise. To do this for myself and for my health. What I envisioned originally as a birthday gift for myself, namely to climbing a 900 meter peak would have been a cherry (with a good dollop of chocolate syrup on top). But that is only part of the path, not my current destination. At this moment in time it is not realistic. Someday I am sure I will do it.
This year, however it is more realistic to do things on a smaller scale. We will not go on a tour of 40, rather only 20 kilometers. Something that with our current physical strength we will manage and enjoy. I do want my 40th birthday to be memorable, but not because I am stuck in the middle of the mountain unable to get down. Rather to have the energy to remember every single moment and detail. From cake to finish. And looking at things in this new orange hue I did pretty well. In fact, much better than expected.