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March 26, 2020

I'm Not A Quitter And Other Stories We Tell Ourselves

Megan Rafuse

The Second Time Was A Bit Better

It was easier this time. I felt way more comfortable today. I could go on and on with other lies I so wanted to tell you. But I’ll be honest. 

Today was day two in my journey of embracing FFTs and going for my second ever daily walk. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, go back and read about my experience trying something new.

I woke up this morning really great about myself. I was proud that I finally got outside for a walk yesterday, shared my story with you, and loved listening to your feedback about how you avoid quitting before starting when trying something new. Let’s give all of us first timers a round of applause!

I actually was feeling so great this morning that I stacked my activities with the aim of getting more movement in. Stacking you ask? Well I signed up for a morning at-home yoga class to do before my planned walk. Two things are better than one, right?

Yoga was fine

Did I feel awkward as I shimmied my body in the confines of the narrow hallway that seemed to be the place with the most space in my home? Yes. Was I aware my clothes didn’t match and my hair was a mess? Yes. Did I feel shaky and uncoordinated because I haven’t done yoga in months? Yes. Was all of that okay? Yes. 

Kudos to me for piling on the pressure by deciding to record my workout on my phone, which let’s be honest made it even more awkward. 

Whatever, I can handle awkward situations. I felt proud of myself when I shared my newfound video skills to my huge instagram following of mostly my friends and family and people who tolerate my attempt at daily story postings. Then I laced up those waking shoes and headed outside.

Here we go.

The challenge? For some reason I almost immediately felt uncomfortable the minute I got outside. It was another beautiful morning but there were people everywhere. I noticed myself become anxious and worried.

How was I going to be able to keep the dog far enough away from those people on the sidewalk? Do I actually know how far 6 feet distance is? I want to say hi but I’m worried people will think I’m coming too close. OMG that man is wearing a whole face mask. Am I safe? I started to spiral. 

There were so many people outside enjoying their morning walk and here I was feeling my social anxiety returning all over again.

What are they thinking of me being outside? What if the dog tries to run up to them?  Will I know what to say? Am I walking too close to that woman tending to her front lawn? Should I have worn a mask or gloves?

The thoughts went on and on. I’m great at mind-reading in times of stress, and not the kind of mind-reading that is in anyway useful.

And then I walked by a home that had a signed drawn by children hanging on their front porch that read…

COVID-19 Keep Calm
                                                                                               

Keep Calm & Sneeze In Your Elbow

Distracted from my thoughts, I started laughing, snapped a quick photo and shared a wave with the children and their mom who were watching me from their window.

I took some deep breaths and reframed my situation. We are all feeling awkward right now every single one of us who are trying to enjoy our morning walks. Many of us, including that mom and those children, are experiencing something completely knew right now. There is no handbook for dealing with a pandemic, or learning how to go for daily walks in your neighbourhood.

So I kept walking.  

As much as I’d like to tie this up with a nice bow, there really isn’t one. Life doesn’t have end points, or “get there” spots telling you that you’ve arrived.

Or that you nailed your morning walk. But I could tell myself that and it counts just the same.

So, tomorrow I will walk again. And I’ll tell you about my experience. I hope you embraced your FFT (second time) today too. It’s nice to know I’m not in awkward and uncertain situation alone.

If you can’t already tell I am a big fan of Brene Brown. Her book that changed my life is called The Gifts of Imperfection.

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