Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Something is Better than Nothing



This saying has been floating around Pinterest a lot lately, and every time I see it, I stop and think how true it is. And how I am often the one on the couch I need to lap.

Since the surgery, I've been necessarily couch-bound, and I'm so out of shape and tired of being that way. Honestly, with the last two-year-pressure-cooker of school, I've been out of a consistent work-out routine for a while. And I can feel it.

So the doctor okayed me to start walking. Nothing strenuous, but just walking.

I had no idea it would be so exhausting to just walk. And I am a walker. I am a fast walker - all the time. I probably walk faster than most people I know. And when I went to the mall last week to pick something up, people were passing me. PASSING ME!! I don't remember that ever happening!!

So now I am bound and determined to get back in shape, even if it is just a little at a time. Which it has to be.

There's no Biggest Loser 10-hour workout marathon for me. I can walk. A little. First up and down stairs, and then the mall. Now I'm walking outside. Each day a little farther than the last, with no expectations other than to make it. One step at a time.

Today I walked 2.6 miles up and down our very hilly neighborhood. I am equally thrilled with this progress as I am frustrated with how hard I breathe and how slowly I go. But I am doing it, and I keep reminding myself this. I am lapping the person I was on the couch last week.

It's true about writing, too. My writing muscles got weak over the last two months, and while I'd love to jump back into writing 1500 words or more a day, diving into a novel full force, I'm finding myself a bit winded with the process. But I'm letting that be okay.

I'm writing some flash fiction, which I've never done and which I'm finding fun, and satisfying. I've started a novel I'm pecking at slowly, trying to get it right rather than charging ahead into a messy vomiting of words.

Some days I get hardly anything written. But I write something. Every day. Because something, I remind myself, is better than nothing.

Some people will say this is setting my standards too low, but I'm not one of them. I know I will get back to that place - both in exercise and in writing - when I'll be charging ahead full steam. But if I expect that now, I'm just setting myself to fail.

And I want to tell you, whatever you are challenged with in life - you don't have to do it all right now. Do something. Anything. Even if it's just a little bit. Because a little is more than something, and life isn't a race against that guy running down the beach in the picture at the top of this post. You aren't racing him, or anyone else. You are besting yourself, the person who isn't doing what you think you should be, or doing enough. Doing something, anything more than what you are doing, is better than nothing.

Just a step. And then another. You're really your own competition.

15 comments:

  1. "Some days I get hardly anything written. But I write something. Every day. Because something, I remind myself, is better than nothing. "

    This isn't setting the bar low. This is better than the vast majority of the people out there.

    I'm glad you are able to start walking again. I bet you'll start to feel the creative juices start to flow on these walks too.

    Paul (paulliadis.com/blog)

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    1. Thanks, Paul. It doesn't feel like enough, most of the time, but doing nothing definitely isn't enough! I'm hoping the exercise kicks my creative juices into gear. :)

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  2. How true this is. By doing just a little bit at a time, we can accomplish so much. I am very impatient when it comes to tackling large projects - I just want to get it done NOW - and I constantly have to tell myself to relax and take the time to enjoy what I'm doing.

    I also think there is a huge push for writers to just write as many words as possible. There are always "word count" challenges, etc., which is fine and wonderful for those who really like that stuff. But there really isn't a lot of validation for those of us who work slower. It's like we're the forgotten writers, the "slow" writers who still produce wonderful work, but we don't necessarily, like you said above, have a "messy vomiting" of words.

    So here's for the moving slow people. There's no shame in it. We have to do what works for us!

    And good for you for walking! It's amazing what surgery does to us - I was so out of it for months after my hysterectomy. But slow and steady is the way to go.

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    1. I'm the same, Melissa! I want it done NOW. And the word count pressure, and all those people who write so fast... I feel like the turtle of the group. I kept thinking the more I wrote, the faster I get, but I am still slow as pond water.

      Here's to us... the slow but steady!!

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  3. I think as long as you're moving forward, that's all that counts! Wishing you lots of luck!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie. That's what I'm counting on!

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  4. One step at a time is a wise way of looking at both your physical comeback and writing. Don't worry about standards or bars. Do what works for you!
    Be well. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I'm trying not to compare myself to others... just to me. As long as I'm getting better, walking longer or writing more or writing better, I try to tell myself that's all that counts.

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  5. What a wonderfully inspiring thing to hear. I had surgery last year it remember well how hard and frustratingly slow it was to get from being able to even sit up without pain to resuming routine, including the half mile walk to the train station and the four sets of stairs when I got there.

    The analogy works very well for writing. Those short spells of getting something down on a page do add up and do help new routines to form.

    Keep on plugging!

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    1. Isn't it crazy how surgery can just throw you backwards so that even the simplest things are suddenly mind-blowingly difficult? Half a mile and four sets of stairs? Paralyzing!

      But you did it! Life goes on, and we go on... hopefully getting better at it!

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  6. This is the saying I need right now for cleaning my house. A toilet here. A vacuum there. Or maybe I'll just pay somebody to clean my house for me. There has to be saying that goes with that. "No matter how slow you go you can always pay somebody to move faster." ??? But I get it. I fixed one small problem in my new draft last night because it was all I had time to do, but I couldn't go to bed without doing something.

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    1. I think it works excellently for cleaning house, although the house gets dirty as fast as I can clean it, so by doing one or two things a day, by the time the week ends, I'm back at the beginning again. :)

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  7. Good for you. Be both gentle but firm in your approach to things, and you can't go wrong!

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  8. Hope you are healing well and quickly from the surgery. We are so hard on ourselves, aren't we? I tell myself all the time that I could be doing so much more/better than I am. It's a constant battle inside my head. Remember the Flintstones, when Fred had the good Fred angel on his right shoulder and the evil Fred angel on his left? It's like that.

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