(CW: weight loss, mental illness)
Saturday afternoon, I posted the following on my Facebook wall:
Heed my lesson on overcommitment:
Today, I had three social invitations, but due to distance and time I could only pick one. I settled on going to Tampa Pride.
However, I got a surprise at the office yesterday: I’m being sent on a work trip next Wednesday to our Atlanta office. That meant that everything I would be doing next week has to get done this weekend. I’m still not done today.
So I’m missing out on Pride, a Rogue One re-watch, and a bouncy house party. All because I promise too much. Ugh.
It wasn’t meant to be a complaint. I’m genuinely happy that people trust me with this much responsibility — and that my workplace is willing to spend money on flying me to another office to meet the division there — but it did stink that I had to miss out on seeing friends.
A friend replied that this wasn’t overcommitting, it was just adulting. That’s probably true. On the other hand, over-scheduling is itself a kind of overcommitment, as any change in plans means things getting moved, bumped or passed on to someone else.
So what are my commitments right now? Well, here’s an incomplete list, in no particular order:
- Freelancing for The Daily WTF (I just submitted one this morning, in fact).
- Chair of the Adult RE committee at my church
- Story critiques for my writing groups at Paradise Lost
- Running for the Board of Trustees at my church
- Miscellaneous volunteering duties
And here’s a list of not-quite-commitments and commitments only made to myself:
- Food journaling/calorie deficit for weight loss
- Completing a modified C25K program
- Reading Leviathan Wakes for book club
I’m feeling some resentment, and I’m not sure why. I don’t rationally expect any reward or positive outcome, other than pay (for work and freelancing) and improved fitness (for my running and dieting regimens). I’m not being taken advantage of, as far as I know.
Could it be the opportunity cost? Maybe that’s what irked me the other day, the fact that my obligations kept me from jumping in a bouncy house with my friends or watching a pride parade in Ybor City. In fact, I had another conflict earlier this week: I wanted to attend a monthly social gathering, but went to a social justice workshop instead.
Social events tend to be spontaneous. “Hey, let’s all go to the renaissance festival this afternoon!” But obligations are, with the exception of that surprise work trip, made well in advance. “Sorry, I’m volunteering for X today.”
I find less enjoyment in online communication than I once did, so much so that I gave up Facebook Messenger a few months back. In college I instant messaged all my friends, but now I only use messenger if I have to. These social engagements and real-life gatherings are much more important for me nowadays. That might be why it stings more when I have to pass them up: as some of the few times I get to hang out with people my own age, they’re much more precious than they used to be even a few years ago.
I think this week was a fluke. Most weeks I have more than enough time to fulfill these obligations, and still have time for silliness. In fact, I’m making a point to keep next weekend free, as it’s the last weekend of the local renaissance festival, and I really, really don’t want to miss that this year.
Oh, so about running.
I mentioned a couple weeks back that my food journaling/calorie-counting was partly in response to a desire for more high-impact exercise. Last July, I fractured a bone in my right big toe. The swelling was something awful at first, but it died down after I replaced my shoes with a sturdier, more cushioned pair. I carry a lot of my weight on my torso, so if I want to do anything that doesn’t ruin my knees or feet, I need to drop some weight.
Back in 2010-11, when I was around 180-190 pounds, I ran a 5K in 33 minutes. That’s not an awesome time by any stretch, but in comparison, my last 5K time was about 45 minutes. I’m not that much older (26 vs 32), but I’m 50 pounds heavier.
I think if people can be called to certain kinds of sports/activity, I’m called to running. I love getting lost (literally or metaphorically) miles in, and unlike cycling, I need very little equipment or any flat pavement to do so. It also has neurological benefits, which have been a great help for my struggles with depression.
If I’m going to continue running, I have to manage my weight, or it’s going to get harder as I get older. There’s no way around it, and I really wish there were, because losing weight is painful. But if I’m going to fulfill all these obligations in my life, I need to be healthy, and the best way to do so is with an activity you enjoy.
And just to reiterate: this, along with sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and signs of pre-diabetes, are why I’m losing weight. I spent a lot of time last year coming to accept my body and found some peace with it. I want to keep it — and by that, I mean myself — healthy.