I’ve been at this housesitting gig for a few days now, and I have to be completely honest. The first day, not exercising beyond my walk with the dog was genuinely challenging. I caved a little bit and used exercise as a form of anxiety management, but I was disappointed with myself afterward. Why? Because I didn’t truly want to go for that extra little jog, because I knew that I was doing it to decrease my anxiety around exercising enough (whatever that even means) and because it was a little win for my disorder. I was discouraged at first and upset with myself.
One lesson recovery has taught me, however, is that one wrong choice does not have to lead to another. So, yesterday I made a conscious effort to enjoy walking the dog as much as possible rather than thinking about the next thing I have to do, or calculating whether I’m moving enough to not be lazy, or any other number of ridiculous things.
I found that, when I appreciated the moment, time moved more quickly and I was able to enjoy the walk for what it was. I enjoyed pushing through the trees, being led by a dog eager to sniff each and every trunk and branch. It made me feel like a little girl, growing up on a farm and discovering new, secret places to play.
I enjoyed looking out over the river as the sun set, stopping to take a picture without calculating how much time I would have to add to my walk to make up for the stop. I enjoyed the dog’s excitement about being out and moving around. It was a more memorable form of movement than any workout I have done at the gym, and I believe that is telling.
I have only a two more days staying at this lovely house, which has felt somewhat like a retreat. My goal in these days is to soak it in, appreciate the space and time for reflection that I have been given, and appreciate the incredible gift of my body’s ability to move in the world around me. I want to explore this world like a dog on her evening walk, not walk through it with my head in a fog of starvation and obsession. This week has provided an excellent opportunity to see the world with new eyes, for which I am immensely grateful.