The one thing that I miss about weight lifting heavy is pain. Muscle pain. I am addicted to it and always have been. Sometimes I feel like if it were the sole reason that I lifted in the first place, I'd still be engaging in traditional "fitness" on a regular basis.
I love the feeling of sore muscles. Tight and incredibly raw, needing rubbed and stretched and massaged with a hot shower... There is absolutely nothing in this world that makes me feel more alive and thankful for my body than the feeling of aching muscles after a hard day's work.
Having just spent two weekends in a row installing a French drain under my house because the first one was not installed properly and got clogged, I can tell you a thing or five about pain. First, the digging. With short-handled shovels and little shortened hoes, headlamps on, duck walking and crawling through mud. We had to widen the drain trench (another thing not done properly the first time), install new pipe and rake out/haul out all the dirt we dug up. I got a whole new appreciation for coal mining while my dad told me stories about being "underground".
Then the gravel. Oh my the gravel. You can't just toss it in there because the house is already on top of where it needs to go. We got it delivered but they had to put it on the opposite side of the house of the crawl space door because there is no way to drive a truck to where we needed it. We had to shovel it into dad's ATV cart, drive it to the correct side of the house, dump it, shovel more. We did this over and over until we'd get a decent pile to work with. Then, to get it under the house and where it needed to be dad built a little cart (just big enough to hold gravel but still fit through the crawl space door) out of scrap wood he had in his workshop. The back tires were old lawnmower tires and the front tires were off a trashcan. There was a 100 ft. clothesline on the front and one on the back. I would fill the cart and he would pull it to the other end of the house, dump it in the trench and I would pull it back, fill it...over and over again we did this.
By the end of this weekend all we have left is finish work. Filling the final few feet of trench, mortar for the area around the drain where it leads from the crawl space to outside, putting down new, clean moisture barrier material where we were working...
I'm sore from head to toe. Shoveling is like THE close second to chopping wood for a full-body workout. This whole project cost around $400 in materials. Interestingly enough you'd pay a few thousand bucks to have someone do it for you. It is hard-ass physical labor in less than ideal conditions. My dad is 78 years old and other than having to rest more often than he used to he still outworks me.
When I'm sore like this I think about beginning a regular work-out program again. I think about how much I love being sore and how it is an addiction that's actually good for you so I should take advantage of it. Then I think about lifting a weight and the repetitive nature of counting sets and reps and thinking about different body parts on different days and... Then I start looking for other reasons to shovel or chop wood instead.
It has been a particularly bad month here so far in terms of weather. It doesn't matter how "mild" November and December were, once we hit the first of the year, we all knew we were in for it and Mother Nature has delivered. Besides experiencing Jonas (the 2nd most snowfall in this city ever recorded) we've had continual smaller storms and "dangerous snow squall" warnings (when did those become a "thing" anyway?) off and on for weeks. We seem to get more than TWC calls for every single time, which has led to a workmate naming this season "The Winter of Underestimation".
Considering everyone knows how passionate (lol) I feel about winter, it isn't a surprise to me that I'm quite grumpy these days and also sad, on and off on the verge of tears, tired, worn and just DONE. Even if the beginning of the season is mild, once I get to February I am simply so over even the possibility of cold, snow, ice and all the inconveniences that come with it that I need therapy daily.
I address weather only because I think it relates (for me anyway) to larger things and mindsets - my own and those of others. Somehow my mind goes into darkness (and not the good kind we celebrate) during the final half of winter. It is a very tricky time for me from a mental health standpoint.
It is in times like these that seeing or hearing about emotional pain, angst, anger and dealing with disappointment from those around me hits me deep and gets me thinking things like goddammit I am sick of this world. I'm sick of it for my friends, sick of it for myself and sick to death of not only not winning but not even getting to really play. There is something not right about the way things are, the way people are, the way the world's energy is flowing. The sci fi geek in me would say the Force is most definitely...off.
But, you know I watch a lot of historical documentaries and on many levels I've concluded it has always been this way. We like to believe that the world has improved and that things have changed but really, from a broad perspective, it isn't much different now than it ever was. There are some leaders that are forward thinking, others that are not. Political differences may have resulted in death then, now they result in varying degrees of something similar. Death of sense, of order, of the ability to distinguish between plausible representation and the outright laughable scenario. There is hope for some, then there isn't. It gets snatched away like your balance on a patch of ice. It is there then poof - gone. There are those at the top, then there are the rest of us in varying degrees, usually notated by what we are "worth" and that "worth" determined by money. There are gladiators (only they are not slaves or prisoners, they are actually among those at the top), there are peasants.
Then there is simply the sadness of life. Death, abuse, illness... Is it because we are SO connected to everything now that this stuff seems to flood in and overwhelm us? All news seems sad or horrific and it blasts in through Facebook and other media minute by minute. It isn't enough to simply not buy the paper or turn on the evening news. It is everywhere.
Shutting it off seems about as likely as controlling the snow or temperature. I think that is part of the frustration because although we perceive that we can control this information, in reality, we can't. I'm not sure how to deal with this time of year and/or the overflow of negative stimuli that only compounds it. I'm not even sure why I spend time (like this) contemplating it because I just get more off center and feel more sad.
So, I just try to grab hold of little Imbolc's hand and remember her telling me to hold on, just hold on a little longer... It is always the coldest and darkest time right before the scales tip ever so slightly toward the warmth of the light. Once that light appears, a little bit of rational thought will re-enter my mind.
A Diary of...
Trying to live well in every way...and sometimes laughing about it later.