Writing

Remember when you were in university and you had mountains of papers to write, hundreds of pages a semester, and somehow you just plowed through and did it? And, it’s not that it was easy, but the writing just worked, it flowed, and you got it done. Remember that?

Okay, maybe it wasn’t as easy for you. And maybe I’m remembering it a little more rosy than it actually was. But I really do remember a time when I could just sit down and write. And write. And write. Maybe it was because I didn’t have to come up with topics on my own entirely. If I was taking a class on science in Colonial America, that definitely narrowed down the topics available to me. I still had to decide that I wanted to write about Cotton Mather and his attempts to reconcile Newtonian science with Puritan theology but at least I had somewhere to start.

This whole blogging thing is a little different though. It’s pretty free range. I suppose that is, in part, my fault. I’ve always maintained this as a blog open to whatever I wanted to write about and I’ve never tried to limit it in any way. In the past, I often wrote a lot about politics. But most of those posts weren’t actually my own writing: I was mostly just reposting things that I’d read on other websites. And those posts almost never garnered any comments. My audience, I suppose, was never as politically-minded as I, particularly about US politics, given that the majority of my audience (two of the three of you that I know read this regularly) are Canadian.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I’m thinking that 2010 is going to be the Year of Me. Rather than writing occasionally here about how frustrated I am about my current situation, I’m going to do what I can to actually change it. I’m at wit’s end about what to do about my job situation, but at least I’m working. I’ll continue to apply for new positions but for the meantime, I’ll be standing at a hotel front desk 30 hours a week. I might as well try to use it. So, hopefully I’ll be writing more here. And maybe by just writing more, about whatever strikes my fancy, I’ll get back into that writing groove. I feel like I’ve said this many times since starting this blog anew almost two years ago. But, damnit, I mean it this time!

Happy 2010!

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New City Resolutions

As I mentioned in my last long post, I did not make any New Year’s Resolutions this year. I did, however, make some New City Resolutions. It seemed fair enough since I moved in February. January was such a whirlwind of tying up loose ends and getting ready to move across the continent that I don’t really think that I would have been able to stick to anything anyway.

Every year, I resolve to floss more and it never really works. I mean, it’s not like I NEVER floss, but I’m sure my gums would be happier if I flossed even more. Given that I tell myself every January that I should try to floss more, I don’t really count this anymore.

It was a new year and a new city and I decided to make it a new me.

The first major goal that I set for myself was to become a runner.

This was, rightly so, greeted with much scepticism from those who knew me well. I am many things but I am not a runner. Still, I’ve been wanting for a long time to develop some kind of exercise habit and running seemed like one of the easiest and least expensive avenues to take. Living in the Northeast for virtually all my life was never really much motivation for me to start running. There are lots of hills and then there’s winter and summer. Portland is relatively flat and rarely gets below freezing. People here complain when it goes below freezing but barely below freezing is quite different than -40. Also, summers here are much more mild and much less humid than back east. We’ve had our share of steamy days but it’s generally been in the 70s or 80s with much lower humidity than I’m used to back east.

So, two weeks after arriving in Portland, I bought a book about running, a pair of running shoes, some shorts and a shirt, and an iPod nano with the Nike+ attachment to track my progress. I decided to follow Cool Running’s Couch to 5k program, the idea of which is to take someone who has never run and get them used to running 5k (about 3 miles) on a regular basis. I was the kid who walked the mile when we had to run it in gym in high school. I’m not much of a couch potato but this seemed like the right program for me.

It started out fairly well until I developed some serious pain in my knees and shins at the end of the second week. I figured the best thing to do was not to run until the pain subsided. That took two weeks.

Then, between trying to get used to working two jobs and moving twice and generally trying to settle into living in a new city, I was running much less than the three times a week prescribed by the program. In fact, I’m still on week three of the program, which is nine weeks long and which I started almost 24 weeks ago. According to my Nike+ profile, I’ve run 17 times. That’s less than once a week. The last time I ran was the 8th of July, which was almost a month ago.

And yet, I keep trying. I haven’t entirely given up. When I first started and was running regularly, I was enjoying it much more than I expected I would. I just haven’t been able to get back into that initial groove for some reason.

So, I don’t want to say that it’s been a total failure since I have yet to give up. My work schedule has finally¬†stabilised¬†and last week I sat down to look at my weekly schedule and I set aside times to run. I’m supposed to run this evening, in fact. And I will after I finish writing this post.

As I said, when I first started and was going on a regular basis, I was actually enjoying going running much more than I expected I would. To go for a run or a walk or a jog is a very easy-to-accomplish goal. And when you set a schedule for yourself to go so many times a week, it feels really good when you get it done. So, I guess I just need to think about that more often and not look on my running days as things to dread. It definitely has gotten more difficult as I’ve let it slide, even with just keeping at the week three stage of the program. I tried to progress to week four and found out that I was definitely not ready to run for five minutes at a stretch yet. That’s okay. The important thing is that I keep going. Even if I stay at week three forever, I’ll be running more than I used to. Something is better than nothing.

And, once again, I’ve gone and written a long-ass post about one topic when I’d planned to cover three. More to come about my other Resolutions: organisation and writing. Obviously, this is part of the writing bit so I’m doing okay at that too and despite the lack of ability to see the surface of my desk, I am actually getting better organised too.