Last night, I had what may have been the worse bike ride of my life. I started riding pretty seriously back in 2014, and its become my passion. It’s what drives away my stress and keeps me sane, its something that truly gives me joy. But not last night. I fell apart in an epic fashion. I can blame body fatigue, mental fatigue, whatever… but I had nothing in my tank. I could not maintain a decent pace, I felt weak, and it took every fiber of my being not only to not turn around as I cried grinding my way up Lookout Mtn Rd and certainly my slowest pace ever up it. And it took all my mental energy, not to call and get a bailout pickup. My ego, my pride, my confidence in my abilities as an athlete absolutely shattered. My body simply didn’t check in, and I beat myself up mentally, and made things even worse.
As I unfairly took my frustration out on my best and most supportive partner, and limped my way home at a staggeringly slow pace, I started thinking (because it’s what I do)… what went wrong, and why?
I figured it out… I’m not ok.
For months now we have been trudging through a horrible and scary pandemic called COVID-19 (maybe you’ve heard of it). This entire time I’ve worked at staying calm, not overreacting, being as rational as possible, trying to be safe and smart. I’ve become a full time remote worker, I homeschool my daughter, I try to make sure I’m being a good support system for my employees, I try to be strong for my kids. And now, a tragic death of a man at the hands of a police officer and the outrage from society that ensued after. I avoid the news and frankly, barely look at social media anymore because it takes a toll.
I grew up here in Colorado, living so much of my life in the outdoors. Whether I’m biking, running, hiking, kayaking, camping… the outdoors at the end of the day IS MY SOLACE. As an extrovert, I get my energy from being with my friends, sitting on a patio at a brewery, beers in a parking lot after a fun bike ride, or hanging out potlucking with friends in their back yard. But here’s what’s happened… We were told to stay at home, don’t go far, don’t go outside your community, don’t go to restaurants or breweries, don’t hang out with people. I’ve tried for months to embrace it all, tell myself its for the greater good, and just be grateful for anything / everything I can. But my anxiety and stress is high and I’m poorly managing it.
And it’s not working. I’m not ok.
I’m sad, I get down easily, I long for the way things used to be. I worry about the day I have to go back to the office. I dread the day I have to send my daughter back to school/daycare and the mental trauma she could face with new restrictions and a new way of life. I miss camping and exploring my mountains and new trails SO freaking much. It’s eating at me. And no matter how much I tell myself it’s ok… its not.
But… I guess the thing I’m starting to think about too, its ok to not be ok. Right? Shit sucks right now. NO ONE is immune from the impacts. Whether its COVID-19, school/daycare closures, masks, unrest, political tensions, relationship tensions, the dramatic life changes we’ve all had to make… it doesn’t matter. It’s ok to not be ok. We are human. We are driven by personality and desires. We are creatures of habit whether we like it or not. They say you have to eat something like what, 12 times(?) as a child to start developing a taste for something? I imagine our routines and way of life are much the same. So we have to retrain our brains I guess to find the things that give us joy and satisfaction.
I suppose here’s where the lesson is then…. right? How do we cope with it? Do we just talk about it? Accept it and move on (clearly that’s not working)? Ignore it and move on (clearly that’s not working)? I don’t have the answer… but I guess the best thing I can do right now, is just acknowledge I’m not ok. It sucks to admit. I’ll figure out how to make it right at some point… but maybe it just means time. Who knows.