Activity streaks, blogging friends, and other wonders of life

2013 is starting out to be quite the interesting year.

The thing about an activity streak — as with any sort of conscious behavioral change – is that the longer one is able to maintain a new behavior, the more psychologically painful it is to contemplate breaking the streak. I didn’t plan to start 2013 with an activity streak, but I did set some ambitious goals with respect to running, hiking, walking, and biking mileage for the year. About five days into the year, I realized that something quite new and exciting was happening, and that I needed to pay attention.

Now here it is 14 days into 2013, and I have logged 55.63 miles, of which 30.38 have been running miles; the rest are mostly walking miles. That’s almost 4 miles a day! I haven’t yet missed a day. When I had a couple of hours at SeaTac airport before my flight last Wednesday, I walked the length of all four main terminals several times, a distance of at least 4 miles. I have walked in the rain and run in the wind. I wake up in the morning thinking about how I will work my activity into my day.

So while I was in Santa Barbara I ran barefoot on the beach. I walked all over downtown. I kept moving because moving felt so much better than sitting. I kept moving because somehow, unbeknownst to me, I had made this commitment to myself to keep moving every day.

We’ll see how long the literal streak will last, but this new habit of waking up in the morning and planning for how I will be active each day seems to be well on its way to being an integral part of who I am becoming.

On my last morning in Santa Barbara I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting one of my blogging friends face to face. There is an inherent irony to this statement — I had come to Santa Barbara for the national winter session of Fielding Graduate University, where I had completed my PhD by writing a dissertation exploring how people who work from home for large global corporations experience and interpret place. I had spent the last dozen years of my corporate career learning to be entirely comfortable working closely with people whom I had never met. Still, I knew that there is a certain satisfying something about those rare moments when you do actually meet and spend time with someone who until now has been, at most, a voice on the phone.

In the case of blogging friends, it’s more like having a pen pal than being co-workers across distance. Someone comments on a post. I reply. I decide to follow their blog. We begin to exchange comments regularly on one another’s posts. At some point I realize I have a friend out there — a real person who has an interesting life, a person with whom I’d like to spend time in the real world if the chance ever arises.

By a timely coincidence, Debra of Breathelighter and I realized that we were going to be visiting Santa Barbara at the same time! My daily exercise for my last morning in Santa Barbara was a one-mile walk down the beachfront street to a restaurant where Debra, her husband Jay, and I enjoyed a long, leisurely breakfast. It was like reconnecting with an old friend — albeit one whom I’ve never met before! We talked for so long that Jay finally took a walk while waiting for us to wind down. He then kindly returned to take this photo, which Debra graciously shared with me.

I think you’ll find a similar shot on her blog post about the day. I love the synchronicity of our getting together and then both writing about it!

It was a great week, but I’m happy to be home in the Pacific Northwest.

CFL and I will be doing some more traveling very soon, and I expect to regale you with news of beer tourism. We have some long driving days planned and it will be a challenge to figure out how we’ll get our daily activity in, but I have a feeling we’ll both manage to do it. It’s a new habit, but a decidedly sticky one.

I’m definitely packing my running shoes!

4 responses to “Activity streaks, blogging friends, and other wonders of life

  1. Lori, I am so happy for you. This post is full of life, wonder, and happiness, and I think it may be contagious. I feel renewed in my decision to take greater control of my activities, and be more intentional about them. If only a ten minute jump on my trampoline followed by 20 minutes of yoga, it is absolutely necessary to fit it into my day. It has been so long that my body aches with LACK of activity. I’d much rather ache from my first run. Haha. Thanks for sharing this!
    Great picture of you two. :)

    • Lici, thanks! I think it will actually be easier for me to simply embrace this new habit of doing something EVERY day. That way there can be no question of… “will I do something today or not?” There is only one possible answer: YES!

  2. I think “activity streaks” are wonderful. I feel like I’ve been on one in a little different vein. Not so much with exercise, although that would be a good streak for me to seriously consider, but definitely with being active and following through with exhibits and places that hold interest. The joy has been in going and “doing” despite other demands on time–prioritizing what makes me joyful. And that included our trip to Santa Barbara. It was a long day, and in some ways took a toll on our energy to pack so much into one full day, but in the end we were so glad we did. And it was a highlight to have spent time with you. We’ll have to find another time down the line. I look forward to hearing more about your March activities, and of course, the beer tourism. So unique! Thank you, Lori.

    • Debra, I agree that you and Jay are two busy people! And it’s clear that you are finding joy on your excursions as well. Your “well-being” and my “slow happy” complement one another well, I think! It’s all about recognizing and then acting upon the recognition that life is finite and short, and we are going to pack as much into it as we possibly can. Cheers and happy travels to you, my friend!

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