I usually don’t make New Years’ resolutions, but this year I have one out of necessity: to be physically and mentally healthy enough to complete the Climate Ride and maintain that state the rest of the year. Because I’ve already signed up for the ride, I don’t really have much of a choice, so I might as well link it to New Years.
On the physical side, I’ve already started the long process of being able to bike 60 miles a day. I’ve ridden more than 90 miles in one day before, so I know I can do it. And my parents just did it recently with the Erie Canal Ride across New York State. But even though I’ve been telling people “60 miles in isn’t that hideous,” it will require some serious training. My main form of exercise has been using my bicycle on a stationary trainer that my mom donated to me. I’ve been motivating myself by watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix from start to end. My goal is to be able to watch four episodes (three hours) straight while doing intervals. I’m up to two episodes in row as of yesterday. To supplement the biking, I’ve been rock climbing and doing yoga. I haven’t decided on a formal training plan yet, but when the weather improves, I’ll probably start something close to what the Climate Ride website recommends. Although 300 miles sounds long, the mental health side is going to be the much more difficult part.
I am absolutely addicting to “doing.” My name is Shannon, and I am an overachiever. The Climate Ride itself is a testament to this, of course. Who on earth thinks it’s a good idea to not only bike 300 miles but raise $2400 for that privilege? (Me, apparently.) Because of this addiction, I have a tendency to volunteer to fill every need that arises. Or at least to feel guilty when I say no. This isn’t driven by a need to please others, but a combination of pride (“I can do this better than anyone else!”) and self-sacrifice (“This serves others, so I need to do it”). As a result, I drive myself to exhaustion. So I’m committing to giving myself a little slack. To get done what needs to get done, but accept my own personal limits as best I can.
The second element that stands in the way of keeping my head firmly on my shoulders is my sleep schedule. I am always, always sleep-deprived. A tiny bit of this is because of Chris’s schedule. As a line cook in a fine dining restaurant, he doesn’t get home on weekends until 12:30 or so. So if I want to see him, I have to stay up very late on Fridays and Saturdays. Because I get up at 6 AM on weekdays, that wrecks havoc on my circadian rhythm. But to point the finger at him isn’t honest. I’ve been like this my entire life. I don’t know if it’s because of the night terrors I had as a kid or the fact that I’m a night owl, but I hate going to bed. Once I’m there, I fall asleep quite fast, but convincing myself to go is like a mom bribing a five-year-old. Then, I’m so disappointed in myself the next morning when I feel like an extra in Shaun of the Dead. Because nothing else has ever worked, I’m committing here in electronic ink, in front of the whole world (or at least the part that has the Internet) that I am getting more than seven hours a sleep a night. This means that I will need to be in bed by 11 PM every week night. I am not exaggerating when I say this will be much more difficult for me than the exercise.
I hope that by making these promises to myself in public that I can honor and follow through on them. I owe it to myself to be healthy, if nothing else.