Sunday, January 22, 2012

Losing


Yesterday was a kind of off-the-wall day. I ran a 5K in snow with a couple friends. I finished writing a new poem and it was good. I played with my kids in the snow. I visited my brother at the commercial garage he just bought. My family and I went out to dinner. I watched the SU men's basketball team lose for the first time this year. I saw that Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary. I went to bed and held tightly to my wife. It felt like a good day. But I woke this morning realizing that I too had lost.

Through yesterday, I had a 104-day streak of writing 750 words and this morning it's gone. I had posted an entry on this blog every day for 83 days straight until yesterday. In all the hub-bub I forgot to write my words.

God damn it.

I've written about streaks before and had all sorts of ideas about them.  Those ideas came when I was still riding the streak and I realize now that point of view matters. I have been having streaks of running, writing, blogging, and so on. In each instance the streak is designed to get me in the habit of doing something. I realize that dropping one day of writing isn't going to change me much. But I also realize that I am going to go right back to the streak to stay with writing. I've learned that much from running where the streak was the thing that kept me doing it.

I had a twelve-day streak of running this year, then dropped it when we had a day of travel after work. It felt like too much to fit a run in just to keep a streak alive. But, since I dropped the streak, my running has fallen way off. I'm not motivated to get out there when it is cold and, without the streak to push me, I don't go. I don't have the habit yet, not without the streak.

Which brings me to another losing problem that I'm having. This one is less like SU's loss last night and much more like Romney's. Each morning, I weigh myself. I'm trying to get rid of my over-sized stomach. As I've written before, according to my doctor, I am 20-25 pounds overweight. I have been trying to establish habits that help me get in shape. Running is one of those habits. Not eating when I drink coffee is another. And yet, the numbers have not moved.

I just thought that I had it in the bag. Like Romney with the Republican nomination, I figured the weight-loss would just work. It hasn't. Some fat newt has been dogging me.

So far, I know, this writing has been all about losing and a fair amount of whining. Losses have that effect on me. I have a feeling that they affect you less than pleasantly as well. I don't plan on staying this way. Today isn't a mope and complain day. It's time to figure things out, establish habits and find ways to make them stick. It's a day to begin.

I can't fix the writing streak today. I won't have my 104-day streak back until May. The process is long-term and staying with things long-term is something I haven't been good at. So I'm hoping for habits that will help me with that. Today is a beginning.

I have written almost 750 words today. I am about to eat a good breakfast. During breakfast, I hope to figure out the shape of the day and know when I'm going to run. I will begin again. And I will try to keep everyone posted on my progress, not because I think that you need to know how I'm doing, but maybe to see if others are working on their own struggles and to share some ideas about how to do all that.

Of course, my first step is to write on.