My profound realization while on the elliptical

2 Aug

It’s amazing how much better you can feel after a full day of rest.  I have this weekend and Monday and Tuesday off so that I can go to a wedding, which I am so grateful to be able to do, but in order to have those days off, it feels like I’ve been working nonstop the rest of this month.

I think when I am stressed and fatigued, I tend to be hypercritical of a lot of things, including myself.  During my last shift, I kept focusing on every little mistake I made and was getting really frustrated and pissed off at myself.  Looking back, the mistakes weren’t really a huge deal…they weren’t mistakes in judgement, just mistakes in voice recognition.  When we put together our radiology reports, we speak into a microphone and rely on a voice recognition system to “type out” what we say.  I don’t know if it was because my clogged sinuses was making me talk even less clearly than normal or if it was just from being busy and having less time to proofread, but several “typos” got overlooked and put into my reports.  Of course, all of my mistakes were pointed out to me–as they should be, but regardless, I kept fixating on those mistakes and was getting mad at myself for being so sloppy and careless.

When I got home, all I wanted to do was go for a run.  Having two areas of life–athletics and education–that I put time, effort, and pride into has always been important to me.  I could never be “just” a student or “just” an athlete.  Growing up, if I had a bad skating practice, I would be in a horrible mood, but then going off to school and having something else to focus on kept me from fixating on my bad practice.  Likewise, if I had an intense or bad day at the hospital, I could go for a run and finish the day with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

When I got home from my shift Tuesday in a bad mood, I became even more frustrated that I couldn’t run (because of my heel)….doing a 30-60 minute workout on the elliptical just doesn’t bring me the same sense of satisfaction and euphoria I get from going for a run and kicking butt with my pace.  I had no choice, though, so I biked over to my (new!) gym and pounded it out on the elliptical.

No, I didn’t get a runner’s (elliptical’s) high from my workout, but it did give me a chance to clear my mind and then sort out some of my thoughts:

I realized I was letting my mood and sense of value as a person in part be dependent on how well I thought I did at work or how fast I could run my miles.  If I depend on not making mistakes at work, positive feedback, and achievements in running to keep me happy, then I am setting myself up for some big time failure because I WILL make mistakes and at some point I WON’T be able to run.

So many people base their happiness on “things” and achievements:

*if only I get that job or promotion

*if only I get that raise

*if only I could lose ten pounds

*if only I weren’t still single

*if only I had a little more money

*if only I had more time

*if only I had a bigger home

But the reality is that there is never any perfect scenario.  Insuring our happiness on things we or others achieve is a risky investment.  We as humans all make mistakes, and things will happen to us that are beyond our control.  That’s why it is so important to find some higher source and reason for our happiness and sense of identity, something that withstands all the trials of this earthly life.  We should view each challenge and “mistake” as learning experiences that help shape us into better people and help us to become the kind of person God intended us to be.  Each day is gift, and life is too short to waste it focusing on our disappointments and what we wish we had or were able to do.

How’s that were for some intense, profound thoughts while on the elliptical?  And you thought all I did on the elliptical was watch corny ABC Family tv shows on my Ipad ; )

On a lighter note, Dean and I finally had an evening together last night.  Most of the shifts I’ve been working have been either the 8pm to 8am or 4 to midnight shift, so we haven’t had as much time to hang out together.  Well, last night we finally had time for a date night.  It felt so good to be able to relax, actually dress up, put makeup on and attempt to look pretty, and enjoy a good meal and bottle of wine with Dean : )

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5 Responses to “My profound realization while on the elliptical”

  1. Jenn @ Run It My Way August 2, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    You are too hard on yourself!! You are a DOCTOR (<– an amazing accomplishment that most people dream of but never achieve!) AND you are an amazingly talented runner (I wish I could come even close to your speed!), photographer, and I'm sure lots of other great things. Nobody is perfect, but you come awfully close. Cut yourself some slack!

    You know when I am being lazy or feel tired after a long day, and I'm feeling sorry for myself because I work a demanding job with long, stressful hours, YOU motivate me to make time to run! It's so inspiring that even though you work insane hours (definitely longer than mine!), you still make time to run (and more mileage than I do).

    A final piece of wisdom – I read a quote a few weeks ago from Kristin Armstrong's Mile Markers and I sent it to Ryan, as I think he is too hard on himself sometimes too. 'Contentment and Improvement are not mutually exclusive. It is indeed possible to be good enough in the midst of getting better"

  2. Daphne @ Candy Coated Runner August 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    It’s so easy to put yourself down, and focus on the mistakes and what you should have done. But the days are too short for that! Must take time to appreciate what you have and how far you’ve come!

  3. Adrianna August 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    y’all are so cute!
    I really needed this today…yesterday I made some dumb mistakes at work,too, and felt totally incompetent. I had to remind myself, even this morning, that I’m there to learn. it’s a residency and I’m working to get better in the specialty. I can really relate on ‘making it better’ with a workout. we should love every moment and enjoy the process of life; not punish ourselves in any way.

    have a nice few days off from the hospital!

  4. Losing Lindy August 3, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    yay for a date night

  5. Noreen Thompson August 12, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Loved the wisdom in your thoughts on living a life well…thank you for the reminder as it is so easy to get stuck in one’s own little drama and then to
    lose sight of the true essence of living well.
    Noreen

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