Keep At It

“I remember doing it but I don’t remember how I kept at it.”

“As I recall, you made it a non-negotiable, a prescription you had to follow. So you did.”

The first steps on the path are the hardest. Not because they take the most energy but because they require focus and commitment to get to the point where you can actually take them. The car ride to the wedding or the reunion or the funeral. The first day of the first class of the first year of middle school or high school or graduate school. The new job when you worked for the old employer for most of your professional life. The ring sliding onto your beloved’s finger.

Can you feel it? All those one-liner stories spring from other stories. All those situations have an antecedent – you can imagine the something that comes before.

“I remember doing it.”

The walking that I did two years ago. Almost every day. Three or four or five miles or more. I had no fewer than five routes mapped out. In the cooler weather, in the warmer weather, in the scorching sun. “I’ll be gone for about an hour, guys.” And maybe it was that long. Maybe longer. Rarely shorter. It broke down like this: 20 minutes to fume, 20 minutes to ponder, 20 minutes to wonder.

The packing I did for a four-day trip to Charleston. There was flatbread and wheat crackers, homemade hummus, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, red onion, tzatziki sauce, grapes and apples and oranges. Probably some cereal bars. Some kind of drink but I don’t remember what. Actually, I think I wrote a blog post about it way back then. We ate at a couple restaurants and stopped at a convenience store on the way home where Noah locked himself in a bathroom and we had a couple tense minutes trying to figure out how to get him out but there wasn’t one fast food pit stop. And we even had some left by the time we got home.

The going to the yoga class at the gym that’s only a couple miles away. It wasn’t “proper” yoga – it was a combination of yoga, Pilates and tai chi. I loved it. Because it made me feel powerful. Because it made me feel present. Because it made me feel alive. I used a cheap mat I bought at a discount store. Just before I stopped going, I bought an $80 mat that ended up sitting in the corner of my master bathroom for almost six years. I’ve still never used the yoga mat towel I bought with it.

“You made it non-negotiable.”

Like having to be to work at a certain time or pay your bills on a certain day or picking your child up from school when they’re sick. You do it because you have to – how you FEEL about it is up to you. (Hint: you don’t have feel the same way about “it” every single time.)

It’s time for me to make some things non-negotiable. And it’s time to return to my mantra: Sleep, Eat, Move, Write.

And it’s time to keep at it.