I like having a plan. I often fantasize about being one of those bubbles of spontaneity who just wake up Saturday morning and decide they want to spend the weekend in Chicago–as a concept I absolutely love this. But as an actual decision…it’s just out of the question. How much will a trip like that cost? What would I want to see? Is it really even worth the drive? And who is going to come save me when I get hopelessly lost and how the hell would I get around? Where do you even park in Chicago? How do you even get to Chicago? How much will those damn turnpike tolls cost?
The most spontaneous trip I ever take is to Barnes and Noble, where I’ll buy 3 books instead of 2 if I’m really feeling like living it up that day.
There’s just something very comforting about knowing what to expect. I hate being caught off guard. The more I know about any given situation, the more I can mentally prepare myself, and the less likely it becomes that I’ll walk away with a new embarrassing memory to haunt my sleepless, anxiety ridden nights.
But more than all that, I also like having a plan because it is a way of marking progress. I can look at my plan, see how much I’ve completed, and see that I’ve moved forward towards my goal. This is also very important to my ability to manage my anxiety. Progress needs to be made tangible, even if its just a dot on my bullet journal’s habit tracker.
I started this week with a plan. On the waxing crescent I set a few goals for the moon cycle. And 2 of the goals were to do yoga every day and to go kickboxing 4 times a week.
I was off to a beautiful start. I got up both Monday and Tuesday and did yoga before work. I had my workout bag packed and ready to go every morning so I had no excuse not to go the gym on my way home. And more than that, I was looking forward to it. I liked this plan. It left no room for excuses or I don’t feel like tonights. The deal was I would go whether I felt like it or not, and eventually it would become as ingrained a part of my routine as going to work.
And then tragedy struck.
Every time I walk in to 9 Round and see the big wooden box pulled out at round 2 I wonder, “is today the day?”
Tuesday was the day.
I’d managed 4 or 5 nervous but successful box jumps before everything went horribly, horribly wrong. I panicked and psyched myself out. And I fell painfully short of making the jump, demolishing my left shin and right thigh in the process.
That hurt like a bitch. And was also a tad humiliating because it was a full house that night. But mostly it just hurt a lot. Alicia (the trainer) got me some ice and I sat down, laughing at myself, to wait for the pain to dull at bit so I could finish my workout.
It quickly became clear that was not going to happen.
5 days later my shin is still a bit swollen, still quite sore, and I haven’t been able to workout since. Which effectively blew up my carefully crafted plan after only 2 days. To some people that might not be a big deal. Afterall, what are you going to do about it anyway? It’s done. You wait it out, let it heal, and get back on track. It’s not like it impacts your whole life, just this one plan you had.
Unless you’re me. Then it kinda ruins your entire week. Because you had a plan and now the plan is gone and no matter how many times you reminder yourself it’s not that big a deal, you’re still really upset about it. And suddenly you’re not getting up in the morning before work at all, because why bother when you can’t even do the yoga workout you’d planned. And you’re anxious all day because you were starting to make such good progress at the gym and now you can’t go and it’s going to mess everything up and send you backwards. And you start eating like shit because you don’t feel good and you can’t convince yourself to cook because you’re tired and sad.
The next thing you know you’re in the middle of the first proper depressive episode you’ve had in months.
That was me this week. No motivation. No energy. Just sad, anxious, and bitter with a swollen shin and a disgusting bruise on my thigh.
The universe called me out right from the get go. During my Wednesday morning Tarot I drew The Emperor in reverse, symbolizing I was being too inflexible with my plans and needed to loosen my grip a bit. That did make me feel a bit better, honestly, being reminded that this was something outside of my control and I was only going to make myself more miserable by fixating on it. But letting go and being more flexible is easier said than done, especially when you’re primary anxiety trigger is that fear that you’re not doing enough.
In order to readjust and give myself some self-care time, I decided to ignore everything I’d planned to do this weekend. According to my bullet journal I was supposed to be researching for my new novel, but instead I stayed in bed and finished reading A Gathering of Shadows and cuddled with my cat. I took some Instagram pictures. I painted my nails while listening to My Favorite Murder. I signed up for Shipt, a shopping service that delivers your groceries to you so I wouldn’t have to spend 2 hours at Meijer. I took at hot shower and just sat in the tub with my eyes closed, letting the water run over me.
I disregarded all the ‘progress’ I’d planned to make this weekend, and I feel great. Nothing exploded. The world didn’t end. I didn’t have to give up creative rights to my WIP because I neglected it for a weekend. It was really nice.
I still don’t feel 100% better mentally, but I feel much better than I did on Friday. My shin is still pretty far from being ready to hit the ground running tomorrow, but I’m ready to accept this and adjust accordingly. I’m going to get up tomorrow morning and do a neck and shoulders yoga routine; no lunging required. And after work I’m going to go to 9 Round. I can’t do any leg work–no jumping, no burpees, no round-kicks–but my arms are still perfectly capable of getting put through hell and I can still manage a decent squat just fine.
I’ve never been good at accepting changes to my plans. They stress me out and can seriously impact my mood. But I’m getting better. And that’s it’s own sort of progress, even if it wasn’t the progress I’d hoped to make this week.