We’re three days into the new year and I’ve been pondering what I’d like the motivation for my year to be. After contemplation I’ve decided that 2019 shall be the year of
NO MORE EXCUSES!
It’s become so easy for me to fall back onto plausible excuses for not going after what I want. You know the ones I mean, those excuses that have your friends nodding their heads in agreement. When what’s really happening is that we’re tacitly ratifying each other’s decision to maintain the status quo of our lives. We like our comfort zones even as we bemoan their stultifying drain on our lives.
These are the excuses that allow us to rest our weary heads on our pillows at the end of “yet another hard day”, cocooning us with whispers that we tried our best and our best is good enough. When the truth is we have not tried our best. We have tried our mediocre, we have gotten through the day with a minimum of action. We have pleaded with the universe to “just get me through this day”. We are averse to the hard work of examining our lives.
I’m not saying that there aren’t valid excuses or reasons. Yes, I do have to get up and go to work. Yes, I do have to do the school run. Yes, I do have to buy groceries and wash the dishes and shower and do the laundry and pick up after my teenager who can’t seem to find the laundry basket and make dinner and make sure the car gets serviced and balance my bank account and go to recovery meetings and put the clean laundry away and feed the cat and take down the blessed Christmas tree before the end of January!
Yes, I have all these things to do. I’m sure you do too. But within all the routine things that keep our lives ticking over comfortably, how much are we forsaking the things that make our lives vibrate with exuberance?
I know the experiences that add a deep richness to my life – specifically they are God, exercise, parenting, writing and volunteering. And the only one I really invest in consistently is parenting. Now, I’m not saying I need to attend to each of these areas every day (okay, maybe I should invest in parenting every day, haha). Although I probably could if I broadened by ideas of what each of those experiences looks like. But I can invest more time and focus on them over the course of a week or month.
I’d have to give up things like mindlessly scrolling through social media at 5:00am each week day in favour of 15 minutes with God. Facebook and Instagram vs The Bible and God. There’s no doubt which adds more serenity to my day.
I’d have to give up lounging on my bed every day after work (again scrolling through social media or perhaps even reading a book) in favour of going for a run or to the gym. Or even, (and this is mindblowing for me!) get off the couch and do a few squats in the living room!
I’d have to choose to spend some weekend time volunteering instead of pottering around aimlessly at home, or meeting friends for another Long Black that I really don’t need. Volunteering vs Coffee. Oooh, if you know me then you know that’s a tough one!
I guess it all comes down to how I choose to spend my time and energy. Making excuses is a default requiring no thought, no consideration, no stepping outside my comfort zone, no fear, no fun, no faith, no joy, no gratitude, no purpose. And so this year I’m done making excuses for why I’m not doing what I really want to do.
I really want to run. I have missed it terribly. Yes, I had injuries. But the truth is that I’ve been too lazy to go to the gym and do the necessary rehab exercises. I’ve been too prideful to set out on a 3km shuffle. I am done making excuses. I bought myself a new pair of running shoes and so far I have been out on the road 3 times, racking up a grand total of 1.5km walking and 9km running. Each time does not feel easier but my pace is improving. And I’ve been to the gym twice to do the rehab exercises. When I treat my body respectfully, I feel more appreciative of it, and so I want to treat it more respectfully. Today (after only 3 exercise sessions) I have a desire to eat more healthily. I know it’s not going to be this easy once I go back to full time work later this month but I am determined to keep up with regular exercise and I would ask that you encourage and support me in this endeavour. I don’t need to come directly home after work every day. My daughter’s life will not fall apart if I go for a run and to the gym two evenings a week. And after Midmar in February (click the link, we’re swimming for charity and we invite you to donate) I want to get back into Parkruns on Saturday mornings.
I would like to give more back to my community and my city. The volunteering I do is sporadic at best. I keep waiting for opportunities to present themselves. That’s my excuse – I don’t know what I can do, I don’t know where or how, I don’t know anyone else who’s going to be there. I mean, God forbid I should have to show up without knowing anyone and have to talk to someone I don’t know! And I know plenty of you feel the same way, it’s challenging to step out of our social comfort zone. So I’m taking the initiative and being the change I want to see (thanks Ghandi). I’m creating Serving Sundays. The plan is to volunteer in the kitchen where I work (The Denis Hurley Centre) one Sunday a month. On the 4th Sunday of every month this year I will be volunteering at the breakfast service. That is one Sunday morning a month (only 3 hours a month) making sure that 250 homeless and destitute people in Durban get breakfast. If you want to join me, let me know. I’ll be creating a Facebook event with more details.
And writing… I have taken an exciting leap of faith which begins soon. But more about that as it unfolds.
So here’s to no more “I can’t because…” and no more “I don’t have time for…” It’s time for NO MORE EXCUSES!