Boyfriend* and I ran on Sunday, our first outdoors one since New Year’s Day. Feeling a little crickedy, but sort of good and okay with being a little unprepared despite working out indoors, we went to the business park where we have a lesser chance of being hit by cars. When we rounded the corner at the first road, I looked up to see the signs pictured. NO….NO…. I laughed out loud and of course had to stop and take a photo.
I used to look for signs…near-subliminal messages telling me what choice to make, or that the road I was heading down was correct or incorrect. I didn’t know it was called “magical thinking” until years after I became accustomed to it. Anywhere on the spectrum from noticeable (wearing the same “lucky” article of clothing to take a test or participate in a contest) to recently, thinking that each time I make plans in ink on my calendar they get cancelled, so I need to put everything in pencil. What? It’s 2015? Oh, thanks. I will look into the electronica of which you speak.
I’ve learned that if something starts to take a front seat in my head, I could be in trouble. If I drove this way to work, and had a bad day, then I should drive the other way to work the next day. Perfect sense. Until those thoughts take away from other and functional uses of mind and time. It’s taken a lot of work to undo these knee-jerk types of thoughts, but I generally don’t fret as much these days. If I bring an umbrella, I don’t really think it will affect the weather. If I talk about how much I’m looking forward to something, I don’t really think that’s going to make it less fun (although it will affect my expectations, which is another subject I’m not covering today). And if I’m feeling hesitant about running, and I see two big NO’s, it doesn’t mean I should stop. My mind is often my friend, but is equally given to trying to take me down at a moment’s notice. Part of this includes looking for a way out of anything that is good for me and more challenging than sitting on the couch.
Right before we left the house on Sunday, it started raining. It had been sunny and beautiful the whole morning, a balmy 38 degrees and the air had that smell of an upcoming season.
“Why is that puddle moving!?” I yelled, looking out the front window. “Is that #$%* rain!?”
Boyfriend had no clear answer for me, as he sometimes does not have all the answers I demand. I thought about bailing. What else could I convince him to do? Scrap the whole idea and go out to lunch? He likes lunch almost as much as me, I thought. But he had that serious look in his eyes as he put his iPhone in his armband, and his running hat was already on his head. He wasn’t smiling. Although he doesn’t do that all that often, so it can be misleading. The rain wasn’t going to work for an excuse.
And the “NO” signs just gave us something to laugh about and discuss as we slowly made our way around the sandy roads. I can’t say “recovered” magical thinker, because that would imply I’m all set; that I’m no longer dogged by what Natalie Goldberg calls Monkey Mind. But I can choose often to ignore that noise, which is what I did this weekend, and stick to the plan. Anyone who knows me knows my plan has to be pretty loose in order to work, and that it’s not really mine in the first place. But for now it includes running.
*Yeah, he’s actually my fiancé, but I don’t like that word as much. Because it looks too much like finance. And I have to go looking for the accent.