It was supposed to last 30 minutes. 

After a long day at work I thought it would be a good idea to hop on my stationary bike and go for a 30 minute spin. “Just 30 minutes” I told myself. I had a good list of things I needed to get done in the yard and around the house but I definitely wanted to fit this in. So I got on my bike and set the time for 30 min.

I pushed myself harder than normal. It was a super busy day and I wanted to get rid of all that tension energy.  20 minutes in I was drenched in sweat and my legs felt like Jello. I’m usually a leisure rider with bursts of strong energy. It’s fair to say this ride was killing me. My dog enters the room with his favorite squeaky toy and squeaks it. Cute right? My pint sized cheerleader has arrived. I keep spinning. He reaches up the side of the couch and stretches his body out long while staring at me. I make a comment about how we’re working out together, how fun. I give him a little wink. Then all hell broke loose. My dog LOST his mind.  He barked at me quite insistently. At first I thought someone was at the door but then I realized he was barking at me! I asked my little buddy what was wrong? He answered with a sharp, demanding bark. I started asking him questions like he was Lassie and was somehow going to answer me. “Are you out of water? Do you need to go out?”. Each one answered with that sharp, demanding bark. This was getting ridiculous. For a moment I contemplated getting off the bike to see what this was all about. I mean, I only had 5 minutes left. Then it hit me. He was challenging me. He picked up his squeaky toy and got uncomfortably close to the peddles on the bike. It’s as if he was saying “You better get off or you’ll hit me.” Inching closer and closer, squeaking his toy louder and louder, barking more and more. It all hit a fever pitch and I realized I can’t back down. I also can’t get down. I have to stay on this damn bike until this is over. If I get off now he’ll think he owns me and I don’t even want to know what that looks like.

How long could this last right? This is a new behavior for my 10 year old dog. He’s sure to tire out quickly and take a nap, right?  THIRTY MINUTES LATER. I cycled for an entire hour! An additional 30 minutes of this Mexican stand off with my dog.  But I won, dammit, I won! There was a time in my life when I would have stopped pedaling to find out what he needed. I’d go as far as to say I might have even stayed away from cycling because I didn’t want to deal with the barking. Eventually, I would have felt resentful towards my dog for ‘being a jerk’ and making me feel like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I would have made myself the victim. It’s moments like that where I realize how far I’ve come. As absurd as the situation was, there was a feeling of pride in not getting off that bike. I wasn’t about to let his neediness at that moment override this time I was taking for myself. I’m not even sure he wanted me to really get off the bike. He just wanted to know where my limit was and I told him. In the end, he curled up in a ball and fell asleep. I hope to see more moments like this in myself. Where I know what I want, I do it, and I don’t let someone knock me off my proverbial bike.

 

 

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Still sober.

I took a break from writing because I was getting depressed. Writing, in and of itself, wasn’t depressing. I just felt stuck. My thoughts were consumed with alcohol and being sober. I got so sick of it. Even though it was a positive change I found myself constantly making alcohol the center of my life. I think that’s natural, but being that this was my umpteenth time trying to get sober I was just done with it. I fell into a bad place where I was glad I was sober but I was mulling over each moment and proclaiming it wouldn’t be as vibrant and alive had I still been drinking. While that was true, it just felt like in a way I was keeping alcohol in my life. I liken it to bad break-up. Say I was married to Jim and we divorced. Ugly divorce. Would it help me to spend every day thinking of all the ways my life was better without Jim? Would that help prove I made the right decision? Or would it help me instead to start making a new life and allow the parallel of before/after Jim naturally occur?

I’ve been keeping myself busy with yoga, indoor cycling, walking and photography. The last time I was sober I used the money I saved to invest in a Nikon D3300 camera. It’s been fun to pick it back up and learn how to use the manual settings. I officially have 9 million black and white pictures of my dog. I’ve also taken a real liking to guided meditations by Tara Brach. https://www.tarabrach.com/guided-meditations/  It’s free. On her site you’ll find a variety of meditations ranging from 6-40 minutes. I don’t always stay awake for them. Especially if it’s right before bed. It is helping me sleep better though, and overall manage stress better.

Anyway, I’m learning to not take myself so seriously. I’m learning to laugh at myself. It’s just life after all.

Namaste.

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