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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Phoning it in

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 Whether it's from being spread too thin or poor time management (probably the latter), I'm noticing a disturbing trend in most areas of my life right now.  Mediocrity is pretty much the rule. 

Normally, I'd say something like "I'm doing the best I can," but that's not strictly true.  I'm doing a lot of getting by.  Because I can teach a good lesson without agonizing for hours over the plans has led to a decided lack of extra effort, I do as little cleaning as possible to stay on the health department's good side, I'm the queen of the last-minute project for my current night class, and my race training has been pretty much non-existent.

In a lot of ways "the best I can" has been replaced by "the least I can get away with", and sometimes that's surprisingly little.  In a lot of ways, my ability to manage this makes me my own worst enemy.  Because I'm able to squeak by, I hang onto the same bad habits.  Granted, I can jump on a lot of opportunities because of my willingness to avoid what I should be doing (you'll never hear me say "I can't do that group ride; I have to catch up on my laundry"), but there's a cost.

For example, despite my disdain for housework and my ability to outwait my husband on vacuuming, I feel much happier and more at peace in a clean house.  I'm a straight-A student, but the night before any project is due is always fraught with stress and anxiety as I work my last-minute magic.  While I'm a good teacher, I think there's a real psychic cost of not doing your best and, in contrast, real joy in creating something new.  And, of course, my body keeps letting me take on (and usually finish!) these races I'm totally unprepared for, but I pay for it in recovery and, to a point, in wondering how much better I could have done.






I know, none of this is nothing new.  At least once a year I post about how even I'm sick of my traditional cycle of didn't train enough/just happy to have finished/gotta turn over a new leaf.  While I'm pretty sure no big shifts are going to happen, I have been making some small changes and trying to do at least a little extra in these areas where I'm lacking.  Well, not in the night class...but I'm planning to start studying this week for next week's final, and that's something, right?  And not in training, but I've been sick.  My house looks better, though (and my husband is happier), and I've been doing some new things in my classroom.  So that's a start.



20 comments:

  1. I've been half-assing a lot lately too.

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  2. It's good to know I'm not the only one who gets ffrustrated with this. For me, running is the only thing that seems to get 100% effort. The rest gets procrastinated til the last possible second, and then I half ass it to get by.

    For whatever reason, all of that is blindingly highlighted this time of year...

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  3. I think this whole calendar year has had me a bit of a victim of "good enough". I'm doing "enough to get by" and that is "good enough". I know that I won't be able to phone in that century next June though so here's to a kick ass next six months - one baby step at a time.

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  4. You know - it all depends on what's important to you. You have a lot of cool adventures and get to dig into your "mental toughness" bank.

    When I moved to Boulder, I was enamored with all the activities available. I remember one Saturday taking a 2 hour motorcycle ride through a winding canyon. Had lunch, went rock climbing for a couple of hours with a friend, napped and then did an hour mtn bike ride. After about a year of spreading myself so thin - I was constantly frustrated as being last and not able to keep up.

    Yes - it was so cool being able to do a variety of activities. But I finally decided to "pick my poison" and become *good* ( this is relatively speaking of course)at at least one thing. So I picked mtn biking. Now it's running.

    BUT the great thing about focusing on one thing - is tho you might lose your sharpness/edge if you move on to something else - you will maintain *some* level of competence and skill. From 1996 - 2000 -when I lived Dallas, I focused on pool (9 ball specifically) and to this day, even tho I rarely play - I can still more than hold my own at any bar and kick some poor unsuspecting guy's ass.

    Just depends on what you want to get out of your hobbies. :)

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  5. Hmmm...you've been reading my journal again haven't you!! ha ha..can I copy and paste the majority of this into my post because this could be me (well except for the classroom stuff)!?

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  6. Feeling sick must be old by now. Take yourself shopping.Buy some new work clothes and some new exercise clothes because I'm sure you don't have enough. Go out for a good lunch. Go to a good movie. Buy yourself that bike you have been dreaming of. Do whatever you need to make yourself feel good!

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  7. You aren't alone. I haven't been swimming since my last tri in July, haven't been biking for a couple months and haven't run during the week for a month. I'm pretty sure your contribution around the house far outweighs mine too. Hopefully my wife doesn't read my comments or she'll start looking for an upgrade :-).

    Sounds like you are making some progress though. I think small, sustainable changes are better than step changes. Step changes reminds of my FIL saying "I'm starting my new diet as soon as I finish this container of ice cream". I've heard this or something similar over the last 20+ years :-).

    Hang in there. We still need to get through the winter....

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  8. You. Are. Enough. Just as you are. :) Good to read a Kate post.

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  9. Well you are always a treat in my life every day. Even if it is just a like on FB. You are a lot more to many more than you know. Just keep doing what you do and being who you are. That is the Kate I know and hope to meet one day. Have a super weekend Kate!

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  10. Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow? :)

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  11. I just wrote a blog post about how unhappy I've been setting for mediocre (in running) when I know I am capable of so much more. Housework, though.. I'm fine with mediocre. Or, least I'm going to have to be if I put more effort into the running. There's only time for so much, dammit!

    Good luck with the finals! :)

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  12. I'm stuck there too! We need a big adventure to turn it all around.

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  13. I spent a large portion of law school feeling this way - it's awful when you get to the end of something and realize you could have done better but for the other xxx things you were doing (in my case it was doing two grad programs simultaneously). Good luck with the small changes! I think daily to-do lists are the greatest thing ever :)

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  14. Ah Kate...I hear you, most especially on the housework issue. I love a nice clean house...but I am so not into what it takes to make it that way :) So many other more interesting things to do! I think you're awesome and daring and interesting!

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  15. Many execute less with much less going on, I'm quite sure that you have been and will continue to kick a higher level of ass than the mean average.

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  17. Now that my race is over, I'm seeing just how much I've neglected pretty much everything else: my job, our finances (!), the house (yes, I too hate housework, but love a clean house). I feel disorganized and like my priorities are out of whack. And we're throwing two parties this weekend--idiots!! (One b-day party for our soon-to-be six-YOs, one Xmas cookie exchange party the next day)

    I want to fix this, but I'm not sure how. I don't even have time to sit down and think about how to organize it! Sigh. Sorry to fill your comments with this, but the gist is....I relate!!

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  18. I would say we have a lot more in common than I realized. There are a few things I have taken a lot of pride in, but most of the time I have been blessed to do well at school )and some other things) without a lot of trying. I look back now and wonder what I could have done if I had set real, honest to goodness, goal when I started college and the stuck with it. (Full effort and whatnot). Who knows...
    God gives us passions for some things and not for others, though. And that makes us unique and interesting. Nice to read from you tonight. :)

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