“Every Day I See My Dream”
I often struggle to find that perfect balance of enjoying the present moment whilst looking excitedly toward the future. I believe that practicing a delicate ballet of appreciation for my past, present and future is a vital component in feeding the positive perspective I need to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself, and make my dreams into reality.
I went for a run at lunch yesterday. I am finally over a lingering cold, I had warm duds with me, had my ‘tunes’, it was beautifully sunny, and the roads were almost completely free of snow and ice. It seemed I had no excuses left. Even so, my mind was creating reasons why I didn’t need to go out. I am a person who loves to be warm and the temp was a balmy 22 degrees, and the wind a little biting. I finally settled my mind around being grateful for the strength I’ve regained in my foot since my stress fracture last summer, and wanting to maintain that. I also reminded myself that I would feel fantastic and accomplished after my run. Lastly, with an impending blizzard, I knew it would be a couple days before I had an opportunity to run like this again, with clear roads. I reminded myself to be thankful for this opportunity.
If I choose to see it as such, a run on my lunch break can be an opportunity to escape from the responsibilities of my job for an hour and listen to music. Yesterday I was listening to “Yes” by LMFAO, singing along about Grandma making pancakes (Yum!) and thinking as they kept repeating the phrase “Every Day I See My Dream”. So naturally I became philosophical about this. What does it mean to every day see my dream, because that sounds fantastic!
When I was a kid, I sprained my ankle, a lot. I tried playing soccer and basketball in 6th grade and found myself to be pubescently awkward and accident prone. I wanted to be able to everything well. I had heart, but didn’t know where to apply my ambition to get the results I desired. Sadly I formulated the perspective that I just wasn’t an athletic person. I decided that some people had it and some people didn’t. I clung to this attitude and allowed it to seep into other areas of my life. I gave up on things quickly when they didn’t come easily for me, even things I really wanted for myself.
As I was running yesterday, I caught sight of my shadow and it became more than just a reminder to work on my form. I appreciated my little shadow. I looked at it and saw someone strong, someone who was giving this cold little jaunt everything she had, someone I was proud of. During the last mile especially I decided that I was not running away from that girl who gave up on cross-country and sprained her ankle so many times, I embraced her. She had taught me so much. I was proud of her for learning to love herself, and learning to press on no matter what. I was proud of every silly jumping exercise she does during the winter months to keep her ankles strong to avoid injury. I was proud of her for making herself look at the big picture when it feels like the world is closing in, and for looking for reasons to practice smiling.
Look “In The Middle”
This is my ‘stop and smell the flowers moment’. I work to be a dreamer and an optimist. Maintaining this is as important to my mental health as planning practically for the future. I find it too easy sometimes to get caught up in looking ahead to what’s next, and allow myself to get disappointed that I haven’t arrived there yet, forgetting to enjoy what’s around me.
During my brief high school sophomore poser skater kid phase I wore these huge wide leg JNCOs and had a fear of getting them caught in an escalator, which somehow led to a temporary fear falling and heights. Anyway, as a coping mechanism, I would tell my friend Ariel we should ‘look in the middle’ instead of looking up or down. Essentially I was looking at what was right in front of me.
I think being able to appreciate my present surroundings and see the ‘little picture’ I’m in contributes to a positive attitude just as powerfully as looking at the ‘big picture’. While ‘big picture’ thinking helps me to plan responsibly for the future and formulate realistic steps toward achieving my goals, the ‘little picture’ thinking reminds me to celebrate all I have right at this moment. It’s too easy to torture myself over the qualities that I lack, and entertain memories of the times I’ve let myself down. But guess what? Today is my day, if I let be. Not having achieved everything yet is what makes life interesting and fun. There is so much to explore and learn about, if I choose to see it that way.
I don’t think that I was born a ‘self-starter’. I think the fact that I push myself as hard as I do now is a rebellion to that sort of thinking. I don’t see my motivation to run, or to do anything else as a gift that fell from the sky. I see my resolve as a product of the work I give to my perspective every day. I see my drive as a result of the gratitude I have for my health, and my determination to maintain the aspects I have control over. Just like my foot, I have to work on my perspective it to get better performance from it. Sometimes that means stretching myself in ways that may be uncomfortable, challenging, and unfamiliar. However, I have found that practicing motivation and appreciation in one area of my life can propel me to practice it in other areas. It is self-perpetuating.
So what is Intrinsic Motivation? It is defined here as engaging in behaviors because they are personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward. This for me, is the ultimate goal. To enjoy just “being”, with no preconceptions, no counting reps or minutes or mistakes, just enjoying what I’m doing in that moment 100%. When I can access that utopian attitude, I feel unstoppable. I used a picture from one of our Cayman Island trips in this post, because it brings back such good memories. Cayman is an easy happy place for me. I believe it was and is a happy place for me because I’ve mentally allowed it be. When we were there, I let myself be free to enjoy every moment I was in the water, enjoyed every picture I took, treasured every facial expression Brian made. I believe that misery can follow us anywhere, but so can happiness. Unhappiness is a part of life, but I don’t want it to be the way of my life. Every day I want to allow myself to see my dream, to live my dream, and give myself permission to be happy.