Happy New Year!
Over the past two weeks I've been trying out a couple of new rituals. One has to do with exercise and the dogs. I have been thinking a great deal about simplicity lately and how I make my life more complicated and stressful for ridiculous reasons. So here I am, walking three dogs every day that really need more exercise, and then trucking off to the gym to do 45 minutes on the treadmill. Now, if this time really gave me important alone/thinking/spacing out time, then I could see that it would be valuable. But, really, all it does is stress me out because not only do I have the time taken up, but also the dogs still need more exercise.
So I've been doing three 40 minute dog walks every day, one with all three, and then one with each corgie (Betty would rather NOT have another dog walk--she's fine on the couch, thank you). I space them out so they are nice brain breaks from my research and teaching prep, and also so the dogs aren't completely overwhelmed. As far as exercise goes, this is exactly the same amount (in terms of weight watchers activity points) as going to the gym. Plus, the corgies are MUCH saner. Plus, I have bursts of exercise all day rather than one big push and then a sluglike existence for the rest of the day.
To have my life match with my exercise seems an almost radical concept to me, and relates to a documentary I'm slowly making my way through called Homeland. No, it's not the Showtime series (which is also really great). It's a documentary about four Native American environmental activists who are fighting big energy corporations trying to impinge on their respective communities against their wishes. Watching this clash of cultures I've been thinking about how I live in a counter-intuitive manner, always pushing to get more done, achieve more, reach more goals, and be productive. All that activity leaves little time for being present with the people and animals in my life, acting in a responsible manner towards the environment (it's hard to decide to drive to the co-op to recycle that stuff that isn't taken curbside when I'm in a hurry, so it goes in the trash, and so it goes to a landfill...). Living in an ethical and sustainable manner actually takes a great deal of time, which runs counter to the capitalist model of high productivity and excessive specialization. I find it interesting that when I drop out of this pattern for a few days, it suddenly seems quite nuts. I'm now wondering about how personal goals change within this different perspective.
And yes, the exercise has made the corgis more relaxed. However, no amount of exercise will keep Rhys from barking at the New Year's balloons!