Taking Your Own Advice

by Phil

in Inspiration, Self Improvement

Sometimes the most important advice you can take is your very own.

Part of the reason I took such a long break from the blog before Sunday was that I just wasn’t “feeling it.”  Several other distractions had intervened in my life over the past few months, with my knee injury serving as a major catalyst for my lack of focus.  It seemed to bleed over into every part of my life.  I was becoming frustrated with things at work.  My relationships suffered and I didn’t see my friends as often or keep in touch with the ones who live far away.  I was short on the phone with my parents, who live 2,500 miles away and who I know value the time they get to spend on the phone with me.  I stopped watching what I was eating after making great progress on a healthy diet this summer (more on that in a future post).  Usually a consistently forward-looking person, I stopped looking to the future.  I was stuck in a rut.

All of this was not due to my knee injury per se, but rather the fact that the injury keeps me from running, and when I don’t run, problems like the ones listed above tend to creep into my life.  I’m discovering how amazing it is that one activity, or the lack thereof, can have such a significant, dramatic effect on my quality of life, but looking back over the past 18 years since I began running, I have always been happiest when I’m either running or around runners (coaching).

So, as I occasionally did in idle moments over the past couple months, I visited RB this weekend just to make sure it was still here (it is :) ).  I checked the site traffic and would note the occasional passerby, reconfirming (positively) that there was still interest.  And then I came across my post from December 12: When You Can’t Run, Write.

Of course!  So, I sat down this weekend and started writing.

And I’m glad I did. Like I mentioned in the December 12 post, writing is again giving me the opportunity to get thoughts out of my head, to get my ideas down, to dream and plan again.  In fact, in just the last 10 minutes I brainstormed a list of topics I’m looking forward to working on and writing about in the coming weeks, such as:

  • Reducing the clutter in my life and living space
  • Prioritizing my physical therapy and knee rehab
  • Developing additional streams of income
  • Aggressively paying down debt
  • Making the most effective use of my time, both inside and outside of work
  • Sticking to a low-fat, high-protein diet
  • Eliminating caffeine from my life
  • Seeking avenues in which to serve my community and country
  • Increasing my opportunities to travel
  • Restoring friendships and professional relationships that have been dormant in recent years
  • Being the best friend/brother/son that I can be to those who mean the most to me
  • Playing piano and guitar frequently again like I did in my early 20s

…And I’m only getting started.   So when you’re going through a tough time, or facing a difficult decision, sometimes the best thing you can do is look inside. You might find out you’re a lot wiser than you think.

Photo by R’eyes.

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Getting Back to Your Roots — Running Buddy
April 4, 2010 at 9:45 pm


1 Evan March 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Great post my friend. I loved your realization that “I have always been happiest when I’m either running or around runners.” Replace “running”/”runners” with another, similar gerund/noun combination, and you might be describing me.

2 Phil March 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Thanks Evan. I’m pretty sure I know which activity you mean!

3 Evan March 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm

PS, Phil — Why no caffeine? Don’t you live in the land of Blue Bottle?

4 Phil March 12, 2010 at 8:10 am

Ha, yes, but caffeine and I have had a somewhat adversarial relationship over the years. I love, absolutely love, the taste of Coca-Cola (and Diet Coke — I’m actually equal opportunity as far as the two are concerned). Naturally, I sometimes have a hard time moderating things in my life and my love for all things Coca-Cola has at times developed into a full-stage caffeine addiction, with withdrawal symptoms and everything. We’re talking four D.C.s per day addiction. It keeps me going through the day, but the side effects are terrible: I get the inevitable crashes, my hands and feet are always freezing because of the reduced circulation effect it has, and I don’t sleep well.

When caffeine’s out of the picture, I have a much more even energy level throughout the day and I sleep wonderfully, and my hands and feet aren’t cold :) This is an ongoing battle and I don’t necessarily think I will ever COMPLETELY eliminate caffeine (for example, traveling this week has required it a few times); but, I will be aiming to go for long (like months-long) stretches without it!

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