There are many people in the world who are motivated by numbers: sales figures, perhaps, or numbers on a scale, percentages of who-knows-what, records and projections, numbers and more numbers keeping people on track, rooted in data, giving them something objective to hold onto.
I am not one of those people. I like numbers, but they don’t motivate me the way they do some. However, a little over a year ago, there was one number that stuck in my head: 150.
150 is the number of minutes of moderate to strenuous exercise that some random article written by some random doctor working for a healthcare provider that isn’t even mine anymore recommended that a healthy average adult get per week. 150 minutes isn’t very much, only two and a half hours per week of exercise. If you count biking, I hit that within the first two days only commuting to work and back. BUT, unless I’m really going after it, biking doesn’t feel like exercise to me — so based on this one random article, I decided to try to run at least 150 minutes a week.
Again, I don’t get hugely psyched for data about my physical performance. I don’t keep track of the miles I bike, I don’t care about how fast I run, I just want to be outside. But that’s why 150 minutes per week was such an easy thing to keep hold of: the only thing that mattered was how long I ran — not when, not how far, not how fast, just that I was out there running. Then post-run, I’d simply write the number of minutes down in my paper calendar (yep, I still have one of those, luddite that I am;) , and voila, a record over the whole year of how much I ran (probably missing a run or two, but whatever).
(some runs were muddier than others:)
The result? This year I ran 6,593 minutes, just under 110 hours. Those of you fast a math might have already noticed that if I’d actually run 150 minutes every single week of the year, I would have run 7800 minutes, or 130 hours, so I didn’t quite make it.
However! Looking back at my calendar, I can see that I spent a whopping almost-9 weeks on long-term bike trips: almost 4 weeks in Utah, 3 weeks to Boise and back, a week in the San Juan Islands, a week in Death Valley. I don’t usually run when I’m hardcore biking all day, so if I subtract somewhere between 8 and 9 weeks (20-22.5 hours) from the 130 hours, I’m close.
But again, whatever, it was a totally arbitrary goal. The important thing from all of this is that in looking back at all these numbers, godDAMN do I feel lucky that I was able to make that kind of time this year for travel and adventure. There’s a phrase that I often bandy about my head, both when I’m feeling grumpy and when I’m feeling grateful: I may be income-poor, but I’m incredibly time-rich. And that is possibly one of the best things, ever.
So all that as a long preamble to say that I feel so tremendously privileged to lead the life I do right now, and despite whatever hiccups and grumpiness, 2014 was a pretty damn good year. Maybe the best so far. And I have high, high hopes for 2015. Bring it, bring it, bring it.
And I hope all your 2015s are similarly filled with optimism and adventure:) Happy new year!!
I am a big fan of the time spent metric rather than distance. When I was training more seriously in college we used to mail in how far we’d run (and our pace) over the summer on pre-stamped postcards that the coach would provide us. And then he’d email out everyone’s progress periodically. It was a good motivator, but it was always about mileage, not time spent outside. Anyway, I might give the paper calendar thing a try.
You know, I’ve been thinking about this, and I’m kind of impressed that y’all would actually send in postcards periodically. heh. I guess if you knew the info would be public that’s a motivator to still think about college things over the summer, eh?
Do you still do things by mileage? Let me know if you try the paradigm shifting paper calendar! ;)