I woke up this morning to my dog pacing around on my bed, as usual. I groggily dragged myself out of bed and let Higgins out of the room. My partner was already awake and fed him while I got my morning routine started. I forgot to make coffee last night so my first 15 minutes or so of the morning was spent staring zombie-like at nothingness. Eventually, the coffee was ready and I got some caffeine into my veins. My drug of choice never lets me down.
Then, I sat down and took a look at my calendar to see what my day had in store for me. The first thing on the list (after my morning journaling and Stoic reading) was a 2.5-mile run. I didn’t particularly want to go for a run, especially knowing that I really needed to run 5 miles to make up for skipping my run yesterday (I have set an 88-miles in 28 days running goal). But, with some reluctance in my heart, I slipped on my running shoes. I opened the door and when the chilly morning air blasted my bare chest I, again, wanted to just turn around, but I kept going and soon I was pounding the pavement.
When I really think about it I went running for one primary reason, as a gift to myself. In fact, I believe every decision we freely make is really a gift that we are giving ourselves.
When I go running I am gifting myself with better health and an investment in the future.
When I work I am gifting myself with resources to do the things I want and the things I need to survive.
When I pay bills I am gifting myself with lower stress and access to luxuries.
When I masturbate I gift myself with momentary pleasure and reduced likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
When I read Harry Potter I am gifting myself with relaxation and an escape from my normal life
When I read non-fiction I am gifting myself access to greater knowledge and a stronger mind.
When I take an ice bath I am gifting myself with a healthier body and proving to myself that I am mentally strong.
Every decision I make is a gift to myself. Now, I can choose not to view it that way. I can view running or paying bills or working or studying or masturbating as a burden (well, maybe not masturbating) but that will only bring my mood down. Instead, I try to view each action, each moment, each decision as an investment in myself, as a form of self-love. None of these actions are “good” or “bad”, they just “are”, the negative or positive emotions that they evoke come from the subjective value we place on them.
So, this morning I gave myself a gift. I ran six miles which made my heart and legs healthier, cleared my head for other gifts ahead of me today, allowed me to get some endorphins and vitamin D, and provided me with a sense of accomplishment and motivation to start the week. And damn, it was a wonderful gift. I am such a generous person 🙂
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Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”