Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spontaneous Predictability

I like predictability.

I like spontaneity.

Most days, those two don't play well together.

Predictability makes diabetes easier to handle.  Meals happening when they're supposed to.  Consistent serving sizes. Easy to anticipate schedules.  These all help keep the diabetes monsters in check.  Those pesky monsters never behave like perfect gentlemen but predictability helps keep them in their cages most of the time.

Spontaneity is fun.  A last minute decision to jump in the car and head off somewhere different for the day. A cancelled run because a good friend popped by. An extra hour added to a Sunday bike ride because it's nice out and we took a detour.  Spontaneity increases the odds that the diabetes monsters will come out in full costume, ready to roar, beat their chests and refuse to follow orders.

Life is easiest when there is balance between the two extremes.  Go too far in one direction and I get too comfortable there, making it hard to swing the pendulum back in the other direction.

It has only been three weeks of marathon training and I'm already feeling the irresistible pull of predictability.  The training schedule is such that I have very little room for spontaneity.  Three nights a week I have to run.  So three days a week, I eat very carefully, control my schedule and keep things predictable so that I can run without a hitch.  Weekends revolve around running and cycling.  I know how far and how long I have to go and I can adjust accordingly.  Fridays I'm too tired to do very much and Mondays are the only real day off so I predictably sit on the back deck after work and just enjoy some quiet time.

Spontaneity has taken a back seat for the moment.  Unless I do something about it, it will take a back seat for the next four months.  

I know myself and I know that this is not good for me.  If I get too entrenched in routine I have a hard time getting out of it. I get so comfortable that any hint of unexpected change causes stress.  I fall back on my time-honoured tradition of making excuses for why I can't do things.

There are other times during the year when I find myself with a lot more free time on my hands.  During those times, spontaneity becomes the norm. I say yes to everything. I have people over constantly.  I buy clothes and purses (trust me, this is really really really out of character).  I try crazy recipes and I research exotic locations for my next trip. These tend to be expensive times.

Tonight, after only three weeks of being up to my neck in predictability, I could feel my tension begin to mount.  We were talking about the upcoming weekend.  It's shaping up to be full of fun, food and family.  Because of my easy running week, my running schedule is a bit more flexible and I can do my 'long' 10k anytime.  Friday, Saturday, Sunday - it doesn't really matter much.  Several of us might go for a bike ride on Saturday.  We might stop halfway for lunch and then ride home again.  All of these things sound fun.  They are fun and I'm looking forward to them. And yet, I felt my shoulders tense up because of all the variables that I can't plan for when too many things are left up in the air.

I'm not worried that I won't figure out this weekend.  I'm sure that will be fine.  What worries me is how quickly I've become entrenched in the comforts of predictability.

I may have to liven things up a bit just to keep me on my toes.

Maybe I should dye my hair?  Get a new tattoo?  Change my running route. Make a plan for dinner and then kibosh it and go out for pizza at the last minute.

Even though it's more uncomfortable and it brings out the diabetes monsters - spontaneity is good for me.

Now I have to figure out how to schedule some in.

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