Keeping Score

I have a very large Excel spreadsheet where I have kept track of all things physio-related, including various exercises done (how many reps), heart rate, anti-inflammatories taken and general comments about my pain – how severe and where. A thrilling read. And it goes back to early 2007.

Recently, I've just stopped filling it out. I kept forgetting – which is surprising – as I have kept it faithfully every day for over three years. Recently I started to use it to keep track of the new exercise I was starting to incorporate into my routine. In fact, I decided to start a new one – focused more on regular exercise and less on the physio-kind. But I've failed miserably to fill that one in as well.

Maybe it's that I've started to internalize what it is I need to be doing without the need for anything external. I don't need to keep track anymore. It's clear to me which exercises I still need to do daily, and those that I need to only use from time-to-time. I rarely need to take ibuprophen (or the stronger anti-inflams) anymore. And I can tell when I'm feeling run-down or over tired – my morning pulse rate probably only confirms what it is I already know.

I've settled into an exercise routine over the past six weeks. I go to tap class on Mondays, Zumba at the gym on Wednesdays and Bikram Yoga on Saturdays. I'm not doing any walking other than the 10 minutes each morning and night to and from the train station. Frankly, I'm not too keen on walking these days – now that I can finally do other things.

Three exercise sessions a week suits me just fine. When I told a friend recentlywhat I was up to these days in terms of exercise, she said: "That doesn't sound like exercise, that sounds like fun!" Exactly. And I feel better. You don't realize how much you like something (even exercise), until it's gone. It's a privilege (and if you don't believe me, read a recent post from Nourishing The Soul on another reason why exercise is a privilege – specifically running in this case).

I don't want to keep score any longer, I just want to do it. It's like when I went away to college. Throughout much of my childhood, I was a fanatical journal writer. But I ditched the habit when I moved away from home for the first time, keen not to observe, but to enjoy, to live a little more. And likewise, I'm ditching the spreadsheet.

There is quite a bit of research out there that shows that people who measure things do more of them, but there's also the theory that to get something done what you really need is excitement. One of Leo Babauta's recent posts along these lines has got me thinking about achieving, without goals, and although I'm not ready to throw away the to-do list, there may be something to not keeping track of everything.

And maybe letting the spreadsheet go is part of the journey to view myself as a 'normal' person. I still find it hard to believe that I'm going to be able to play golf and tennis next summer. And that I don't really need to take anti-inflammatories everyday anymore (you wouldn't believe the amount of drugs I carry with me at all times, just in case). It's as if I'm afraid to accept that I am well and healthy. That I just might jinx it.

But I suppose it's time to relax a little – stop keeping score and start enjoying the game.

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