To some, it may seem silly that I picked a challenge like this: go outside for 30 minutes every day. But honestly, I’m amazed at how easily I’ve become somewhat of a shut-in. I go to work; I come home, and I may never leave the house again until the next morning when I go to work again. On the weekend I run errands and come home and do the same thing. I think somewhere along the line I just got tired of doing everything alone and stopped going out into the world. My hope is that this challenge will help revive that nature spirit in me. I’m not even going to address how sad it is that I need a challenge to do that. That’s for my therapist’s couch.
Day 1– I’m sitting in my backyard wondering why I don’t do this every day. Listening to the birds talk to each other. Watching the squirrels run around and use my house like a jungle gym. Feel the cool breeze and take in the fresh air. Makes me want to go camping. I really do love being outside.
Day 2– it was raining when I got home from work, so I had dinner and put water on for tea. The rain had stopped but it looked cold, so I wasn’t over-enthusiastic about going outside but out I went only to realize that it was absolutely beautiful out. Perfect temp, the smell of fresh rain, and a cup of tea. It doesn’t get much better, and it made me wonder how many times I’ve stood at the window miscalculating the weather and not even stepping out to find out if I’m right. And then how many times that kept me in or that I used it as my excuse to stay in. And the next thing I knew my eyes were welling up in pure bliss, feeling such peace. How does a person who loves to be outside forget that they love it? I’m not outdoorsy by any means, but I have always loved to be outside. What has happened to me? A wave of sadness crashes over me as I take in the state of things right now. I recognize a need for more balance in my life. Hopefully this is a solid start in that direction.
Day 5– it didn’t happen. I had a 12-hour day at work and got home with just enough energy to put my stuff away and go to bed. And honestly- I’m bummed, but I’m also ok with it. I recognize the need for grace here. Forcing myself to go sit outside when I can barely keep my eyes open won’t serve me. There was no opportunity to do this today, so it is what it is.
Day 6– I’m back on track and proud that I didn’t revert to old habits of “all or nothing” thinking that would have had me just quit the challenge since I missed a day, completely disregarding the benefits I’m feeling from it and the bigger picture. It’s amazing what 30 minutes can do for the soul. Hopefully there won’t be any more hiccups.
Day 15– I’m halfway there and find myself looking forward to these 30 minutes and seeing where else I can fit in time outside to just breathe and listen. Sometimes listening sucks when all of my neighbors are out doing whatever it is they’re doing, but it still beats being inside most of the time. Feeling the sun on my face and hearing the leaves rustling while the birds and squirrels talk to each other. I just get to be a part of it. Like I belong there. It’s a beautiful thing.
Day 23– so many times recently I’ve been so tired and just didn’t want to go outside. I’ve been sick for the last two weeks, and all I want to do is curl up in blankets and wallow in self-pity. However, I continue to push myself outdoors and not once have I regretted that decision. I sit among falling leaves in the sunlight and bask at the incredible gifts we have around us at every moment. Each breath of fresh air feels healing in so many more ways than physically. My soul had been aching to be touched by something and I’m reminded daily that nature is that for me. Why do I still fight it?
Day 24– I am sick and it’s really cold and windy. I’m not sitting outside today. I’m actually feeling really grateful that there are other days I missed so that I wouldn’t feel so much pressure to go out there when it might not be what’s best for me.
Day 25– another 13-hour workday. Just going to bed.
Day 26– the beauty of where I live is that it could be snowing in the morning (as was the case this morning) and then be 50 degrees when I get home (as it is right now). I was worried I’d be hanging out in the snow today. Not gonna lie, I’m not quite ready for that. Happy to be breathing in the crisp air but not totally freezing quite yet. I hope it holds out for just a few more days.
Day 27 and 28– the universe heard me and gave me absolutely gorgeous days to sit outside for a good chunk of my day and enjoy the sun on my face. Feels so good.
Day 30– I made it! Just finished the last day of my challenge. As I neared the end of the challenge, the days were getting colder, and it was harder to get myself to go. I just didn’t feel like bundling up or shivering some days. It’s ending just in time, I think, before it becomes way too uncomfortable. I was fortunate that the last few days were gorgeous. Made it a lot easier for sure. I will definitely get out more as a result of this challenge, but it’ll be nice to have the choice on days that are not so awesome.
I completed 26 days out of 30 and would definitely call that a success. It’s an odd thing watching yourself grow and change. I allow space for grace in so many more ways than I once did, and I am appreciating that. I can see the bigger picture, that I’m feeding my soul and working to bring more balance into my life. That’s so much more important than being worried about getting it perfect and losing out on the beauty of the experience. This time outside has given me a lot of opportunities to reflect, and I can feel that my life is changing. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but it’s an exciting thing. I look forward to seeing where my remaining challenges take me. 3 down, 7 to go.