Archive | 3:11 pm

Lesson: Sometimes multitasking makes you look crazy.

7 Sep

Having seen a number of photos of myself lately in which I look like Trudi from Facts of Life, I’ve decided it’s time to get back in some semblance of shape.

Oh, I’m generally pretty active (I walk between 20-25 miles and hit yoga 3-4 times per week), but I eat like crap. There’s just too much food that I enjoy, so rather than diet, my solution has always been to compensate with activity.

Except recently, I haven’t. I’ve been on the road for work (with more of the same in the near future), and I’ve been content skipping the hotel gyms and leaving my sneakers at home. Hence why you might call me Trudi.

So yesterday I went to the lap pool for the first time since the beginning of summer. In addition to burning calories, I find swimming therapeutic. It’s a good way to clear my brain when I’m feeling like I’ve lost the battle for work/life balance.

The problem with being an awesome multitasker, however, is that even as I swam my therapeutic laps, I was planning my to-do list and mentally preparing for conference calls. Not exactly “clearing my brain.”

Recognizing that my default setting is ACTIVE, I decided to channel my multitasking urge toward meditation, since I’ve been meaning to try that anyway. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m not good at sitting still and meditating. But there are moving meditations where you meditate on a specific mantra while you’re doing something. That struck me as more my speed.

So as I swam freestyle down the length of the pool, I thought, “I’m balanced. I’m balanced. I’m balanced.” And on my return length of breaststroke, I thought, “I’m grateful. I’m grateful. I’m grateful.” (There is no correlation between the stroke and the mantra, for the record.)

The first challenge with this plan was finding a way to continue counting my laps. I usually do a mile, which is 70 laps. I keep track by repeating the number of the lap I’m on the entire time I’m swimming it.

So this turned my thought pattern into, “Four. Four. I’m balanced. Four. I’m balanced. Four. Four. I’m balanced…”

And then I decided that swimming laps and chanting “I’m balanced!” with numbers spliced into the mix sounded less like meditation and more like a crazy person trying to convince herself that she’s sane.

Which is probably somewhat accurate, since I’m pretty sure the point of meditation is to have a sole focus, NOT accomplish it while doing something else. Which probably means I’m not cut out for meditation. Which then led me to think about what a crazy swimmer would actually look like. And I decided it would look like THIS.

Which is exactly how I plan to swim all my laps in the future. Multi-tasking at its finest.

[LATER: Alan just pointed out that the fat character in Facts of Life was actually Natalie. And that there isn’t even a character named Trudi. It was Tootie. Because she had gas? Apparently the real moral of this post is this: Kids who are only allowed 30 minutes of television — PBS at that — each day, grow up lacking cultural reference points. No wonder I can’t focus. Television didn’t numb my brain. THANK YOU, Mom and Dad. Even if I don’t know Tootie from Natalie from Fruit Loops. Whatever.]