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.] 

8 Responses to “Lesson: Sometimes multitasking makes you look crazy.”

  1. Colline September 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    A true multi-tasker at work! But don’t we all do it? While exercising I know I often think on issues bothering me and try to sort them out.

  2. Danielle September 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    I am a single mother of 2 little boys and have become multi-tasker extraordinaire. I can cook dinner, keep a toddler out of the garbage cupboard (with my knee) hold a glass of wine in one hand while flipping, stirring or oven door checking and entertain my oldest (4) with hysterical Justin Bieber type lyrics. This is momming at it’s best, I dare you to try it 🙂

  3. Kim Pugliano September 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I could only watch half a lap before I got car sick.

  4. Lorna's Voice September 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I can’t even watch a TV show I don’t like and type at the same time, so I applaud your counting/mantra swimming accomplishment.

    As for the Tootie/Trudie/Natalie mix-up, I knew who you were talking about and my mom let me watch a limited amount of the drivel. So there–either we’re both geniuses who can only keep relevent facts in our brains or we’re both old-pop-culture morons. I’m going with Door #1.

  5. Alicia September 10, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    a) I don’t know if it was because I’d just finished watching the Jim Vance link (again!) but your opening paragraph cracked me up. You as Natalie. I actually didn’t even notice it wasn’t the right character until your postscript.

    b) THEN I thought Trudi was the African American girl. So I laughed again at your opening graph trying to figure out how being out of shape would lead your skin tone to get darker (tho all that time by Alan’s pool might actually give this some legitimacy).

    Anyway, thanks for the laughs.

    c) I have seen you in person and you look nothing like Natalie or Tootie. You still look most like Sarah Michelle Geller (sp?) to me.

    • pithypants September 13, 2011 at 10:41 am #

      You just won a sweetness prize.

  6. Alicia September 13, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    [She does, blog readers. Dead Ringer. Sweetness prize or not]

  7. Tanitha Smith October 27, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    I have just realised that the stroke I made up when I was six and named ‘Twirly’ wasn’t actually invented by me. My dreams are shattered.

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