Welp. I'm done. I ran 3 miles this morning, which brings my total miles ran* to 40.25 for this month, barely squeaking by the goal of 40 miles I set. And if you are reading this and the post date says 11/30 then I posted once a day, every day, for November. So...now what?
Those familiar with improv will know one of the fundamental rules of a scene is "Yes, and". This basically means that your response to your scene partner(s) should always be one of agreeing and building. You never want to tear anything down or reject their suggestions, but you also don't want to just agree with whatever they say. You want to build something, bit by bit.
At the end of this month I find myself saying "I'm done! ....and?" Partially its a feeling of, ok, so what did I get out of this? What did I build? I didn't lose any significant weight this month from the running, I really didn't get any better at running (I had to push to finish my 3 miles this morning just like I had to at the beginning of the month), and I have the sort of begrudging feelings of wanting to improve at running but not really enjoying it, same as I did on November first.
As for blogging, I actually did a little better than last year. Last year I cheated a bit. I posted at least two entries that were verbatim things I had written before, sometimes I wrote stuff ahead of time and scheduled it to post later, and I think once I just barely missed midnight and backdated the post to look like I had made it. This year I wrote everyday, posted on time, with my most cheaterly entry being the Sea Tea "Locally Made Improv" commercial that I am in. But, I don't feel like a better writer, and I worry that my entries seem boring or forced.
I know I am my own harshest critic. I set two goals to try and improve myself and my life and I completed them successfully. Yet I still feel like it wasn't enough. As I talked about in more detail in my blog swap entry with Julia, sometimes I feel like I do these things just so I can use that sense of accomplishment to give me the boost to do other things. Just like going to the gym makes me want to eat healthier and be healthier overall, and just like learning something new makes me want to learn even more, finishing things successfully makes me want to go out and accomplish more things.
When I first moved to Shanghai I was shitscared, lonely, terrified that I was going to be awful at my job, and I felt more than a little lost. At my lowest point, I took a postcard of the Shanghai skyline and scribbled over the picture in Sharpie: "If I can do this, I can do anything". That postcard hung inside my wardrobe on my mirror for the two years I lived in China. I saw it everyday when I got dressed. I tried to take that idea to heart, and to let it give me confidence. It made everything else seem easier, and to some extent it still does.
I guess I do these things to myself to get some small bit of that feeling back. If I have the willpower to make myself get out of bed and go running in 30 degree weather on Thanksgiving morning, blisters, hills and all, then of course I can answer my personal emails in a timely fashion. Of course I can be more productive at work. Of course I can do Christmas cards this year. It may seem like a stretch, but those things are all connected in my mind. Accomplishments, no matter how small, breed more of the same.
So, now after that little journey into my psyche, I still have the same thought. Done....and? What will I challenge myself to do next? How will I test myself? How will I make myself better, thereby wanting to make myself better? Another physical challenge? I'm not asking rhetorically, suggestions are welcome. A weight lifting challenge? Vegetarian mondays?
I'm done.....and? What's next?
*I do want to be completely honest that I counted my entire mileage on the treadmill/track/etc, which included warmup & walk breaks. But I tried to keep the walk breaks on the short side. I think I would be safe in saying that I solidly ran 30 miles.