Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bringing Carefree Back


If you've been following me for any length of time, you probably laughed when you read the title for this post. Carefree? Really? What does this type A++blogger know about being carefree?

Well, it's Wednesday, and that means Wednesday Word with Deb Runs. This week's word prompt is carefree, and what better time than the end of the lazy, hazy days of summer to talk about being carefree? And contrary to what you might think, there is a little free spirit inside me...

Summers were pretty carefree when I was a kid. Compared to life now, as kids we weren't overscheduled and playing 14 sports at once. Actually, we didn't do much at all. I grew up in the country, and with 4 girls, my mom didn't have time to schlep us around to activities. So most of my days were unstructured, with the exception of some chores and piano lessons. I'd get up in the morning with nothing on the agenda. Maybe I'd ride my bike over to my cousins' house or to my grandma's farm where we would spend all day doing who knows what? Or I might have a friend over, and we'd spend the day swimming in the pool. Some mornings, I'd just lay in bed reading books. At night, my sisters and I would run around the backyard playing statue maker or catching fireflies. Sounds pretty nice, doesn't it? It was.

I think it would be nice...
How different life becomes when we grow up! Responsibility makes it tough to be carefree. There are work and family responsibilities. And for us runners, there's training that has to be done. I'm heading out of town in a few weeks with my sister, and I have 2 runs to do that I can't push off. My sister likes to schedule lots of sightseeing. So even vacations aren't carefree! Last year, on our sister trip, we missed the bus that was going to take us to see some plantations outside of Charleston. My sister was very upset that her plans were ruined. But me? I did an internal high 5. Downtime? Yes, please. When she asked me what we were going to do with our free time, I suggested an afternoon at the pool. And a beer. While that suggestion didn't initially go over well, it's what we did, and you know what? She said that was one of the best parts of the trip. A carefree afternoon at the pool, reading and talking.

I'll confirm it for you right now. My sister is at least as type A as me, if not more.

I like to throw a little carefree into my life as much as possible. When the boys were younger, our family vacations to Florida were very unstructured, with days at the beach or the pool. But we did schedule a few activities. We took side trips to Disney World. We saw preseason baseball games. Went to an alligator farm. Cape Canaveral.  Summers were very much the same. We took lots of road trips to Wisconsin and went boating, swimming in the lake, and waterskiing. The funny thing is, my boys never complained of being bored, even when we had lots of downtime.

February 2002, Siesta Key Beach, Florida
This summer was completely different. My oldest son got a job, and because we are a little lacking in the trust department, we stayed home for most of the summer. Sadly, there wasn't a lot of carefree in this summer. That's been a little hard on me. Because my job is so intense, my responsibilities at home at times overwhelming, I need that carefree time. Marathon training throws one more activity into the mix, and this year I've found that I'm not enjoying my training as much as I did last year. Is it because I'm putting pressure on myself to meet a time goal? Or is it because I don't have a lot of downtime to relax and process everything that's going on around me? Or is it because the one activity that gives me stress relief is actually the cause of some stress for me? Maybe it's a little of everything.

Running normally makes me feel carefree. When I'm on the road, it's just me and my running shoes. Nothing in my life matters as long as I keep moving forward. Sometimes I do a lot of thinking while I'm running. Sometimes I work out life's problems while the miles go by. But other times, I don't think about anything. The best runs, the ones that are carefree, are the runs when I am in "the zone".

I haven't had one of those carefree runs in a while. I blame the heat and humidity, but maybe because lately I haven't a lot of "carefree" anywhere in my life. Life has been hitting me hard for a while. Writing this post made me realize what's been missing for me. It's time to bring carefree back.




64 comments :

  1. I'm sorry to hear that the summer has been tough. Kind of with you there. I mean, we didn't go ANYWHERE all summer (going to my parents to clean out their house doesn't count).

    I shouldn't complain, we had awesome an vacation in the winter (much needed!) & then my halfs in May. But life has been very limited since I can't leave Chester for too long these days. But I know sometime, probably soon, he won't be here at all. So I try to cherish the good times with him.

    And we weren't able to get dogsitters for some trips we were thinking about, but at least I was finally able to nail them down for my upcoming half!

    I am in between on vacation. I like to relax & I like to do stuff. I like to think that I manage a happy medium.

    My brother is much like your sister. I think there's definitely more to life than seeing everything -- sometimes you stumble across the best stuff unplanned!

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    1. I'm hoping we have a little unstructured time when we go to Seattle!

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  2. I know that you've had an up and down and all around go of it this year.
    Something that I think is interesting (for me) is that I have become more carefree with age. Carefree is a strong word, but I have definitely learned to let things go a bit more--I was much more perfectionist and competitive when I was younger. Obviously, I've had anxiety issues this summer, but for more larger picture things than from nuances of life.

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    1. I think being a parent really adds a lot of responsibility. And the mom guilt for not being as involved as I could be with school, etc...maybe if I didn't work...sigh...

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  3. I agree that when we were younger things were more carefree. Kids were not as scheduled as a result moms weren't either. I have been trying to be a little more carefree the past few years. I love to look at my calendar and see nothing written in there!

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    1. You and me both! I'm happy to have a few trips planned for the next 6 months.

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  4. I feel like I am carefree in parts of my life but not in others! In a *way* I am a carefree teacher, as in I go with the flow of the class and where the lesson/questions take us. I don't mind not getting everything on my plan done so long as we were learning- even if the learning got a little side tracked! (Oh the joys of teaching a subject not on the standardized tests!) But then I am NOT carefree as far as discipline and procedures- I am pretty anal about the way my classroom is run!

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    1. I wonder how many teachers feel that they can be carefree, with the common core standards and all the testing!

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    2. It is so sad. And the kids get so stressed out.

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  5. I love the JT reference! You have been following a pretty tough training plan in addition to all of the other demands on your time. Post-marathon you may be due for some no-garmin runs and some "for fun" activity that's not on a rigorous schedule. PS - I love siesta key beach! We've been there many times.

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    1. Lots of memories and carefree fun on those Gulf Coast beaches!

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  6. I trained for Ironman in 2008. Hit a deer on my bike three weeks before the race an couldn't race. I haven't signed up for another Ironman race because that summer training was overwhelming. I'm not sure I want those feeling with training again. Sometimes a little downtime is the best.

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  7. Yep, we are twins...my childhood sounds just like yours. I've been trying to work on the carefree attitude myself after years of worrying. (I even worrying about not having something to do.) I hope you have a wonderful trip with your sister. Just make sure she schedules some carefree downtime! If the pressure of the time goal is stressing you out...I think it's OK to let it go. You will have an awesome finish time, regardless.

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    1. I'm considering letting that goal go...and just letting what happens, happens. I want to have fun meeting some of my blogger friends!

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  8. I've been taking an extended break from racing and I highly recommend carefree running. It's a great way to not get burnt out.

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    1. I'm looking forward to some carefree running after my marathon!

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  9. I can't stop singing JT in my head. Sorry you've had such a rough summer. I love the word carefree. I think in some aspects of life I'm totally carefree but others, not so much. I've learned to embrace life and responsibility as time goes on though. I definitely felt that pressure in my running so took a small break. Now I'm ready to get back at it and kill it!

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    1. I know I'll feel that way once I'm done with Chicago and have a little time to regroup!

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  10. It is hard to have to plan for an island of "carefree" (and pretty ironic). I totally get where you are coming from - we all pile on so many responsibilities that it's tough to let go!

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    1. I like that...an island of carefree!!! Where can I find that?

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  11. Love the JT reference. And I hope you can find your carefree. I consider myself lucky to be a type B personality because I'm carefree all the time.

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    1. That is so nice! I wish I was a little less type A. I thought I was supposed to mellow with age..

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  12. It also takes a little work for me to be carefree, I leave that to my husband! I realize that we have to enjoy some carefree time now and then to keep up sane.

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    1. I've also learned to let things go...altho to the extreme, since my backyard is nothing but weeds!

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  13. I love vacations where we don't do much. My parents live in Florida, and it's where I grew up, so when we go there it's really all about relaxing and hanging at the pool. I've already seen everything! But when we go somewhere new, I'm a lot like your sister. "We've got a schedule people! Stick to the schedule!"

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  14. I think we all need a little more carefree in our lives. I love my job, I love my blog, I love my training - but sometimes it doesn't leave much time to just do nothing - or be free to do anything! I'm hoping to be a little more carefree this weekend... after my long run of course haha

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    1. Last weekend, I was off work and was home alone. At first it was weird, but then I just settled onto the couch and did nothing. I felt a little guilty, but it sure felt good!

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  15. I am usualy a very uptight has to be done this way kind of person, change scares me. However, I have learned to let go a little, life will not end if I don't get something done, or I miss a scheduled run. I try to laugh as much as possible and enjoy the little things. Simplifying life, wants, and house is another great way to be carefree. I think people have such a desire to have the best of everything at any cost that they sacrifice living. Have a great day
    bakingrunner.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for admitting this! We type As have to push each other to let go! And yes, I laugh a lot...it's my release.

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    2. I'm so sorry you've had a more difficult summer and that you haven't been finding joy in the things where you normally find it. I hope you are able to get those carefree feelings back soon. <3

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  16. I like to be prepared for things - which does make me a little regimented here and there. I always figure that not being prepared leads to either stress or unnecessary spending, so I roll with it! Never mind that the process of being prepared can also lead to stress, LOL. It's hard to let go sometimes!

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  17. I love unstructured time and I probably do too much of it. Running can really go either way and when it starts to create more stress it's always time to review my goals.
    Now go get out there and be carefree! You deserve it!

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    1. I've got speedwork tomorrow and that's always running fast and free!

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  18. This was a good reminder. I cannot believe it's already almost fall and father time is just escaping me. I need a little more carefree in my life as well.

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    1. I think most of us need more carefree in our lives!

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  19. Sorry to hear that the past summer was a tough one and that you aren't enjoying your current training cycle. Maybe you're onto something regarding your time goal. Despite how hard it might be, maybe its time to take a step back from focusing on a time goal and try instead to focus on learning to love running again.

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    1. I'm just working on getting my head around what if I don't make my time goal? I want to feel good about just finishing strong.

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  20. Get carefree! Bring it back! I agree :) I think the reason I liked the training plan I chose is because it is based on minutes. When you start running at 46 you don't assume you are placing in the winner's circle. When I first ran 20 minutes without stopping you could not smack the smile off my face, so what, it was less than 2 miles, didn't care! I learned to love to finish and I am all about the adventure :) Now go get you some carefree girl!

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  21. It IS time to bring carefree back, and I do think the marathon training with a specific agenda and goal time and structured runs make it harder. But training will be over soon, and you can go back to carefree runs....runs where you can run at any pace and any distance you want in "the zone"... hang in there!

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  22. Running is my carefree time. I seldom take my watch with me, and if I do it's only to gauge my mile splits. I never know minute-by-minute what my actual pace is...yes, I am curious, but also am OK not knowing all the specifics.

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    1. I always run with my watch, just to keep track of my distance. But it isn't always about pace.

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  23. I'm sending lots of carefree vibes you way!! ;) I know how tough it can be to be carefree...I really miss being a kid for that reason! However that being said, kids don't get to do all the fun stuff I get to do now, so I think the responsibility is an okay trade-off ;)

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  24. Way to improvise when you guys missed the bus! Beer + Pool = Plantation tour bus in my book!

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    1. Secretly, I didn't want to go on the plantation tour anyways!

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    2. Ha, it wast lucky you missed the bus!

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  25. Yup we were on the same mindset wavelength this week...carefree is definitely not a word people would select to describe me :0 I'm not a worrier, but I'm a planner and a doer!!

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    1. Yes to all of the above! I need some carefree time!

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  26. This post made me think. You're so right. There hasn't been a lot of carefree runs for me either. Most of the time I either set myself on co-pilot and just run or I just run to get the run over with. Marathon Training is hard when you're not carefree. My last Marathon was almost 6 years ago, before I became a mom and my training felt a lot lighter than this time around. In addition, running after a specific time goal puts so much more pressure on your running. Hopefully after this Marathon we will be running more carefree again!

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  27. I had carefree summers as a kid too, until I was 12 and then we were full on working on the ranch with Dad but even that was pretty carefree. I try to make summers for the kids carefree and not sign up for all the activities, just lots of playtime with cousins. Seems like the bigger the kids get the busier we are, always doing something!

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    1. I look at your pictures and it reminds me of my childhood, playing outside all day! Too much hustle and bustle around here.

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  28. I think you will surprise yourself and do great in your marathon and then what a weight will be lifted and carefree will be back! I hope you and your sister have a wonderful time in Seattle, I can't wait to read about it! Safe travels and lots of fun!!!

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  29. Keep your head up! That carefree is in there!!

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  30. Our vacations were always very similar to yours when our sons were young. We'd rent jet skis or go crabbing, but mostly we'd just have downtime on the beach and our sons loved it. We borrowed a friends' Disney book when we took our sons to Disney, and she still had their itinerary from their family trip in it. They had every day scheduled down to the minute, all day long. That would be no vacation for me!

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I could never do a trip all planned out like that! That's so not me....

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