I am a bona-fide control freak. Yep, you wouldn’t know it to look at me but it’s true. Underneath my super-mellow, grounded persona lays a gal who needs order and control.
Traveling challenges everyone’s sense of control. Think about how completely freaked out people get when their plane is late or canceled. Traffic leads to road rage largely because we feel so out of control of the situation.
As much as I love traveling, this last week has tested my limits and I am not sure that I have passed. Usually I can keep my control issue tendencies in a manageable state but traveling in China, which is relatively easy but no one speaks English and whole grains are unheard of, AND being sick=too much. Add to that our last week of our trip, when I really want to be soaking up every minute of being a backpacker, and I am a sobbing mess.
I have been sick for over a week which makes me feel completely out of control of my body. I try to be excellent to it, feed it fresh fruit and vegetables, rest. But then something happens, like last night when we couldn’t find a vegetable beyond a cucumber that wasn’t covered in bacon grease. And no one speaks a word of English. And my stomach hurts so bad I am doubled over, yet still hungry. So out of control.
Tate is amused/annoyed by my obsession with supermarkets, especially while traveling. I can’t pass a supermarket without strolling the aisles, reading (or attempting to read) labels, and usually leaving with nothing. My reasoning is that I never know when I am going to stumble on REAL oatmeal, or yogurt without sugar, or fruit on sale. Not that I necessarily want these items right then but I like to have a food bag stocked with healthy options. Otherwise I end up eating a bowl of white rice for dinner, feeling unsatisfied, unhealthy, and OUT OF CONTROL.
And so I breathe. And do a little yoga. And remind myself to be kind to my body and my stress. But it’s really frustrating, nonetheless.
Yesterday I thought I was feeling a bit better. I had a great yoga session followed by Pilates and then Tate and I headed out to explore Beijing. We walked from our hotel to Tiananmen Square and around the neighborhoods there. I felt good for two hours or so and then I CRASHED HARD. Everything started aching really intensely and I barely made it to the subway and up to bed. So what to do today? How do I know when I am on the edge of overdoing it? It happens really fast. I go from energetic and o.k. to feeling like I have to lay down NOW!
How do I manage gracefulfitness under these conditions? Eat as well as possible, drink loads of water, skip coffee, exercise but not much. It is an incredible practice in tuning into my body and learning to listen, rather than bull-headedly pushing on with what my mind wants (to run! to bike! to walk around the city!). And in relinquishing a bit of control.
(Sorry, I am having a lot of trouble with the computers and my card reader so no pictures!)