When I have nothing to ramble about

As September draws to a close, I suddenly realized that I had not posted anything on my blog. I can make an excuse and say I have been busy ( which I have) for not being able to post anything this month.  So, here I am trying to scramble in one post before September ends. Sitting down on my desk I ransack my head for stuffs I want to write about, I come across none. I should rather say I come across too many things, but I want to write about none.

However, I have to and so I decided to ramble on about having nothing to ramble on about or should I say ramble on about having a lot to ramble about but not wanting to ramble about them. This post might be confusing, ambiguous, unstructured and jumbled up but yet it serves a purpose- a great purpose in fact (now that I think of it). It keeps my blog updated and keeps me in track for that one post a month target I have set since last November. My older post in the past served this purpose too but this post does it better – as it does just that one specific task.

There might not be a lot to take away from this post ( I doubt if there was anything to take from my other posts) for the readers, but again for me – worth its weight in gold. Maybe I am over-exaggerating a bit here but hey, I am just rambling on. “Ramble, Ramble, Ramble, Ramble On and On.”

 

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How I quit smoking?

quit-smoking-illustration-man-speech-bubble-telling-angry-cigarette-character-cartoon-41247975.jpgOn July of 2015 I decided I was going to quit smoking. After more than a decade into smoking I was finally ready to call it the quits. However, this by no means was my first attempt. There had been numerous failed attempts in the past. This time, I felt more ready than ever, and was more determined to do it. Now, more than a year later I can safely say I am no longer a smoker, and that smoking and cigarettes don’t entice me either.

As a former smoker myself, I am aware that many smokers want to call it the quits. However, I also know from my past experience that it is a tough ask, and I also know from experience that it is not impossible.

I want to share my experience so as to encourage myself never to smoke again, and also hope that my experience can be helpful to anyone who is looking to quit smoking.

So how did I really quit smoking –

  1.       Deciding to quit

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First and foremost, I just decided that I had had enough of it. I wanted to smoke no more. I wanted to be able to run and play without running out of breath 30 seconds into starting those activities. I wanted to get rid of that constant smoker’s cough (many smokers will be denial regarding the smoker’s cough, but get real).

Like many smokers out there I too have had experiences of deciding to quit many times prior to this. I, however, wanted to really do it this time around.

  1.       Research and a perspective change

After deciding to quit, I jumped into researching all the benefits of not smoking. The findings were very uplifting and I wanted to experience the benefits of not smoking.

060412_1252_ChangeYourP2.jpgUpon my research I also stumbled upon a perspective. This perspective suggested that instead of seeing my past failed attempts of trying to quit smoking as failure, I should rather see them as gained experience. This new found perspective encouraged me, and I felt confident enough that I would be able to quit this time.

  1.       Getting hold of the mind

“Mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master” says Robin Sharma, and this quote holds true when you are trying to quit smoking. Smoking, like any other habit, is hardwired to your system because you have done it for so long and quitting will test you physically and mentally. Research shows that it takes around three days for your body to throw out the nicotine present in your system. After which you are no longer physically attracted to nicotine present in the cigarette, and then starts the nicotine withdrawal effect. This withdrawal effect is made worse by the ongoing mental challenge. The mind is a tricky little bugger and it’ll say things to you to get you back to smoking (it did for me). “Just one cigarette,” it’ll say; other times it’ll be like, “you’ve gone clean for a week. That’s something – just one cigarette now. It’ll do you no harm.”  The key is to stay strong-willed and to not let the mind overpower you. Slowly, the voices will die down. The physical as well as the mental addiction will eventually subside.

This is not by any means an action that happens overnight, and as with any other practice, quitting smoking also takes time. But if you stick to your guns, the urge to smoke will eventually disappear.

  1.       Putting them running shoes on (being a freak)

As I quit smoking, I wanted to give myself more reasons ( as if I did not already have many)  to not take up smoking ever again. So, I put my running shoes, on and started to run every day. With no deliberate smoke ingestion, I was able to run without getting the wind knocked out of me in thirty seconds.  Running brought a breath of fresh air into my life (literally). I began enjoying pushing my body to run 3 miles at first, eventually followed by 5 miles, and even 10 miles

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Finally,

  1.     Started reading

Also, as a smoker, I know one of the times when people smoke a lot is whilst waiting for someone/something. I used to do it too, but then I found a better thing to do- i started reading instead. I started carrying a book with me everywhere I went, sometimes even in my mobile device. So, in order to curb that urge of smoking, I dove into the books. Eventually, the urge always died down minutes later.

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When I started running…

The many health benefits of running are known to both runners and non-runners. However, there are certain experiences that can be only noticed only when one starts to run. I have been running every morning for about six months now (barring the time when I have been injured), and it has benefited me in numerous ways. In addition to the obvious health benefits, running has introduced me to new perspectives. These are the perspectives I want to share –

  1. The world don’t matter

When I first started to run, I was very self-conscious about it. I would get the sense that people who were watching would judge me if i didn’t run in a certain acceptable way. But soon I began to enjoy running, and I loved doing my weekly 5 miles. On other days, a 3 mile run would suffice my appetite for running.  The more I ran, the more I loved it, and soon I was not self-conscious about whether people were looking or not. Nor did I feel obliged to run in certain style. I would sometimes take huge strides while running;other times, I would run just on my toes. Most importantly, I did not feel the need to run in the conventional style as long as I was running sincerely and honestly and doing my allocated miles for the day. At the end of the 5 mile run, I punched the air and then punched my chest (Djokovic style) in delight. It did not matter who was looking – I was having fun the right way, and that was what mattered.

This perspective was an eye opener and it brought about this mindful awareness. The important thing was to be sincere, have fun, and the rest didn’t matter. It also occurred to me then that:

  1.  People don’t have the time to sit there and watch what you’re doing. Everyone’s is just as busy in their own lives.
  2.  If people do make comments, feel privileged that they have time to look at you in their busy lives. You don’t need to oblige, or listen to every comment.

 

2. Every run is different from the previous

When I first started running back in November 2015, I could barely run 3 miles. I would be out of breath, and catching my breath would take time. The more I ran, the better my stamina became, and I was able to run 3 miles with ease. I soon started doing five miles every weekend, and again, to begin running five miles was tough. I was able to complete my first five mile on the first try, and since then have completed many more five miles. There was one stark discovery though – Every day, when I set off to run the five miles, I would have doubts.  I eventually have always finished the five miles I have started, but during every start, my mind has had doubts. I have come to know that every day is going to be different, and just because I have done the five miles previously, I can’t take it for granted. I have to motivate, re-motivate, and re-re-motivate myself during the runs. A small variable change – the wind, the temperature, the sleep I had, the shoe, the feel in the legs could very well change the entire pattern of the run. Every run, thus, becomes different from the previous.

The idea is to stay vigilant, to keep myself motivated, and just like the run, everything that you start is achievable.

  1. Life is a marathon, not a sprint

I know this is a cliché, “Life is marathon, not a sprint,” but it does hold true. When I first started running, my objective was to run a full marathon. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do that. I might have at least participated in at least one, but well, that number never ran. But as I do my five miles and sometimes close to six miles, it dawns to me how tough a full marathon would be.  The distance of an official full marathon is 26 miles which is at least four times more than I normally run. It takes me roughly around 50 to 55 minutes to do five miles, and if I ran at the same average pace, it would take me nearly 3.5 hours to complete a full marathon. This is if I can maintain the average pace, and we know the body tires, so taking that into account, it would take me around 4 hours or more of running to do a full marathon.  That just puts everything in perspective – running a marathon does not happen overnight. When I first started out saying I am going to run the marathon, I had no idea what I was talking about. But now that I run, and have experienced the effort that goes into running, I can understand the effort it takes to run a marathon.

A humongous task like running a marathon cannot be achieved overnight; it takes time. It takes training, eating right, and mental strength to achieve the distance. I have not run a marathon, but even with all the training that goes into it, when it comes to the real deal, many falter. Running a marathon in many ways does sound like what life is. You can be prepared for it, but yet, life brings about subtle variable change to always challenge you.

At the end of the day,this is the beauty of both life and a marathon – to be able to overcome and complete challenges one after another.

 

Have i been running?

Most definitely – have i been writing? Not much as i would liked to have. But here i am after what seems like forever scribbling my mind.

I have been running in the mean time though i have not been updating it any more on the blogs. Running had been hindered by injuries to my leg and i have been taking it slow since then. I have not been running significant miles but i have been moving and that’s what is important. Hopefully i will be able to rack up more miles going forward but right now i am not really complaining. As cliched as it is – Something is better than nothing.

On the other hand i know for a fact that i have not been scribbling as much as i want to. And i would surely want to make up for that and once be more regular in updating the blog.

 

 

 

Offline

It had really been coming- the smartphone (if you can call it that) had been asking for it. It had been constantly distracting me and keeping me uselessly occupied for hours.Those sudden beeping noise that alerted me to various social network,email and text notifications were distracting me from the task in hand. I am not having a go  at the notification that i received or the sender- it is just i was getting sucked into the distraction and the smartphone wasn’t helping my cause. And i had to put a end to all of this and try and find a way around concentrating on the stuffs that i really wanted to do.

The smartphone I’ll have to be honest is an wonderful aide to me and it does make things so much simpler at work and in personal life. But occasionally the overuse kinda complicates matters for worse and i think that’s exactly what’s happened to me in this case. So, when i saw this post on Instagram that encouraged shoving the phone inside the drawer for the weekend (Just the Saturday) – i said why not? And i did just that.

At around 9pm on a  Friday night – i took my phone and placed it inside my closet. As so often is the case when trying quit doing something habitual – i did have urge the urge to go back check my notification. But i stayed firm and did not fall for this on Friday. But i knew the real test would come the next day as i would have to endure an entire day without looking at my device and not checking my email or social networking sites. I also had had list planned out for the day – stuffs i wanted to get done without getting distracted.

Twenty four hours after i had put my phone inside my closet i took it out – it was Saturday ,  9 PM. I had actually gone an entire day without looking at the phone – plus i had gotten a lot of things done. I had almost finished the book i started on Friday night -” The last lecture” and i had worked on a couple of things more. ( Details of which i will write about if i continue to do them).

Here i am on a Sunday afternoon just writing about my experience – to be honest i did not have that strong a urge to check my notification. And i have my phone on me right now and it helps me  with a lot of tasks but on Friday and the Saturdays it is going back in my closet.