Knowing My Limits

November 5, just around the corner, is the anniversary of the first time I ever went dancing. Which is also the anniversary of my discovering that Jasmine-Arabella is not the shy quiet introvert I always seemed to be, but a very open, energetic extrovert.

That was two years ago. Since then I have spent about 840 hours at various dance venues, mostly queer dance clubs & Ecstatic Dance. Of those 840 hours about 600 of them were actively dancing.

I nearly always dance until the DJ stops, which at most Utah dance clubs is around 2am. On a number of occasions I have gotten up the next day, at my regular time (7am) to engage in an all day activity or a day full of activities.

Beyond dance I am very fitness focused. That is mostly running and weights. I have run up to 15k(9.3 miles) and try and to at least 5k(3.1 miles) every time I run. My resistance workouts commonly last about 90 minutes and over half the exercises I do have a total weight beyond what my body weights. At one point I was working out 5-6 times a week. I have cut back to about 3 times a week.

Of course there are other things that get me moving. I love hiking and backpacking, never seem to get enough of either. I have dabbled in a few other activities. In the past few years I have participated in a number of marches and rallies for causes I care about. And I have joined and actively participated in a number of meet-up groups.

Then there is my obsession, climbing. I usually climb twice a week for a few hours. I prefer outside but that isn’t always feasible. Obviously when our magnificent mountains get covered in snow, climbing, at least for me, is a no-go there. But the climbing gym is a wonderful alternative that also promotes a lot of socializing.

With all of this I am constantly struggling to balance it all. Oh, yes, in addition to all of this I have the usual work, family commitments, and chores to do. For the longest time I was frustrated with this struggle. I felt there should be a point at which I figure it all out and everything is consistent. But then I realized that life, certainly my life, is not a single song on a loop.

Life is, or at least in my opinion should be, very dynamic. We should be constantly learning and growing. And that is only really significant if we apply what we have learned. But if we apply what we have learned that means our life is changing. If we are constantly growing we are constantly changing. And if we are constantly changing things like balancing all of the different parts of our life is going to be a never ending on going task, like life itself.

But a big key to successfully balancing things is knowing your limits. Over the past couple years I have, sometimes intentionally and sometimes just by the course of things, done a lot of experimenting on my limits.

I know I can go out dancing three days in a row. I can stay till close each know and not get that much sleep. I also know when I do that I am totally excused by the end of that third day. At that point my whole body feels it. I can barely move and spend the next two or three days mostly sleeping. So I know that is really too much.

I know I can do a 12 hour 10 miles, 2,400 ft. (elevation gain) day hike with a 30 pound pack. And I know I will be exhausted at the end, with very sore legs. So I have learned to make such trips into backpacking trips, or just keep them shorter.

BTY if you think that is impressive, I have a friend who is doing a 14 hour 15 mile 5,000 ft day hike to day, so go her. There is always someone who can out do you. Which is way, to me, it is never about competing but doing what works for you.

In these and other experiences I have learned what is the most I can do within any of my activities. And along the way I have learned my limitations with combining activities. Which for the most part is two per day. I can climb and dance in a single day and be perfectly fine the next morning. I can do a long resistance session and go on a long hike later that day without any problem.

But if I try to do three of my activities at my limits in one day, or back to back hight activity days, I am usually quite exhausted the next day. Such is today, but I was expecting it.

— Ran over 11k, (7 miles) in the morning
— Did work/chores
— Went climbing in the gym for about 3 hours
— Went dancing till 1:15am
— Chatted with my sister on the phone till 4am

— Did work/chores
— Went climbing outside for about 2 hours
— Went dancing till 2am

— Slept till 9am, (wow I got a full 6 hours of sleep)
— Make breakfast
— Wrote a blog post
— Slowly get some chores done & recover

When I set up my schedule earlier this week I knew my limits and I knew I was going to be moving slow today. You are not likely going to see me bouncing around much today. I will mostly be at home getting chores done and preparing for next week. No big fun activities for today.

I don’t do this very often. I think regularly pushing myself to this extent would have negative health effects after a while. But when I do decided to do back to back days of high activity I know what to expect so I can plan for it. I had planned on this being a mellow recover & a chores day.

But those are my limits as I know them today. In all of this I have learned life is a journey, but sometimes that journey is on a tight rope as we try to balance all of the things in our lives. And that tight tope is over a vast canyon, with wind ebbing and flowing and the sun coming in and out, and life’s continual changes.