This morning I went for an easy hike at Bear Creek Park before I headed to the office. I was doing this once a week with a friend for months, but it’s been about 6 weeks now since we’ve been able to get out there. Between holidays, bad weather, and the total chaos of two weeks doing remote learning with my kindergartener, it’s been impossible to get on the trail before the workday begins.
A lifetime ago (well, 14 years ago), when I worked from home as a corporate employee and didn’t have any children yet, I loved to work out during my lunch hour. I’d just get dressed in my workout clothes in the morning and stay in them until after I’d gone to the gym at lunch. The routine worked great for me, and I got into the best shape of my life.
But life changed. My career changed course. I had kids. I moved. Then came video conferences — I’m on video calls all the stinking time, which means I have to get dressed in the morning, at least from the waist up. (This is not a COVID thing. This has been how I meet with clients for years.) Somehow, even though life changed, my thinking around working out did not. I still thought lunchtime was the best time of day for me to move my body — and when that became increasingly hard, I stopped exercising regularly.
It took me years to figure out that I’m self-employed now. No one dictates my schedule but me.
When we moved back to Colorado Springs four years ago, I dipped my toe into a new workout routine by going to a yoga class up the street at 9:30 in the morning once a week.
No one freaked out. My clients didn’t abandon me. My work still got done.
So I started going twice a week.
Still, no one was screaming at me about it.
Pretty soon, I added a morning walk up the mountain (I live halfway up Cheyenne Mountain, so walking in my neighborhood is either going “up the mountain” or “down the mountain”) to my schedule once a week.
All was well.
And yet, when a new friend asked me last fall if I wanted to join her for a hike once a week after we drop our kids off at school, I had a moment of hesitation. I’d be late to the office. GASP!
Obviously, I got over that. And I’m so glad I did, because these once-a-week hikes are glorious.
What’s endlessly fascinating to me, though, is how programmed I still am to be a “good employee.” I have been 100% self-employed since 2014, and I still feel weird about doing anything besides work between the hours of 8a-5p Mon-Fri.
I’ve been thinking a lot about our programming lately, though. Especially as the mother of daughters, I am keenly aware of how I’ve been programmed by the world, the culture, family, other women, the industry I work in, you name it … and how I don’t want to pass this conditioning down to my girls. I want them to remain blank slates as long as possible. I know they’re going to get programmed by well-meaning teachers, other kids, even other adults, but I hope that I can serve as an example that we can deprogram ourselves, too.