When the power went out, my ambition went with it

My cat Eddie checks out the progress of the storm on Saturday morning

My cat Eddie checks out the progress of the storm on Saturday morning

Apparently I need a lot of distractions. Or, better, maybe the option of having distractions. The weekend storm and power outage (my power was out at home and work for about 26 hours) made me so antsy I couldn’t stand still and I found myself doing everything except what I should have been doing: taking advantage of the downtime.

Can you relate?

This antsy feeling shocked me, as I used to be able to hunker down with a book for an entire weekend.

Like many fitness pros, I’m big on goal setting. When new months start I usually have a list of things I want to accomplish. And since my life feels more streamlined lately, I am energized to tackle some bigger things. So when the new month rolled around on Saturday, I was on fire. For real: I have a two-page outline of things I want to either wrap up or begin by year’s end. It’s pretty detailed. I’m kind of proud of it.

And then the storm hit. The snow was pretty for a while, until the power went out. And then …. nothing. It was so quiet it sucked the life out of all that productive energy I’d been feeling, leaving behind a need for distraction. Before it got too dark to see, I actually sat in the middle of my floor and went through a pile of documents that I had been meaning to shred and I ripped them up by hand into tiny little pieces. Just because I couldn’t bear to simply sit. (Although frankly, I’m glad the job is now done.)

I could have written in a notebook, as several of my goals involve writing. I could have mapped out a new “cardio cleanse” workout program I want to test. My Kindle was fully powered and I could have read a book. I need to study for a certification I’m pursuing. Did I do any of that? No. Instead, I ripped up papers and played Candy Crush (ugh) and solitaire on my tablet.

Once the brunt of the storm ended, I drove to Tim Horton’s. I went to Lowe’s — twice. I ate breakfast at Geaghans Sunday and Monday. I made a trip to the grocery store. I went to a friend’s house to shower. I didn’t stop, until the power came back on. And then I was ready to chill again. (Instead, I worked out, to work off the Timmy Ho-hos and Geaghan’s oatmeal toast.)

I’m back to tackling my list, although now I’m making sure to have fewer background distractions while I do so. Coming out of this, I realize how out of rhythm we are from how we lived even two decades ago, not to mention how we lived two generations ago. This is not a new revelation, and I’m sure had the power outage lasted longer — although thank God it didn’t — I would have settled down (and so would have you).

But this need for quiet, for focus, is still a good thing to remember. Right now as I’m writing this, there’s no music or TV in the background, just the hum of the gas stove. It’s kind of nice, although I’m having to force myself not to switch windows, check my calendar or pick up my phone.

I’m thinking that maybe maybe more of “less” on a regular basis is a good thing, while still pushing forward on the goals. Or maybe especially when pushing forward on goals. That sounds like a good goal in itself — gotta add that to the list.

Wendy Watkins

About Wendy Watkins

Wendy Watkins is a Bangor-based personal trainer, fitness coach, studio owner, and writer/editor. She is the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Months. Visit her website at thrivebangor.com.