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Have you stopped to consider how quickly we become creatures of habit really fast?
For many people, the hardest thing about this whole stay at home situation – yeah, still calling it that – other than unemployment issues was that interested their life habits. It was such a shock to the system to have everything suddenly just gone. No outside commitments, no travel plans, no weekly life pattern habits outside the home. Nothing. Our culture revolves around those things, your kids sports, your work trips.
For my family, it’s our weekly local pub run called the Happy Run, our Cub Scout nights, and our outdoor group adventures with my husband’s nonprofit Remedy Alpine, or my race calendar. These things make up the hum of life. And suddenly, just like that, they were gone. And there was a void. And wow, did it feel big, getting used to a new normal.
A sudden change in life can feel so drastic and so hard. There’s a few weeks of novelty, there’s probably a few days of anger, and then just like that, you wake up and it feels normal. You’ve developed new habits, and now they are just what you do. You still miss the old stuff, but you fall into a new pattern.
This is how it was with my life outside the last few weeks. There was a period of novelty, and then there was experimentation with a new way of doing things, and then there were new habits. Just like that. Habits, by the way, bring comfort. And when the world feels unsettled, habits can feel like a big cozy blanket. For me and many Americans, my outdoor habits suddenly were even closer to home than normal. I suddenly found myself running to and from my door more than ever, or simply logging workout time in my driveway. The chickadees are out in force and the weather’s getting better. The outdoor experience itself is good, calming and good, but it’s definitely not diverse.
When I realized that was happening this week, I decided to make a little bit of an effort. It had been a while since we’ve headed into the woods behind our house. It is a true adventure as the seasons change. What we found was an absolute mess with giant ponds of ice melt everywhere. I mean, bigger than I’ve ever seen. So gross.
Then instead of taking that same walk on a different day, the kids and I drove a few miles into town to try another trail. Also gross and slush, by the way, also requiring our boots, but with an incredible view.
And finally, as the ultimate shake of my normal pattern, I tried a new running challenge. Instead of just heading out for a long run, I signed up for a 24 hour challenge. 30 miles was split over every four hours. I ran a different route each time, although a few times some of the routes shared portions. I ran at times that I don’t usually head out – at least this time of year, like 9pm, which I would never go for a run at 9pm at any time of year, or 4am, which I might do when it’s light outside. It was a great way to test myself in a way I hadn’t before. And I’m proud to say that I had a great time and I’m glad I did it. Although I think I prefer to run all the miles at once rather than split them.
As these trails continue to be disgusting for a few weeks, by the way, many Alaskans like us rely on warm and high quality rain boots to keep the gross at bay. The Xtratuf brand is a quintessential Alaska thing, but we prefer Bogs and they are Outdoor Hero of this week. They are warm, long lasting, and keep us up with all of our adventures. You’ll catch me wearing them to the grocery store, on the trail, and between the home and gym – anywhere the parking areas are too gross for regular footwear. You’ve got to be practical here in Alaska, and Bogs do the trick. Thanks for guaranteeing great adventures, Bogs.
If you want to join us outside virtually, of course, you can find us on Instagram @humansoutside and you can show us your own outdoor adventures, whether they’re in your driveway or yard or beyond, by tagging #humansoutside365. ITo win a decal, you can subscribe to our newsletter for a free chance to win.
Until next time, we’ll see you out there.