The Life Treadmill Experience

I am sitting in my living room with my eyes closed. The TV is on mute, and the radio in the kitchen is playing Lana Del Ray. The light is coming in from the window, painting the world pink behind my closed eyelids. I suck my lips in, aware of the stress bites on their edges, take a deep inhale, shoulders raising as I get up.

My feet leave their imprints on the wooden floor as I make my way to the kitchen. I turn the radio off, take the kettle off the stove and pour the boiling water in the mug that is already half full with lemon, honey, and a Rose teabag. I look out of the kitchen window. It looks like a nice day; nevertheless, I am glad to be staying in.

The last few weeks caught up with me. I ignored the coughs, shrugged the painful throat off, and convinced myself that the weakness behind my knees was nothing to worry about. You see, I have this built-in mechanism that will not allow me to realise how run down I am until the task on hand is finished. I now know that when I am booking holidays, the first week will be spent in bed, clutching a box of tissues, watching re-runs of Murder She Wrote, and drinking inhumane amounts of orange juice and tea. I am one of the I’m fine’, ‘the show must go on’, ‘make it through’ kind of people.

I need to keep going.

I was once in the gym, and on the treadmill next to me was a woman, gasping for air. Her personal trainer, a musclebound man in his 30s, covered the stats board with the complimentary towel, looking intensely at the screen on the wall, a rap video with two girls grinding on a car. Occasionally, without any visible reasoning behind it, he would lift the towel, careful so that the woman would not see it, and change the speed and gradient. The woman’s gaze would follow his hand, her lips curling up to a protest, until her eyes met the trainer’s determined face. She would then swallow hard, look forward, and occasionally wipe the sweat off her face. ‘Two more miles‘, he would say to her, his eyes watching the girls and the car; ‘you are almost there‘. Exasperated, the woman replied in between heavy breaths ‘I am just where I started’, but he didn’t seem to notice.

Sometimes I feel this way; I see it as my ‘life treadmill experience‘. I am on that treadmill, walking, running, thinking that I am covering a distance while staying on the same spot. The complimentary towel is covering my dashboard, and I am not sure how much I’ve run, or where I am, or how long it has been. It feels that I can not stop running, because if I do, the belt will keep spinning, the world will keep spinning, and I will fall on my face. My treadmill is invisible, the control keys are invisible, and all I can see is the screen on the wall.

However I realised that even though there is no stop button, there might be a pause one. And I might not be directly in control of the speed or gradient buttons, but I can influence them.

Taking a breath. A real breath. The kind of breath that gives you goosebumps at the base of your neck. Opening your eyes, and seeing things more clearly. Thinking of a person that you love, and allowing yourself to feel how warm they make your heart feel; allowing yourself to get excited for that moment when you think that your favourite show is on tonight. Having a takeaway when you are feeling down, having a good cry as you see The Notebook for the 5th time, or just listening to your body when it says it had enough.

These past few days, I listened. I paused. I looked at the mirror and saw someone that was making himself sick from trying too hard; from focusing on that screen, ignoring how run down I was. And as I sat on my sofa, I realised that I can give myself a break, and press that pause button on the treadmill.

Siting in absolute silence, drinking warm tea, closed eyes, deep breaths. The world will be here tomorrow. I am on pause.




64 thoughts on “The Life Treadmill Experience

  1. Good for you for even realizing the need to press the pause button instead of allowing it to get to the point where you are forced to get off of the treadmill. This is a beautiful post- we’ve just started following your blog and I personally can’t wait to hear more from you.

    Love, B

    P.S. Love to have found another fan of Murder She Wrote re-runs.

  2. Like everyone else I ride that treadmill for weeks or months at a time, my wife though, has control of that “pause” button. Every couple weeks, or so, I wake up late because she’s checked my calendar and decided its a good day to turn off my alarm. The coffee maker is always on, on days like this and when I peek at my calendar she’s marked it as “day off”. If it weren’t for her I’d probably be well, dead or in the nut house.

  3. First post I’ve read by you, and already I’m hooked. You have a poetic soul and your inner beauty shows through. And now I’m following you on twitter. When are you publishing your book πŸ˜‰

  4. It is hard to comprehend that life does not have a finish line…it is persistent….sometimes we have to realize that we may be missing the part worth living. Great read.

    1. I absolutely agree with you. 100%. I like your line: ‘life does not have a finish line…it is persistent’. It is almost as if we think that life is a scene from a movie, and if we finish that task, it will be the final scene. But it is not. It continues.
      Thank you so much for commenting!

  5. G,
    It seems like throughout time sages and spiritual leaders have always taught that peace is in the pause. For me the hurdle tends to be stopping the thought train – regrets of the past, worries for the future, no respect for the now. Just keep breathing, love.

  6. The aches and uneasiness is a bit different, on my side of the screen, but the rest of it is so so familiar. The pause button, here too, this Sunday πŸ™‚ Your writing is articulate and there is an immediacy about it, that one can make a connect.

    Thank you too, for the visit by my blog. Much appreciated!

      1. I agree with Julia. Now I would love to site with a cup of rose tea. Mmmm…. You had me curling up mentally with a good book as soon as you wrote that.

  7. I love this post…you’ve got it ‘spot on’ πŸ˜€ Thanks for coming to visit me otherwise I wouldn’t have found you.

  8. what a testament of your heart communicating with your mind and body…
    I am enjoying reading your blog…you are a very gifted writer…
    and I wish you a healing wind to set you back on your treadmill…
    add honey (pollinated from your vicinity, and cinnamon, the real cinnamon from ceylon, malyasia, a little more expencive but the cheaper is not real, won’t heal)
    I look forward to reading more …
    Thank you for stopping by today…

  9. I am just like you. For months I have been going on nonstop, and now I’m unable to do anything. My body has pushed the emergency-button. While reading this, I just realized that I have a pause-button too, and I just want to thank you with all my heart!

  10. This is a fantastic post; and it puts a finger on exactly how I’ve felt, but couldn’t express. Thanks for sharing!

  11. You have a way of writing that makes me linger on every word. I find myself not wanting to skip a single sentence or scroll down to the next chapter…but just stay and listen to what you have to share.

    “Rest in reason and move in passion”…

    Love n’ Light

  12. Likening our every day to that treadmill is a brilliant way of putting it. And yes, we can all stand to hit the pause button. Every day. Several times a day.
    Great post.

  13. “Now, here you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.” The Red Queen in the book Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

    A lonely can at the side of the road with a straw in it; life’s been sipped out or, it’s about to. Or perhaps, just perhaps, you sip out what you want out of life despite the loneliness. πŸ™‚

  14. I quite like this .. had a similar experience recently. I’ve started writing about it but it’s not quite finished as yet πŸ™‚ Sometimes it is really good to take a pause. What’s the point of living and working so hard if you don’t stop to enjoy it sometimes? Best wishes!

  15. We must push pause every once in awhile! The rat-race treadmill will keep churning without us. Loved this post, it spoke clearly and loudly to me!

  16. This was a fantastic post (and a great blog in general, by the way), but what I really loved was the photo accompanying it. I could go into all these deep metaphorical reasons for why a picture of a Coke can with a straw in the street is awesome- but I feel like perhaps you just felt like taking a picture of a Coke can with a straw in the street because you could, which makes it even more awesome. Simple, and awesome.

  17. Hey thanks for checking out my blog The Stories of Things. I quite liked the treadmill imagery. We all need to learn when to stop and breathe. Thanks for the reminder πŸ™‚

  18. “One thing is listening to our mind, another one to listen to others and another one to listen to our body. Getting the 3 to synchronized, is the cue to listening to the soul.”

    Hello again! This is a true experience. Years ago I interviewed a famous actor turned artist. When I asked him at what point in his life he started to paint he responded: “The day I started my silence day.” Silence day? I replied. He added: “One day I decided I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I turned off my phone, locked my door and I spent the entire day in silence. I started to have the most wonderful conversations with myself. You know? Point presented, point responded. Then I figured I always wanted to give a try to painting. I never painted ever before but never had the chance to see if I could do it. Then I planned a day without talking every week. A silence day. I started to paint and I could spend the entire day just painting. After many weeks, I decided to show my work to some of my friends. They said it was good and I should share it with others. That was many moons ago. Now, I have a silent day every week and I paint. And every day I paint, it is a new start to painting. That’s when.” RIP Anthony Queen
    Needless to say, he caused a big impression on me. His work is really good and was recognized world wide. Sometimes during my own silent day I think of him and somehow I suspect: If after life exists, he must be painting every day.
    Thank you for your blog, I enjoyed having this little pause in it and I hope you get many to come.

  19. I’m so glad to discover that I’m not the only one to bite my lips. I get told off so much for doing so but I can’t help it. But in all seriousness, another great post here!

    PS. MDNA has had its track listing updated, again. I can’t keep up.


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