Windy Days

I’m going thru some windy days both figuratively and literally.

My windy days do not compare to someone else losing their house or going thru loss in their family, Still, it’s my life and my life is windy. And I’m having some difficulty navigating the winds.

This topic came up in my last therapy session. I was talking about all of the windy days that I’m golfing thru and cycling thru. The wind has been gusting this spring from 30-50 km/hr. It’s been super windy. And I’m getting a little tired of it.

Disclaimer:
I realize that I’m very lucky and blessed. There are a lot of folks that have been impacted by wild fires in Alberta. I’m really sorry for anyone that has been displaced or worse due to these fires. You are experiencing the wrath of wind and fire at the same time. It’s a concerning time for all of us in Alberta. We probably all know someone impacted by the fires. My heart and prayers go out to the province. I’m not comparing myself to anyone that is experiencing life threatening events. I’m just sharing where I am at right now.

Literal wind

When you are golfing in 30-50 km/hr winds, the wind tires you out. It affects your balance, it magnifies most of your misses, and at times, it’s hard to predict what the wind is going to do to your ball on every hole. In short, it makes a hard game even more challenging. My scores over the last few weeks of golf in the wind are all over the place: 77-81-85-92-81-99. That’s a 22 stroke difference between my best round and worst round. That’s more than 1 stroke per hole difference. It’s hugely deflating to know that you have the game to hit in the 70s and low 80s, but then balloon and barely break 100. It’s exhausting. It’s double-windy. I’m fighting literal and figurative wind every time I golf right now. I’m fighting thru it with next shot. But frankly, I’m sick of golfing in the wind. Every single round of golf has been super windy.

It’s interesting to note, that in a picture, you can’t tell that it’s a windy day. It’s always smiles on the range!!!

Cycling in high power winds is also hard. My top speed went from 15-17 km/hr average against the wind to 25-30 km/hr with the wind. With the wind I was able to reach 40 km/hr top speed with a little bit of effort and 50 km/hr quite easily. My heart rate is impacted big time as it is way more effort to cycle against the wind. I guess that my heart rate was 20 bpm less with the wind while going 2x as fast. The wind was pushing my bicycle into traffic one way and then after turning around the wind almost pushed me into the ditch a couple of times. When the wind catches you at the wrong angle, it goes up your nostrils/airway and impacts my breathing. Lastly, pollen was flying into my mouth…ugh! Wind is good for training, but it’s not fun. 3 hours in the wind on the weekend, over 70 km was a very hard ride.

This picture is at the end of a very long and windy ride. Trying to keep my smile on, but on the inside, I’m exhausted!

I haven’t been out on my motorcycle yet. Wind like this really throws you around on the highway. It’s not very comfortable. City riding might be ok.

I’m waiting to blow leaves in the back yard for a calmer day. Blowing leaves in high wind is usually counter-productive. As you blow leaves to the corner, the wind blows them every where else. But given there are no calm days, I’m going to have to clean up the leaves thru the wind. (more on this later in the blog…)

The wind also makes it uncomfortable to enjoy sitting on the deck. Book pages flap around while you’re trying to read. Anything light flies away and thus has to be anchored down. The umbrella sways dangerously above.

Wind whistles in my hearing aids. Lucky for me, I have great hearing aids and wind noise reduction is turned to high. Still, it can be hard on the ears.

As of Tuesday morning this week, the wind changed and now Edmonton is experiencing terrible air quality. This is bad news for me. I have asthma and bad allergies. My lungs are really hurting…even indoors. This is rough!

What can I do if it’s windy? Well, I either go outside and live with it, or I don’t. I cannot control the wind or the weather. If it’s windy, I can decide to golf or not golf, cycle or not cycle, go outside or stay inside. Windy days kind of suck and it feels like every spring/summer for the past 3 years has been extremely windy.

Figurative heavy wind

There is heavy wind in my life. I could likely write a whole article on heavy wind. But I don’t want to air “dirty laundry”. There are some things happening and I don’t want to provide details in a blog.

Some key relationships are struggling. It’s uncomfortable and largely out of my control. I need to set boundaries. I need to protect myself from certain individuals that are not healthy in my life. Setting boundaries always has a price. People are usually upset when you set boundaries since you are “changing” a variable in your relationship.

And other people don’t always understand why you are setting boundaries. People today always want an answer. Why aren’t you coming to my BBQ? Why aren’t you coming over? Why aren’t you doing this or that? Why am I not important to you?

It remains my decision to tell you or provide you more information other than declining. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe someone is going to be there that I can’t be around. Maybe I just don’t want to do it. Maybe I do have something more important already planned.

This goes both ways. It also means that I have to do the same for you. This is actually a very healthy way of living. When you allow people to say no and set boundaries without judgement, you stop taking their answers personally. What you really want to hear is that they want to be there, but there is something more important so they can’t be there. But who are we to judge what’s more important to someone other than ourselves.

Actually COVID was amazing for this. You could decline anything citing COVID, and people just said OK, I understand. I believe that COVID empowered people to say no and set boundaries. It was a reason that no one could deny.

The lesson here is that we all have busy lives, we all have wind in our lives, and we cannot say yes to every invitation that comes our way. If someone declines you’re invitation, they don’t owe you an explanation. It’s for your own reasons that you need a reason from them. I went on a big of a tangent there about boundaries and saying no. At the end of the day, I’m struggling with some relationships and it’s a bit exhausting.

I’m really busy at work on a couple of large initiatives. Generally speaking, large initiatives require more planning, more politics, more paperwork, more people, more dependencies, longer timelines, more work, etc. In short, it’s exhausting. At the end of the work day, I’m emotionally and mentally tired. Once again, I’m not going into details here. I love working for Alberta Blue Cross. I love my job. But at the end of the day, I’m pooped. And this impacts how much energy I have to deal with the other wind in my life.

I’m still adjusting to life at home by myself. My wife and I worked together at home for the entire COVID break. But recently, she returned back to the office. I’m still working at home…alone. I’m doing okay. I’m managing. But things can get pretty lonely during the day, even with work meetings. I still love working from home. I love not commuting. I love my lunchtime walks with Jack. I love my hours and quality of life. I don’t miss going into the office. But I miss having my wife and best friend at home with me. I miss going downstairs and saying hi because I can. I miss going for a lunch time walk with my family when my other plans fall thru. Most mornings, I don’t see Paula. She’s out the door before my morning walk/coffee is done. And she doesn’t get home until after 5pm. That’s 9-10 hours of lost time together. Even if we were working for most of it, it’s gone. It adds wind.

On a smaller note, my noon walking buddy has been missing some walks. Life happens. I understand. But I’m now suddenly alone for a full day. Since Paula works in the office, I don’t see her all day, and can’t really walk with her at lunch. This means my noon walks are alone or not at all. Normally, this would be ok. I enjoy alone time. But I might be getting too much alone time. With all of the other wind in my life, more alone time is not always easy. I’m left walking with Jack, by myself, with my own thoughts. My mediation has been impacted as well. I find it hard to be alone with my thoughts these days.

I’m probably in some sort of self-imposed endless loop. I need to spend time alone with my thoughts to be more comfortable with them, but I don’t have the energy to spend time along with my thoughts.

I’m worried about our little Miss Maggie. She’s getting older every day, and it’s starting to show. She is almost 16. I see her getting older every day. She is losing some mental capacity. She no longer sees or knows her way up to see Paula in the mornings. When she gets to the bedroom, she looks lost. She goes to the side of the bed instead of jumping up on the bench and up onto the bed. This week, I lifted her up and set her on the bed, and she suddenly veered right and walked right off the edge of the bed. It’s concerning. She really sleeps heavy during the day. Sometimes I rouse her or start at her just to make sure she’s still breathing. Other times, she’s full of life. Her tail still wags like crazy. We recently went for a photoshoot with our dogs with Mutt Love Photography and she did very well. She is super cute and adorable and we love her very much and she loves us. But she’s going to the bathroom in the house, she’s confused about things like getting up on the bed or the couch. I can clearly see some decline. I’m just cherishing every minute with her. It’s more wind in my life.

Heavy winds: relationships shattered, super busy at work, home alone, walking routine disrupted and an aging puppy.

Figurative light wind

It’s become a metaphor and new philosophy for my current life. I’m going thru some windy days. Things aren’t stable. There is a little bit of chaos everywhere. And most of it is out of my control. Just like the physical wind.

And when it’s windy all of the time, everything bothers me. Every little thing that goes wrong seems like it’s just “more wind”. I also call this “sweating the small stuff”. It’s kind of the opposite of what we’re told to do. Don’t sweat the small stuff, they say, it’s easy! Pffft!

Here are some examples of light wind:

  • I spent an hour cleaning up the yard after work this week. It’s been too windy, but it had to be done. So I fought thru the wind, my blower ran out of battery power, and I was on hands and knees vacuuming up the small bits from the corner of my yard. Yes, I vacuum. I have artificial turf so the bits just stay there if you don’t do anything with them. And because my blower died, it was way more work than usual. Overnight, the wind blows like crazy and it barely looks like I did any work in the yard.
  • I spent 20 minutes cleaning up my front walkway and driveway. I had a lot of rocks left over from the winter. I blew them on to the street. I mean, where else do I put them. A street sweeper came around this week at 10pm “washing” the street, and blew all of the rocks back onto my sidewalk. I have never seen such a machine operating in the neighbourhood. The machine cleaned up the road and basically washed up any and all debris from the street onto everyone’s sidewalk. Ugh!
  • My first bike ride is a perfect example. My bike is ready to go, I’m ready to go, I’m excited about my ride. I pick up my cycling headphones…where are they? Oh yeah, they are in my travel pack. I took them to Orlando. Ugh…they are out of juice. That’s ok, I’ll use my back up headset. Ugh…won’t connect to my phone or my watch. I wasted 10 minutes on this that I’ll never get back and just put in my hearing aids. It’s not ideal, but at least I’ll have a little bit of music, but because it’s so windy, I barely hear any of it. My cycling headphones are bone conduction, so the sound isn’t impacted by the wind. Oh well.
  • Also, during my first bike ride, I set up my new cycling computer, It’s a cute little Garmin Edge 830; a touch cycling computer. I jump on my bike and…NOTHING! I can’t figure out how to start the computer. I have to stop and google and restart and…NOTHING! I google again and find out that auto-start doesn’t happen until you reach a minimum threshold speed which I hadn’t yet because I was waiting for the computer to start. Then I get home and I have no idea how to stop my ride. Why isn’t there a button on the touch screen for start/stop? Then I finally discover that there are 2 small buttons on the very bottom of the device that are hard to see when it’s mounted. One of them is used to start/stop rides. It’s so trivial, but this really derailed my ride starting off with tech issues with my headphones and then the cycling computer and then add the wind!
  • TECH Issues – Let’s just say that a day hardly goes by that I don’t deal with a technical failure of some sort. TV. Cable. Internet. Printer. Watch. Hearing aids. Phone. Headphones. Virtual meetings. Logins/passwords. Again, really trivial, but when you have a different tech problem every day of the week, it gets to me. It builds up from something small to a life crisis of feeling cursed. One of the specific issues that happened this week is related to my security console. It’s reporting a “low battery” for the first time ever in the last 10 years. I have no idea what that means. Likely an internal backup battery pack is depleted and no longer holding a charge. I’ll have to call and get a tech visit scheduled.
  • I bike for 70km. Along the route, there are numerous street lights that are on outer roads and highways. Every light turned green when I was too far to reach it, and thus I caught a lot of red lights. I know it’s stupid and it’s just bad timing. The lights are probably motion triggered. But darn! Can’t I catch a light?? As a matter of fact, it’s probably not true, but it’s my perception that I catch an unusual amount of red lights driving or cycling or running.
  • I keep my yard fairly clean. I keep my garbage in bags. Yet, everyday, I seem to be cleaning up someone else’s garbage in my yard. Wrappers. Foils. Flyers. Masks. Dog poop. Cat poop. Etc. Why is my yard a garbage catcher? I don’t know. Is it happening to everyone else in the crescent? I don’t know. I just know it’s happening to me. It’s annoying! Oh well, I just continue to clean up garbage in my yard. But it’s last thing I want to be doing after coming back from a 3 or 4 hour bike ride. What else can I do?
  • This week I contacted Indigo chat support and it was super frustrating. The AI felt cumbersome. I finally got to a point, a few minutes in, that I could ask to talk to an agent. And the AI asked me “20 questions”. I don’t know how many questions it was, but it felt like too many when I merely needed to talk to an agent for 1 minute to answer my query. Is my book coming or not? The first time, I got thru 95% of the 20 questions, but for some reason there was a “SKIP” button at the bottom of the chat. I finally used it hoping that I could just talk to someone faster. NO! AI kicked me out of the workflow. Grrrrr! I had to go back thru it. I answered the last question and entered my email. That was it, so I literally skipped the last question in the previous attempt. Then the AI asked me for a topic. I wrote “Where is my book? I just want to talk to a real person already!” Is it ironic when the Indigo chat AI transferred me to an agent and their name was Alexa? I really felt like asking if they were a real person or if I was just dealing with 2nd level AI. At the end of it, I was super frustrated and just needed to know when the book I ordered is going to arrive. I see it available elsewhere (i.e. Amazon – 5 copies available for next day delivery), yet my Indigo copy is delayed with no shipping date. Thankfully, the agent confirmed that it’s coming next week; but why isn’t that on my file. Ok, I can wait, thanks Alexa!
  • I had a golf lesson this week. My golf swing has been up and down lately. Usually, I fix one thing and break another in my swing. Usually my backswing goes flat. At the end of the day, golf is just a game, but I’m working hard to be really good at it. I’d like to be a single digit handicap and consistent golfer at that level. It’s a hard level to get to. When you score 77 – 81 – 85 – 92 – 81 – 99, you have the ability to score low but there is no consistency there. It has been hard golfing with the weather and wind conditions. On any account, I had a breakdown during the lesson and a mini panic attack during my lesson. My swing was gone. Core concepts and basic principles were missing. I managed to get myself majorly offline. For a minute, I felt helpless. I was deflated and discouraged. Lucky for me that I have a great relationship with my coach. I was able to communicate my panic and we were able to calm things down and focus on some basics. Soon enough, I had recovered to a point where I was hitting the ball again and it felt great! Golf is a hard game. Working on your game and taking lessons is hard. You’re in a constant mode of change and trying to identify issues in your swing when things go wrong. I keep getting better year by year, but this was a major setback for me. Thanks to my awesome coach Katrina Kelly with https://katrinakellygolf.ca/.

I realize this are all small things. These are all things that aren’t life threatening. THAT’S THE POINT! These small things are getting to me big time because everything else is windy. Frankly, I can handle these small things in a bubble, but when I get hit with windy days from all sides, and then get hit with all of these small things, I lose my calm. I think I’m cursed. I get tired. I recluse and start hiding. This is just a small list from the last week.

Do I make my life more complicated sometimes?

Sure. Did I need that bike computer? No, but it’s adding valuable information to my rides around cadence and speed and HR that is invaluable to improvement. Did I read thru the entire manual first and understand it all? Honestly, I glanced thru it. I just figured a stupid little touch computer would be the same as any other device. Click outdoor cycle on my iPhone or iWatch and boom, the timer starts. Why isn’t the Garmin the same? I’m sure there is a reason for this.

Why does my printer stop working every 2-3 years? Is it coincidence this happens with every printer I’ve owned for the last 15 years? On the other hand, it’s impossible for hardware companies to keep up with every operation system, every browser and every file type without error. At this point, my printer is “erroring” out every time I try to print. The printer requires a reset or turn on/off every time I print now. Is that enough to justify a new printer? Almost. I really despise technology not working. And in the past, buying a new printer usually solves these problems.

It’s one of the reasons I haven’t bought ARCCOS for golf. It’s a great tool that allows you to track every shot with every club. But it’s adding another technical element to golf that can fail. I’ve already been frustrated with my favorite app for tracking scores and distances because integration to my watch failed too many times. So I switched to another app that is not as good, but no issues.

I have multiple sets of headphones because they have different purposes and I’m tired of problems with Bluetooth when you use the same headset on multiple devices. After Shokz are great, but they beep in your ears every 3 minutes if they are connected to your laptop and then you connect them to your phone. You literally have to disconnect them manually from your laptop or reboot them or turn them on after you are out of range of your laptop. Or, like me, you buy 2 headsets, one for your laptop and one for your phone. Bluetooth is amazing, but it’s also dumb and gets easily confused. Is it simple or complicated that I have multiple Bluetooth headsets for different things: hearing aids for daily use and phone calls, Apple ear pods for walks, After Shokz and Oladance headphones for virtual meetings, a different set of After Shokz for running and cycling and finally, a wireless and wired headphone set for laptop gaming. Geez!

To simplify or not

It’s really important to sit down and know if you are adding complexity to your life with technology or hurting it. This is why companies are diversifying and providing you more services from a single vendor. This simplifies onboarding customers and simplifies adding new services. However, it also locks you in and make it harder to leave or move vendors. Moving from Shaw to Telus had costs and added wind to my life for sure. And now Telus has bought Vivint, my security provider. Is this good or bad? I don’t know. It might be convenient to switch over to Telus security. But maybe not.

Mobile phones are another fine example. There is a lot of power in your mobile phone. There are apps that provide all sorts of things for your life. Lots of them help you. Lots of them just suck your time. Phones have an ability to simplify life or distract you from being present. Is it good or bad you can Google anything in the middle of a conversation and find the answer? Remember sitting around the table, having a discussion without knowing the answer? We used to talk for hours on items, never knowing the right answer. Not a problem anymore. I say something, you think it’s wrong, you Google it, and tell me I’m wrong. Or vice versa. Conversation stopper. Is that good or bad? Many apps are helpful, but I have most of my notifications turned off. If I don’t my phone buzzes me all day with notifications and reminders. All things to distract me from whatever I’m doing. I’m just saying, phones have an ability to simplify and complicate our lives.

It feels like streaming applications are like this now. There are a ton of streaming services and you have to manage them all separately. You need different apps and devices connected to your tv to take advantage of these. I use my tv apps, my Telus apps and an Amazon Fire Stick all for different streaming services. I’m back to using 2-4 remotes nightly just to watch tv. It seems that tv is slowly changing from cable to streaming services. I already feel like I have too many and more are being added monthly.

If you have a hobby, I’m sure there are simple ways and complex ways of engaging with your hobbies. Golf has a ton of technical devices and apps for your phone. Cycling has bike computers, a ton of apps, and wireless shifters. Meditation has devices to track your heart rate and brain waves and applications as well. Every hobby I have can be simple or more complicated by adding apps and technology.

I have too much to do now and this makes life harder. My time is split between wife, dogs, home, work, cycling, running, fitness, stretching and golf. I still have a motorcycle sitting in the garage with a commitment to ride it more this year. I barely have time for more. I haven’t meditated in weeks and my sauna bed sits unused as well. There is only so much time in every day, and I’m prioritizing things as best as I can based on my energy levels. The problem with many of my hobbies is that significant time is required to participate. Golf is a 6 hour commitment per round when you take into account driving time, warm up time and 18 hours of golf. My running, fitness and cycling adds up to 1.5 hours a day on average plus 3-5 hours on Sundays plus recovery time.

Summary

While windy days and wind in my life makes sense, and it’s a great metaphor, it might be too close to literal wind. All of my outdoor activity is impacted by the winds and smoky air. I’m finding myself losing my patience with the wind. My lungs are burning from the smoke. I’m just getting mad thinking about more golf and more cycling in the wind and smoke. Wind is just a little too challenging for me right now. But maybe that’s ok. I need to face this wind head on, face the challenge and overcome.

The problem is when these things compound. I have heavy and light winds in my life, and physical wind. Much of it I don’t control. I’m trying to control what I can but I need to acknowledge that this is a windy time. I feel that thru therapy, self-help and all of the work I’ve put into self-care that I can handle windy days. But when the wind adds up, and it comes in waves, and it’s unrelenting, and you have a bad day alone, then a rough day in the office, then a bad game of windy golf, then catch 4/4 red lights on the way home, then arrive home to garbage in your yard, it gets to me. That happened this week in one day, and I got home late, exhausted and grumpy.

But just like cycling uphill or golfing in the wind, it’s exhausting. And you never know what each day is going to hold. Some days, I’m riding downhill with the wind. But some days, it feels like I’m going uphill against the wind by myself. And it’s tough.

Unfortunately, right now, I’m focused on the wind. I need to change my focus and start focusing back on the positive things happening in my life. But it’s been tough. There is just so much wind.

Luckily, today is another day and so is tomorrow. There is opportunity that the wind might be changing. And every day, I have a choice to focus on gratitude or positive things rather than the wind or drama or doubt or fear or hate.

Time to admit that there is some wind that I cannot control. Hopefully, the wind calms down. If it doesn’t, I always have the choice to go out and golf or cycle in the wind, or stay inside and not golf and not cycle. I also have the choice to sweat the small stuff and let it add up or laugh it off. Time to start making better choices and focus on positive things.

And sometimes you just have to go out and have fun and watch a great movie!

2 Responses

  1. Wind is a good metaphor. I always use “running up hills”.
    We all have wind and hills.
    I love sitting down to my computer and after two hours of software updates and going down rat holes trying to figure something out, I’ve still got nothing done. Seems to happen all the time.
    It seems you understand what is going on and that is the first step in dealing with it.
    Andy

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