fitness

Days When You Have no Bones

Recently I have had a few tough swims where I felt like I had no bones. It was a feeling of complete complete exhaustion and uncertainty about whether I could make it to the end of the lane, let alone the end of the workout.

I don’t recall where that expression first arose. I’m pretty sure it was used by my son on days when he was being goofy. I know I used it to describe his ability to fall and never get injured; he never stopped moving! Maybe that was the connection I made with my own tiredness, trying to keep up with him.

Then I found an old note to myself about Noodles, an internet sensation last year. Noodles was then a 14 1/2 year old pug who would get his picture on TikTok each day. His pal Jonathan Graziano would help him up each morning. If he stayed up, it was a bones day. If he slumped back down into his comfy bed, it was a no bones day.

Elderly pug on a beige dog bed, with a man in a dark shirt behind him, hands in the air as if cheering.

What is a no bones day? “Bones Day” means you wake up feeling great, ready to take charge of the day and live your best life. A “No Bones Day” is a day for self care, taking a nap or playing it safe. The concept is similar to that of having enough spoons.

Ironically, there are numerous journals based on Noodles, so you can track appointments, water I take, or whatever. I want to laugh about them, and yet…

My fist instinct is to try and figure out how to get things done on no bones days: dancing around the bedroom to lively music, or taking a walk while working on my Duolingo German course.

I want to be more like Noodle. As the description from the children’s book about him says: Noodle isn’t sick or sad. Today, all he needs are extra snuggles and belly rubs. Jonathan soon learns that not every day can be a Bones Day, and sometimes a No Bones Day is exactly what you need to get through the week.

I don’t often have the luxury of napping, but I can work on getting to bed earlier. And like I did on Monday, I can get out of the water even though I haven’t pushed myself as hard or far as possible. Sometimes a swim can just be for fun – a wet belly rub, if you will.

White woman in a blue bathing cap and goggles, with water, trees and blue sky in the background

Diane Harper lives and swims in Ottawa.

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