This year, 2016, seems like it has had a strong start. There have been sudden deaths (both celebrities(David Bowie was hard to hear about), and the elderly in my friend’s families, which was heartbreaking), but there has also been a lot of rebirth and strength—and even a few exciting actual births (twins!).
I feel as if I was in a cocoon in 2015 and this will be my butterfly year. Corny metaphor, I know. But I really do feel like I am starting to get to the point where I am not afraid to blossom. More and more every day, I identify with the Anais Nin quote:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
I think a large part of that is that I have started to build healthy support systems. A lot of them are online, through social media, but it feels supportive and keeps me accountable. I don’t feel as if I’m doing it on my own. You shouldn’t try to do it completely alone, since we are pack animals by nature; we are social. It took until my mid 30’s to realize that.
I was never a jock in school. Jock was a filthy four letter word in my house. We were encouraged to be offbeat, artistic types that didn’t need to ‘be that competitive’. I was encouraged to join things but I didn’t feel as if my family was that excited. I was more heavily supported to go in to artsy type sports such as gymnastics, dance…you get the idea. I think I may have liked more athletic sports but wasn’t up for trying them. PLUS, I was REALLY good at quitting things. I quit everything a thousand times as soon as it got hard or I felt challenged. My mom must have put me back in dance a dozen times, even though it cost a ton to rejoin, and she always did it with a smile. (I owe my wonderful mom a thousand apologies).
Thankfully, that attitude has changed. I slowly tried things on and off through the years. I have finally found that I love weights and I don’t mind some cardio. I love the strong feeling I get from doing body weight exercises and from lifting weights. I get a really accomplished feeling from it. I think everyone has to find their thing! I also, as an adult, joined dance for the millionth time and did a short adult ballet class, which was fun. The key to my spirit is to not get bored; to mix it up. I now ask myself the hard questions and make sure I am doing it for ME, what I enjoy, not what other people tell me I will like.
I must admit every single day is a struggle to get started. I never want to….well, almost never. I’d rather stay laying on the floor and let my music serenade me in the background. Yes, my workout mix doesn’t motivate me enough on its own. I wish! But I do like it once I get going.
I started asking myself the hard questions and I realize I have never wondered “What about me, what do I want?” I even picked my university courses that way! My guidance counselor saw that I was good at writing and suggested journalist, so I enrolled in English classes as a prerequisite. That is as far as I got because I had no true passion for journalism when it came right down to it. Everything I have chosen for me has been a whim or a subconscious passion. Now that I am more settled I am starting to ask myself, consciously, why I am doing something and if it brings me some sort of happiness or towards some sort of goal.
It seems so basic!! It’s not, apparently. It is very hard. Now that I have kids, I want them to feel respect, empathy and compassion towards others, but I also want them to have those feelings towards themselves! They should be easy on their own well-being, not too critical or too hard. A long time ago being healthy and working out became less about fitting in to a size 2 dress and more about being a good role model.
Also, now that I have kids and I’m more settled I seem to have way less time! How can that be??? Haha. I have less and less time or energy (or both) to work out. December was a bust and it took me all of January to feel back in the swing of things. I kind of sucked at my workouts all January….I just went through the motions. Does going down and laying on the floor with my face towards the TV so I can watch The Good Wife, then slowly pushing myself up after 2 full minutes count as a push-up? Then repeating that so it takes me over 5 minutes to do 2 push-ups count as a good workout? I hope so, cuz that is what I did. But hey, at least I was sort of trying. And somehow, I think the habit of working out finally came back. The fire to do well was there my last workout, and I really enjoyed getting sweaty and pushing myself to do that one last burpee.
One thing that has kept me going in the past, was posting my post-workout pictures to Instagram. I liked the community encouragement and the comparative photos people put up in return. I need to start that again, even if it means I’ll be that annoying girl that posts fitness pictures.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this update. Stay tuned….