Sunday, March 27, 2011

Self discipline = self-confidence

First Confession: I've been working on this post for the past couple of months, but I've found it extremely difficult to divulge.

Second Confession: I have never thought of myself as a fit person. This discouraging thought has plagued me the past several months. I think it stems from my ill-conceived notion that "fit" meant "skinny" and I most certainly never was that, at least, not in the modern-day sense of the word. Also, I believed that "fit" meant "athletic." Sure, I played tennis and basketball in high school (read: freshman year), but being the perfectionist that I am, average just wasn't good enough to make the grade. I suppose that I did have times when I was fit. I had a wonderful aerobics/strength training class in high school that I loved. In college, I always liked to take dance classes, and usually a volleyball class or something on the side. There was a time when I played sand volleyball and tennis weekly, at least. But, I couldn't go run every day like almost every other person in Provo. And stepping on a scale made me cringe.

Sadly, moving away from college meant leaving some of those active habits in Provo. I never fully could get back in the saddle. Leading me to be the least fit I've ever been in my "unfit" life. Now I truly fit the "unfit" description (pun intended).

So, I decided in January that I was sick of the person who was living in my body. I know she had some semblance of me, but the real me was a bit, um, buried. I had tried running, but I knew that that was not going to be a viable option for me. For one thing, I don't really like to run. For another thing, there was nothing to hold me to it. I think I managed a total of three or four 2-mile runs, and then I just fizzled. Having a husband in night school and a baby at home meant that I couldn't go use the exercise facilities in our apartment complex. (Little fingers just get into to many dangerous places). I knew that I needed to just buckle down and get a gym membership.

Here's the other thing about me. I can do anything for two weeks. It's the third week that really tests my mettle. So, I signed my husband and I both up for a gym membership. For two weeks, I went nightly after the baby had gone to bed. Then I got sick and couldn't breathe - not such a good idea to go exert myself and starve my body of oxygen for an hour. And then there was another 2 week drought. And then I remembered all the things that I needed to do in the evening but couldn't because I was trying to be at the gym. And then there was the sleep deprivation that came with working out in the evening because it would take me forever to relax after a workout, and I would stay up way later than was prudent. And then, there was the vertigo that accompanied sleep deprivation. I know my body. That's never a good mix.

I began to feel discouraged. Like I was fighting a losing battle, so I might as well quit while I was ahead.

But, I'm too competitive for that. I felt that if I could get up early and go before work, then I would be able to use my time more effectively and actually accomplish more in my day. Sounds good, right? Well, for the timing to work out, that means that I have to get up by 4:15 in order to still be ready for work on time.

I prayed earnestly for strength and support that first week. I set my clothes out every night so all I would have to do would be to slip into them and out the door. And miracle of miracles, I was awake before my alarm clock went off every time. I worked really hard to get to bed on time (this is what really takes discipline), and I was out the door by 4:30 every day that week.

Last week (week three) was the hurdle. I only made it 3 days that week. But, I still got in my minimum, and now we're past that.

I've learned a valuable lesson in that time. My clothes don't fit any differently. I have no idea if I've lost any weight. But, I feel better. I feel better about myself. I feel stronger. I feel like I have more control over myself, like I can accomplish what I set out to do. And, while the endorphins may have something to do with it, I have a feeling that mostly it's that I'm learning how to "conquer the flesh," as they say. I'm learning that it's not outside the scope of reality that I can, and will, be a fit person. And I have a new definition of fit now. It's not about being skinny. I want to be strong - strong enough to be able to take care of my family's needs. I want to have endurance - to be able to play a game of basketball with my kids and keep up with them the whole time. I want to be flexible - to really feel like I have pushed my body to it's limits and made the most of the precious gift of having one.

I still have a long way to go, but getting started is the hardest part. One of my favorite quotes growing up says "The chief cause of failure and unhappiness in life is trading what you want most for what you want at the moment." I'm trying to better live by that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Casualties and Happy Happenstance

Our spontaneous drive to the beach last weekend was not without consequence. We loved spending time at the ocean. Truth be told, I could have stayed there all day. There's something so mesmerizing about the gentle undulations of the water that laps against the sand, and the heedless sun, and the feeling of timelessness. It's no wonder to me that so many poets and scribes have written about the ocean, the inexplicable draw.

Unfortunately, our camera felt that same draw. Straight into the salty foam it dove. Frankly, I'm lucky to have pulled the pictures off of it before it died completely. I guess maybe I get to convince Brent that we need a good camera now. We'll see.

The other casualty of the night was my purse. Bruce's juice cup was in my purse, and somehow the lid came loose. By the time we got home, the whole thing smelled of fermented, ocean-water infused apple juice. And the sticky! Ugh! I inherited from my mother a disliking of all things sticky - at least that's going to require extensive cleaning. Thankfully, my wallet and phone weren't affected, but everything else had to be tossed. It was time to clean out anyway, right?

The other unfortunate occurrence was that we didn't plan ahead, therefore, we didn't have dry clothes for after the beach. And it's still pretty chilly at night with the sea breeze in Santa Monica. So, we headed a block over to the 3rd Street Promenade - a fabulous outdoor mall, of sorts. There are shops lining both sides of the street, and there's only foot traffic the whole way down for several blocks.

The happy happenstance was that in our quest to find warm clothes, we happened upon some great music. It was like icing on the cake of an already great day. I love finding new music. I love the exposed, intimate setting of a street performance. There was just such a fun, happy vibe. Even Bruce danced with us. Since our camera had taken a header into the ocean, I've relied on youtube to bring you a taste of what we found.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bruce, Meet The Beach

Yesterday I was feeling cagey. Restless. Like I was starting to go crazy. It had been a busy week and then I'd had to work yesterday morning. I came home at noon and told my husband to pack the car. I didn't care where we went; I just knew I needed out.

Thankfully, we live just 2 hours from the ocean. We had plenty of daylight left to take us there. Without realizing it, we drove straight there. It was paradise!

I had to laugh as Bruce discovered the curiousity of walking on sand. He took two steps and just started to giggle for the wonder of it. Even when he lost his balance, he just laughed. He loved to pick up big handfuls and just let it slide out of his fingers.

Our little boy was also mesmerized by the ocean. He ran straight for it. It didn't matter that the water was cold. He laughed as the waves lapped at his feet, and then as they crashed into us. It was pure magic! I can't wait for the summer!