I recently made a commitment to myself: that when the crazy months of September (start of school, Dylan’s birthday, my birthday, Jerry’s Phish retreat, my women’s retreat) and October (Jerry’s week in San Diego sandwiched between 3 weddings, with the attendant bachelor(ette) parties, bridal showers and rehearsal dinners) ended, I will refocus on health and fitness. Since I’ve embarked on this journey of motherhood, I often feel like my skin is crawling with other people’s needs. In turn, my life often feels like a “choose-your-own adventure” path towards deteriorating fitness: A) life gets manic and I stop working out; B) as a mom to 2 young boys and a wife with 4 (FOUR!) bathrooms to clean, I indulge in ever-increasing amounts of wine and chocolate to help me calm my nerves and forgot my responsibilities; C) shifts in hormone levels or (let’s be real) taking bites of my kids’ super healthy food choices results in my clothes not fitting so great; D) winter in New England is a harsh reality after 7 years in San Diego and I need as much padding as I can get. After an indeterminate amount of time, I A) realize we have a trip to a fabulous warm-weather location fast approaching and I will either have to go naked or go broke (buying new clothes) as none of my clothes currently fit; B) am desperate for a reason to escape the constant smell of urine that comes of living with three males in a home with four bathrooms and I fortuitously remember that yoga calms me better than wine; C) burn out on pizza, cupcakes, toaster strudel and mac & cheese and take every opportunity to eat salads when given the option; D) get sick / get a mouth full of cankers / feel the overwhelming urge to crawl back into bed as soon as I’ve gotten up / snap at my kids and husband for breathing / or all of the above, the realization of which pushes me to start taking better care of myself so I can get back to taking better care of everyone else around me.
Sounds inspiring, no?
Usually around this time in the adventure novel, I will start to create a plan to overcome. I’ll buy a groupon or living social deal to a yoga studio I haven’t tried before; I’ll register for an athletic event or will set myself a challenge that will force me to be intentional about working out; I’ll prohibit myself from reading for pleasure lest it keep me up until the wee hours of the morning and prevent me from getting adequate sleep and getting my sh*t handled during the day; I’ll download the latest and greatest apps to my iPhone so that I can keep track of all the awesome stuff I’m going to accomplish on my way to conquering the world.
As I swing on my pendulum from one extreme to the other, I start to crave the idea of balance. These days “Balance” seems like a mythical creature, right up there with “Dobby the House Elf’ and “boys who always manage to pee inside the toilet.” For me, the word balance conjures up images of uninterrupted meditation and weekly yoga sessions; of playing with my kids and successfully hiding cauliflower in their dinners; of dates with my husband and tea with my girlfriends. Hiding in those images I just projected is the counter-balance of dirty dishes and short tempers, middle of the night wakings and never-ending laundry piles. It’s just that I always seem to forget those parts when I get consumed with swinging my pendulum back to the healthy, fit and fabulous side of the spectrum.
So here I am, in the wee hours of October 31, 2014. We’re one rehearsal dinner, one Halloween celebration, one early morning soccer game, one wedding, and one “day where we don’t do anything but eat bad food and go get our kids” away from Operation: “I’d best get my ass in gear before I turn 39 next year.” Things feel different this time though. For starters, I’m enlisting help and support. I’ve asked a dear friend to be my personal trainer, as that’s what she does for a living. What a novel idea! I could hire a professional to help get my ass in gear! Additionally, we won’t be moving (as far as I know) anytime soon, so I can use all that energy I’ve often spent packing up and moving across state lines to get my house (in all of its incarnations) in order. Finally, I am changing the game and the rules for this go-round. Usually my sprint towards a greater level of health and fitness comes from illness or vanity. That’s still there in some capacity, but what I feel this time around is more driven by a desire to actual DWELL in wellness. I want to explore the different facets of it, be they physical, emotional, or spiritual. My measures will most certainly include pounds lost and muscle gained, but this time they will also include rediscovering quiet moments (meditation), honoring my need for self-expression (writing), engaging in child’s play (or science experiments), and scheduling regular lady dates (for yoga or wine). I can see that writing these words here and sharing them with you is giving me a greater accountability to myself, to my family, and to you. I won’t always make the choice that moves me towards balance and health, but the path feels more warm and welcoming this time, thanks to those who are joining me on the adventure!