Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Battle Cry of the Formerly Lazy

I've been pondering this post for quite a while now; possibly a year or more. It's in response to the thoughts some people express online and I know that more harbor in their dark, inky hearts. Those thoughts are along the lines of, "We get it! You went for a run. We're all proud of you but apparently not as proud as you are of yourself. Shut up!" 

The problem is this: we are proud of ourselves. Very. I would guess that 95% of the people who post about their workouts on FB have historically not been regular exercisers. Their lazy days may have been a long time in the past, and maybe now they love working out regularly, but that doesn't mean that it's easy to do every day. That doesn't mean that there isn't still a lazy, wheezing, overweight kid in the back of their minds, trying to get them to just sit down and watch TV instead of going to the gym. (For a great perspective on this, read Matthew Inman's Oatmeal entry about why he runs.)

When I started writing this post a long time ago, I had pictures of charts ready to go showing how much I'd exercised that week and how that was such a miraculous change from my past. I had to remove them because now my charts would look like janky hammocks strung between the days when I had the time and inclination to lift or run. When my kids were in school, they'd ask me what I did during the day while they were gone. I'd tell them that I ran or went to the gym, and they'd say, "Well, duh! You do that every day!" It filled present me with joy and high school me with shock to hear that. I couldn't believe how much I'd changed my life. I had changed my body so much that, even though I wasn't skinny, I didn't gain back any weight that I had lost after 6 weeks in Michigan last summer, barely working out and eating all the food of my youth. My body makeup had altered.

Just eating thimbleberries wouldn't have been bad, but thimbleberry jam on nisu, on ice cream sundaes, etc!!!

Now I'm back to the sluggo days. With the stress of preparing to move and then getting here and finding a place to live, my workouts have been very sporadic. I'm back out of shape and have to basically start over with strength and endurance, especially in the Hawaii humidity. My right leg really doesn't enjoy running, even though my heart and mind do, so I have to find other cardio. Last week, I decided that it was going to be jumping on the trampoline. Which sucks. I didn't make have time to do it over the weekend after that first time, but I did do it yesterday. IT SUCKED. I'd rather go on a walk for twice, heck, thrice! as long. But I did it. I know it will get easier eventually. I set that stupid timer on my phone and I freaking jumped until it was done. I was very proud of myself. So, yeah. I posted about it this time, too, but on twitter.

Another thing you need to know is that, for the most part, the running/biking/racing/lifting/gym rat/whatever community is VERY supportive. When runners pass each other on the trail, they give each other a thumbs-up or even say "Good job. You got this," especially if they see someone struggling. If you've ever participated in Team in Training, you will forever shout, "Go Team!" when you see anyone in a TNT shirt working out. So, even if someone does tons of races or has been naturally skinny their whole lives, they're usually trying to encourage others rather than shame them.

We all know that we need encouragement and accountability, so that's another reason people post about their work. You're likely to see someone post on FB that they're going to work out later so that they can't punk out and certain buddies will ask them if they did it. A friend posting, "Just did an easy 10 miles," might make me want to vomit because I have never called 10 miles easy, but it will also get me off the couch just like someone posting, "Just did a crappy, slow mile, but I did it," will get me off the couch.

So take it easy on our fitness posts, okay? Unless you're friends with the cast of the Jersey Shore, people aren't trying to simply show off. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to jump on the crap-o-line AND do a bodyweight workout tonight. I don't want to, but I will. And I'll be real proud of myself if
when I do.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Things that don't work

I posted this on my facebook this morning. I was determined that I'm not going to be counting down Sundays and crying all the time. But then I walked in, and I saw all my friends, and I knew that I was leaving them soon. I cried and cried because I'm finally mourning all that we are leaving.

For so long, I've just been really excited about moving to Hawaii. I was wishing that I didn't even need to come back here from Texas but we could just magically be in Hawaii. There is so much left to do that I'm just overwhelmed. I wish we could just be there in our new life already.

I read this quote from Walden last month, and it really grabbed me: 

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.

That's how I feel about Hawaii. About the ocean. I'm excited to get rid of almost all of our belongings and to start over. I want less stuff so we can have more life. I don't want things that don't matter. I don't want to be busy all the time. So I've been excited to leave.

But today I finally started facing all that we're leaving behind. Almost 10 years at church, making friends, teaching, being part of lives as kids grow. We're going to walk into a church (likely quite a few churches) in Hawaii and not know anyone. Students will walk by and I won't recognize any of them. We won't know the pastors or have gone through years of drama and change and growth with the church. We'll have to start all over.

We have so many friends here that are like family. People who know us so well and are always there when we need them. People we've laughed and cried with and kissed their babies and chatted with their parents. 

A church that values its people so much and constantly creates opportunities for adults and kids to feel God's presence in different ways: we're leaving it.

I know that we're going to be happy in Hawaii. We're going to find a church home and we'll have new opportunities and friends. But it will take time. Sometimes I think I'll relish the change, but I know it's going to hurt sometimes, too. 

So I lied this morning when I said I wouldn't cry every week. I probably will. I sobbed today and I'll sob on July 19th, our last Sunday here.



Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Shop So You Don't Drop

"Retail therapy" is sometimes used in a joking way by (mainly) women to describe the times they feel like they need to shop. It's sometimes used by others, both men and women, in a sneering way to shame those people and make them feel frivolous and selfish. The implication is that no one needs to go shopping or buy new stuff.

To be fair, there are likely few instances in which something brand new truly needs to be purchased instead of something used or simply making due with what you have at home, but that doesn't mean that shopping for an emotional reason is without merit.

What we often forget is that clothes matter. What we put on our bodies can carry real emotional weight. You don't believe me? Go watch almost any episode of What Not to Wear, How to Look Good Naked, or even go all the way back to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. What you'll find is men and women truly transformed by being shown that they can look great. And it's sad but true to say that human beings (and lots of animals, for that matter) equate looking good with having worth. So when people who used to hide their bodies or hang their heads are shown that they, too, can preen and shine along with everyone else, it changes them.

We're status-driven. It's a simple fact of human nature. So even if someone goes out and doesn't buy clothes but, instead, something cute for the house, that still can build them up for a while. "Look what I have! Don't I have good taste?" Or maybe you saw something that reminded you of your grandma's house or that just made you happy when you looked at it, that feeling is real.

Obviously, this feeling can become a black hole of addiction; masking other issues that make someone unhappy, but as with most everything else, it's benign in moderation. So if those new shoes put a spring in your step or that funky bird statue makes you smile every time you see it, don't feel shallow. And don't make anyone else feel shallow, either.