Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why Not Today?

Today's the Ides of March - a day that wasn't so good to Julius Caesar (stabbed 23 times; certainly a fine example of "overkill"), but I'm not a Roman emperor, so I have a different feel for the day.

The last week has pretty much been spring break for me - I say "pretty much" because we had a bizarre schedule this year that had us return to school on Friday. (Surely a sign of the apocalypse.) Bad enough, but due to the snow earlier in the winter, it turned out to be midterm day for my Friday class - maybe I'd better beware the Ides after all! However, for the first time in forever, FryDaddy and I had the same days scheduled for break, so we decided that was a Celestial Sign that ought not to be ignored. Therefore, we both worked hardhardhard to be able to actually take the time off.  See, usually when we're at a conference or on vacation, we're those annoying people (okay, I'm that annoying person) who is always dashing off to read assignments/grade papers/check student messages/et boring cetera. Learning how to unplug is a task and I'm happy to report that we apparently rose to it.

We had squirreled some cashy money away (remember - no credit cards!) and escaped to my parents' cozy, knotty-pine beach place for four days. I curled up with Dumas, FryDaddy tore through fun (i.e. "nonschool") reading of a mostly science fiction variety, I jobbled on the beach and broke up with MyFitnessPal, we hung out on the porch swing and just in general rediscovered being married. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's ridiculously easy to forget just why we work so darned hard and this trip forced us (it's a shame we needed forcing) to remember a few Very Important Things. When we returned, the Pack had missed us quite a lot, so there was much petting and cooing and reminding them just how pretty they all are, then it was a Girls' Day for me and Barefoot. We escaped reality for a day with coffee, pastries, the Rock Barn Spa, and pasta. (Yeah, MyFitnessPal is glaring at me from the corner.) Again, I can't recommend highly enough the rejuvenating power of being coddled for a day. While I had to return to school and responsibilities on Friday, we also had a couple's date to go see a local community theatre production of Godspell Friday night, a show I'd never seen. The show is dated - at one point, I thought to myself, "Holy cow - Clowns for Christ!" but the voices were tremendous and the energy level was infectious.  Our goddaughter also seemed absolutely entranced, which goes firmly in the column of All Good Things.

I tell you all this not to brag - "Look, we led a life of leisure for a week; don't you wish you had, too?" - but to encourage you to take it a little easy on yourself. I've really been working hard at that in the last month. I know, that sounds like a complete oxymoron, but stick with me here.

Since I took up my version of "running" at the end of December, I've been both gratified and disappointed. Disappointed in the tiny things - this is hard and the pounds I was hoping to lose are proving to be quite (ahem) attached to me. Well, so what? Look at the other side of that coin - I'm gratified at the BIG things - I'm developing stamina, I'm exploring the mental side of exercise, I'm finding out that I can stretch what I thought were my limits, and most of all, I'm discovering that there can be great joy in putting effort into something that's both (a) hard and (b) that I'm not very good at. So as I'm sticking with it, I'm getting rewards for myself - my first pair of running shoes, a new itsy iPod Shuffle to replace my dying seven-year-old one, and registering for my first "race," which I plan to complete in a tiara and homemade tutu. I also picked up one of those giant exercise balls to substitute as a work desk chair part of the time. I'm really trying to live by the idea of "how can I make this more fun?" and a huge chunk of that is putting myself on the list of "things to take care of today." It's a process, to be sure. A huge part of the gratification has come from other people as well - folks who have encouraged me, cheered me on, and even started to ask me questions and tell me about their own quests, setbacks and all.


I started posting all this stuff to keep me accountable, to make it harder for me to slink off and whine, "It's too hard. I don't wanna. I don't have time. I'm too old for this." To discover that other people are saying, "Well, if she can get her act somewhat together, there's nothing keeping me from trying it!" is gratifying to the point of being humbling.

Take a look around. It's a beautiful world, at least part of the time, and hey! no one's trying to stab you 23 times. Take the win. That thing you've been meaning to get around to? You know, that thing - that model airplane kit you've been meaning to dust off and put together, that Indian recipe you've been meaning to try, that Zumba class that looks like fun, but that you're a little afraid to try - go do that. Today make play a priority. And if you see me out jobbling, wave. I'm doing my best, and I know you are, too.

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