* Dance classes began when I was 7. Tap, jazz and ballet, culminating in snazzy satiny recitals in June. I begged my mom to move the car out of the garage so I could spend hours in the stink and dust practicing my steps and choreographing my own dances.
* Swim team from 9 until I aged out at 14, which included getting to practice at 7 in the mornings all summer long. I never missed a practice but I was still the slowest girl at all the meets. I had endurance. I killed the mile swim fundraisers because people didn't believe someone as short and slow as me could do it so they always pledged per lap.
* Throughout college: swimming, hiking, going to the gym, biking along the sea cliff road, running, dancing.
* Early twenties: Triathlons. Road races. I was always came in second to the last but I did not care. I felt invincible.
* Pregnancies: Gyms. Long walks. Afterwards, lots of jump roping, cross-country skiing, Nordic track, African dance.
* Gyms: Muscle gyms, family gyms, neighborhood gyms, co-ed gyms, women-only gyms.
Then, for nearly three years. . . almost nothing. Once a week dance classes, a few walks here and there. A neglected gym membership. Or two.
I never thought I could be someone who goes a whole month without exercising. It used to be not even a rainstorm kept me from my morning run. Lately I've skipped it more days a week than not. Work took over because I let it. I stopped fighting for time for my health and so the rest of my life flooded in like a rogue wave. I got too stressed out so all I wanted to do was sleep and rest which made me stressed out. I burst the seams of my clothes and had to buy new ones but that wasn't what bothered me. What bothered me was how not alive I felt.
This summer I'm really back for the first time in about three years. It astonishes me that my body waited for me that long, but it faithfully did. I began a yoga practice a year and a half ago, and the more I did that, the more I remembered what it felt like to be alive again.
Today I ran for an hour and then did an hour and a half yoga class. Tomorrow morning, the gym.
Always, the neighborhood pool with my little girl where we swim until the pool closes.
When the lifeguards blow the whistle and call out closing time, I'm tempted to hide underwater in hopes that they will leave me there to live. Because for the first time in the longest, that's what it feels like I'm finally doing.
|Me in the middle with some of my favorite hiking pals.|