I’ve known for a long time that I’ve needed to exercise. (Insert creepy 50’s fitness reel-to-reel of school children doing jumping jacks in unison here, with the voice narration of the deep authoritarian voice: “It is necessary to exercise at an appropriate heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes each and every morning.”)
Doctors have told me, health instructors have told me, friends have told me, heck – even my conscious told me that I needed to get up and move. It’s not for a lack of awareness that I didn’t back away from my computer to begin the path to fitness.
In my mind I was doing all right. In working on campus at CSU, I had to race from one end of campus to the other and up or down flights of stairs on a daily basis. Through the end of last spring’s semester I’d tell myself “I haven’t passed out yet – so I must be doing fine.”
What started me on the path to fitness was a deep awareness that I could no longer participate with my kids in appreciating our great outdoors. I’d lost the confidence in my physical being, and no longer felt comfortable going on hikes, riding bikes or any of the other countless opportunities that Northern Colorado has to offer.
That awareness began with two closely timed events; the email invitation to apply to Project Purpose, and the planning of our family vaca to Mesa Verde.
When I first read the application for P2 – it was intriguing, and required a bit of introspection. Unlike most of the writing that I do, the mini-essays that I completed for the application were spontaneous, unedited, and truthfully raw. When I hit the ‘send’ button I realized just how much I hated my state of flab and decided it was time to do something differently. I never, ever expected to be selected – and it is a little known fact that when we got the email inviting us to participate I was in a state of disbelief for several weeks.
Project Purpose came on the heels of finalizing our plans for our trip to Durango and Mesa Verde. Planning that required that Karl and I ask very matter of fact questions about my fitness so that we could determine what we were going to see and visit.
Looking at the pictures of the cliff dwellings and reading about the physicality required to hike up and down the trails gave me serious pause. While I am honestly terrified of heights, it was the idea of the often-drastic elevation gains on the hikes that made me hesitate, as was the narrowed spaces that the tours require you be able to pass through. I didn’t believe that I could do any of it.
Not the hikes, the cliff dwellings, or the kivas. I’d simply fallen into a physical state of fat and unfit – and the result of that meant that I was left behind.
After being in a state of Mama for the past decade, I was not able to see my kids celebrate life in the first person. I was only able to hear about it as the excitement peaked and each tale ended with “You should have been there Mama, it was so cool!”
That was not going to happen on this trip. I pushed myself, and hard. I overcame my fear of heights by using the mantra “If they can do it, I can do it” as I climbed each and every rung of the ladders. (And yes, I did look down – how can you not!?)
Had we not been selected for P2 – I would still be going to the gym, but it would be a lot more of a challenge – overwhelming even and I wouldn’t have the confidence that has given me the freedom to go further than I believed I could. I’d already decided that I wanted better health and fitness so that I could choose to be the sag wagon, not have that choice made for me.
Son and Dot are both excitedly planning for a hike that we can all participate in. They’ve said that I’m doing so well, they want to see how far they can push me (“and not in a wagon, thank you very much!” says Dot.) While I’m apprehensive about what their plans entail, I know that I’m at least able to entertain their plans.
It is often a challenge to share these peeks into my world, to expose my innermost thoughts, observations and doubts. I know that I’m not alone in feeling as I do or in the struggle to make time to work-it-out.
So let our House of Chaos know kind reader – give me a shout out, a thumbs up/like or a favorite quip or quote on the topic of coffee. It is the elixir of my mornings, and a day is not complete without at least one cuppa joe. And, I know I’m not alone in that!