Aiming for healthy

I know my posting is a bit sparse right now, but I do hate to post without photos.  I also just found out that one of my very best friends has accepted a job in another state and will be moving away at the end of the month.  I’ve had two other very close friends leave for other cities in the past two years, and I’ve been feeling rather blue.  I don’t find it terribly easy to make friends – I’m both introverted and picky, a deadly combination I find!

When I quit my day job (two and a half years ago now) I was at a real low point.    Since that point, I’ve made a real effort to put myself out there, making new friends and taking control of my life.  It is important to allow myself to be who I am, rather than playing a role (something that is very easy for creative types I find, especially those of us who also act!)  As a result, I feel like I’m coping better with the bad news than I would have then, but I am still terribly sad that my friend will no longer be a part of my daily life.

So that’s what’s going on with me… sadness, but then life is full of change – my life now is so different from what I could have imagined five years ago, and I would not trade it for anything!

I would like to continue today on the issues I brought up a few weeks ago (in  sewing and body image.)  One thing that many commenters brought up was the concept of focusing on being healthy, rather than being thin.  I will confess that I was intrigued with the idea – could staying active really help me to feel better about myself?

A little background: I have always been terribly sports phobic.  I was never at all athletic, and I am absolutely the worst person to choose for a team – not only am I clumsy, but I also lack the competitive drive sports seems to bring out, and I really don’t care if I win or not.  I endured a lot of bullying in grade school, when we had to take gym nearly every day.  I remember one group of girls, in the 8th grade or so, who would regularly threaten me if I didn’t seem to be trying hard enough in that day’s sport.   Gym teachers would often call me out for being bad at things, including one memorable day in high school when the entire class got to do push-ups for an hour because I couldn’t do one properly.  Needless to say, the minute I graduated I stepped away from the gym and never went back.

I obviously have no interest in watching sports, though for some reason people will persist in trying to discuss them with me (this is much worse for my poor husband, who doesn’t care about them, but reads the scores anyway in order to have something to talk about to other men!)  So for me, the idea of exercise has always been tied up in all these issues.

When I read your lovely responses and stories, I started to consider the idea of exercise for myself.  Not competing, and not playing any actual sports, but getting out and being active (which is, after all, good for you!)  I live in a very walkable neighborhood (built before cars, there are double wide sidewalks for miles, and lots of other pedestrians… I do hate isolated walks.)  I decided that one day I would take a walk for no reason at all.  As it turned out, I really enjoyed that, so the next day I walked further, and read a bit online about how to safely pick up the pace.  I convinced my husband to join in on some evenings, and now I’m doing an hour a day, five days a week.  And you know what?  You were all right.  It does help me to feel better about myself, as I see that I can do these things!

I’ve even taken the step of visiting a few gyms, with the thought that once it gets cold I won’t be walking (I do not handle cold well!)  Some of them I didn’t like – they seemed full of the types who taunted me back in school, and had a very meat market sort of feel.   I found one that has people of a variety of ages and shapes, which seems focused on lifelong health rather than strictly losing weight or bulking up muscles (neither of which are my goal.)  I took a few of the dance oriented fitness classes, and those are really fun for me.  While I was never athletic, I have always loved to dance (I used to dance in musicals all the time!)  I mean, I’m not a super great dancer, but I can keep up.  I’m planning to join this gym in a few months, and I’m very excited about that.  Right now my goal is to just keep walking (I can’t jog, as I do have some joint issues.)

I think I’ve carried around those old fears and taunts for too long.  I don’t have to like watching sports to do this for myself!  It doesn’t make me part of the sports culture.  They are not one and the same.  I really wonder about the way that physical education is taught in the US.  It seems like there isn’t much focus on building healthy habits for life.  So many of my friends have similar stories, of taunting and exercise as punishment.  (As an aside, I also don’t recall getting much nutrition in health class either, as it was taught by the gym teachers in my school, and consisted mostly of scary videos.)

Thanks (as always!) for your lovely comments – as you can see, I do read them and take them to heart!  I’ll be back soon with crafting content – I’ve been knitting on Kirra, which has the widest back piece (at 54″, including sleeves) that I’ve ever knit – it’s quite  a lot of ribbing!