This morning I walked for 40 minutes.
It’s a nice loop around part of the neighborhood, approximately two miles or so. I left the house at 5:35. Julia had been up and had had her early morning meal of the day and was back in our room with a bottle nearby in case she woke up while I was gone. My husband had grunted a sleepy acknowledgement after I whispered that I was heading out the door.
I got a stitch in my side within the first ten minutes. I haven’t done this in a while. I can’t walk slowly, either. Even if I try, I find myself speeding back up to my usual pace. Can’t help it. The stitch worked itself out eventually. I didn’t even notice when it was gone, and forgot all about it until I started typing just now.
I love the early morning. This morning was nice, too – cool, cloudy. A perfect day to start this. Again.
It’s therapy, of a sort. It is my response to “the courage to change the things I can.”
It is partly a physically necessary thing – I need to get back into some regular form of exercise, for my health, if for no other reason. It is partly a mentally necessary thing – I need to focus on me rather than get back on the worrying-about-someone-else wheel. The worrying does no good for either of us. Trust me. I’ve spent a lot of years on it. Mental marathons going nowhere.
So. This worked wonders for me years ago, before I got happily distracted with my own actual life. And I am still happily distracted a lot of the time, but I feel myself getting back on the wheel, too. And I need to get off of it, before I get trapped on it again.
It’s exhausting to worry about someone who drinks. Exhausting. I spent so long looking for answers. I really did. I read and read and read. I thought I could find an answer. A reason. A key. I’m intelligent, I’m somewhat intuitive, empathetic, sympathetic, and all that. I’m a firstborn child, and female. It just seems like I’m designed to get in there and solve problems. Fix everything and make it all better.
But not everyone on the planet is clamoring for my help. This person wasn’t. Isn’t. At least, not in the ways I was offering, and not in the ways I wanted to be of assistance. I beat my head and heart against a brick wall over and over and over and you would think an intelligent, intuitive, empathetic, sympathetic, firstborn chick might get the hint after a while, but no. It took a long time for the message to sink in.
When it did, it was one of those “aha!” moments. Not a happy one. Kind of a depressing one, really. Depressing as hell. But “aha” nonetheless. And so I marshalled all the energy that had gone into trying to solve a problem that didn’t want to be solved into myself, set my jaw, and attacked my own “stuff.” Attack, attack, attack. I frowned a lot, I believe. A determined, keep-it-all-foremost-in-my-mind kind of frown, so I wouldn’t be sidetracked and lose focus on my “stuff.”
And I maintained that focus for half a year. And after that half a year I let some things slide (didn’t work out every single day any more) but that was okay, because I was doing better mentally. Keeping myself off of the wheel.
Over the past bunch of years I’ve mostly tried to stay off the wheel when it starts spinning. It’s hard, and I don’t always succeed.
And now, with a husband, a toddler and a newborn (all of whom I love with every cell of my body and every bit of my heart), a full time job I’ll need to go back to in about a month (that I don’t love much but it’s a good paycheck and I like the people I work with), now I need to make sure that I carve out a chunk of time every day to set my jaw again and work on my “stuff” again.
And what, exactly, is my “stuff” anyway?
Some of it’s physical – the flab, the lack of muscle tone, that sort of thing. I want to be healthy. I want to feel better and, yes, look better. For me. Just me. My husband, who, yes, is way overdue for an eye exam, seems to love me even when I am horrified by what I see in the mirror. He, vision-impaired man that he is, is supportive and loving no matter what idiot notions pop into my head about what I look like. He knows exactly what to say when I (cruelly, yes) ask “do you think I’m fat?” He says “yes, Jayne, I do. I think you’re hideously fat.” He is oddly reassuring.
I also want to set a good example for my kids. The number of overweight kids in this country is alarming, and I don’t want my kids becoming a part of that statistic. So, rather than put them on diets when it’s too late and trying to correct whatever has caused the problem, I want to set a healthy, active example. I was not an athletic child, and I wasn’t an athletic adult much. But it’s not too late to change that.
And the other stuff is mental and emotional stuff. Bouts with depression. Inability to stick with some things, particularly if they will benefit me in some way. The feeling that I am supposed to put everyone else first. That kind of thing.
So anyway, that’s what precipitated my walk this morning.
An important morning for me.
Tomorrow will be day two…but also, in a way, another day one.