Unlike the masses who started prepping for swimsuit season shortly after the last Cadbury egg or Peep was eaten, I have decided to start integrating an exercise routine.
I have been talking about it for a while now. Years would probably be more accurate.
I don’t have time, I am too tired – I have a long litany of excuses.
Then, vanity kicked in when I saw a photo of myself from my late 20s.
That was the kick in the gut, punch to the throat I needed.
I was going to somehow, someway, get back to that level of shape.
OK, we all know that ain’t about to happen. I am in my 40s now, I have had a child, I sit on my tater most of the day. There’s a lot of gravity and time to overcome here.
Back then, I went to the gym practically every day, sometimes twice a day.
I amazingly ate the worst kind of sustenance imaginable, but I guess Mother Nature gives you a free pass every now and then when you get up at 4:30 a.m. to be in a kickboxing class at 5 a.m.
But I have to remind myself I am older now. I have changed, my priorities have changed. I am not hiding from an obnoxiously critical ex; I want to come home to eat frosting out of a can while hearing about Pokemons and boy wonderment.
I decided I wanted to pursue something gentler, more holistic. Not the pounding on the treadmill for an hour followed by another hour lifting weights. No, I needed balance, I needed to quiet my mind, to be able to have a routine that was almost spiritual for me. I had practiced yoga before and knew it had been my most blissful hours.
I dusted off my old yoga VHS tape – yes, I still have a working VCR, don’t judge me – and spread out my new purple yoga mat. My older one had been confiscated by the dogs, who seemed to prefer it to their plushy beds.
I went through the video, surprised that I was still fairly flexible in some of the poses. Of course, when you are 5’2″ and hide your emergency chocolate on a top shelf, you do have to stretch to reach it at times. That was just some of the poses though. Others I am pretty sure if I had been able to do them correctly, I would have popped a hip out of joint.
I felt so proud of myself, I decided I would try it again the next day, where I was faced with a technological snafu. The 15-year-old VCR needed to be cleaned and I could not find the tape that did the deed.
“What are we going to do instead?” my new yoga partner, Cole, asked. “You want to play checkers?”
I told him my mind had been well exercised, I needed to tone my glutes. He wanted to know what a glute was and snickered when I told him.
Instead of yoga, we decided to do Pilates with Denise Austin.
“It’s like yoga but not,” was my definition to Cole.
He was ready. He wanted to try this on for size.
We rolled out our mats and got everything ready. Five minutes into the DVD, it was apparent Denise Austin wanted us to suffer.
She was far too perky and bouncy to be directing me to do some of the things she was telling me to do. “Is she trying to kill us?” Cole asked.
I think she was. Death by Pilates.
We made it through the first segment of the video, moving to the mat for the floor exercises.
“This should be better,” Cole thought. I thought so, too. Oh, how mistaken we were.
We made it through half of the floor exercise before Cole declared he could go no further.
“Pumpkin, go for help!” he told the Border collie who was napping upside down on the couch. “Lassie would have gone for help,” he said.
“We’re not in a well,” I said, thinking I pulled something but wasn’t sure what it was or where it was located exactly. Something just hurt.
“We are just in the floor.”
“Can you reach the water?” Cole asked, eyeing the bottles on the end table. I told him I could not. I didn’t think I could move.
“Mama, I am 9 and I need a Life Alert,” he cried.
“No, you don’t. We just need to ease into Pilates,” I said.
How did I do this kind of stuff before? Oh, that’s right. I was 27 years old, instead of 41. I whimpered.
Feeling sorry for us, Pumpkin slid in between us on the floor for a cuddle. She didn’t go for help but she did lick my nose to offer her sympathy.
“Why did you want to do this torture thing again?” my child wanted to know. If he of no body fat and lean boy-ness found it difficult surely it was not just me being a weak, lame sissy.
“Because,” I began, “I am trying to get in shape, to be thinner, to put things back where they used to be. I am trying to fight getting older. I may be failing at it horribly, but I am fighting it, baby. Getting older is not for sissies.”
My child lay on his yoga mat, petting the collie in her repose.
“Mama, so you are putting both of us through this pain and agony and watching some woman with crazy eyes because you are fighting getting older?”
I nodded. I think I felt something twitch in one of my glutes.
“Mama, my sweet girl,” he began sincerely. “You better just sissy up.”