I Am That Girl Now

Monday, February 27, 2006

It's the process, it's the journey

Maybe it's that my parents are getting older, and my grandmothers-- the only two representatives of my direct family line in that generation-- are both getting more and more health problems, but the health thing has gotten more important to me this year than ever before. I talk a good game, but you know how it is: at the end of the day, so very often it's all been about the size of my ass and how I feel about the size of my ass and what I'm doing about it, or not doing about it. Like so much else, the most frightening thing has been letting go of my ass-centric approach to exercise and eating.

(Which is not to say that I am done with the process. I think I've made it slightly past the tipping point, so that right now there's more concern about actual health and enjoyment than concern about my ass, but I cannot honestly claim that I'm done with this process, or that I didn't sigh and shake my head when I got on the scale yesterday and saw the same ol', same ol'. Just FYI.)

The thing is, I seem to be grasping that my 30s are probably going to be the high point of my physical health, since I shamelessly wasted most of my 20s, and that the better I do in my 30s, the slower the decline will be for the rest of my life. Barring, of course, the puckish sort of acts of God that tend to strike whenever anyone over-prepares for the future, but I still don't think that my time will be wasted because, hell, I'll feel good now.

I don't want diabetes, like my mother-in-law has; I don't want osteoporosis, like one of my aunts; I don't want breast cancer, like a dear friend of the family; I don't want dementia, like both of my grandmothers; I don't want macular degeneration, like one of my grandmothers; I don't want high cholesterol, like my parents. I know that the likelihood of becoming an old lady drooling in a nursing home is high, particularly in my family, and that the odds are better than not that I'd spend the years prior to that having to juggle too many pills. I'd really like to increase the chance that I wouldn't have to do that, though. There's a slim chance that I'll end up being one of those mothers and then grandmothers that sails through life with bright eyes and sharp mind, who has fewer physical problems than most and who keeps up with the world instead of retreating. I'd like to increase that chance. My grandmothers didn't get to have that life, one of my aunts is losing her chance, and it's looking like my mother won't get it, either (knock on wood, I'm still hoping that she'll surprise us and still be her daffy, random, roughly practical self at the age of 90), but dammit, I want it.

I have the following goals: sing, write, run, and eat well, and to do all of them for the sheer joy of it. Kinda getting two of those in gear; I need the others to stay balanced. There's something about my fear of judgement that drags me to a halt where singing and writing are concerned; I forget how much I love hearing my voice ring in my head and how much I love engrossing myself in a story that only I know, how lovely it is to play with lilting a phrase and finding a good place for a dramatic crescendo, how damned good it feels to have just the right word fit into place or have a character turn into somebody I want to hang out with.

I want to restructure my day so that my evenings are all about doing the things that I love to do: preparing and eating a gorgeous meal, spending some time kicking back with my laptop and book concept, singing, cuddling on my lovely husband. I want some little luxuries in my life, like some sinfully comfortable pajamas and a lush bed set that will actually stay on the bed and a bedroom that doesn't look like a second-hand store just exploded. I want to relax.

And, while I'm at it, can summer come soon? Or at least spring? Please? I'm so tired of it being dark and cold. I love Chicago, but winter always makes me realize just why people move to California.


And now, for random stuff:

Have you noticed the new weight-loss target group? Men. According to the commercials, it seems that the driving reason for male weight-loss is the same as female weight-loss: male sexual desire. Women are given commercials saying that they'll be more desireable if they lose weight; men are given commercials saying that their equipment will function better if they lose weight, and lose the erection-destroying health problems that come with the extra weight. On the one hand, I'm shaking my head and rolling my eyes over the continuing LOSE WEIGHT SO YOU CAN HAVE MORE SEX standard for these commercials, but there's a bit of a silver lining in the fact that hey, at least the bastards are starting to tie health into it.

We had an absurdly splurgy brunch on Sunday, in celebration of our anniversary, and as a result all we had for dinner was salad and pears for dessert. Which would be sort of sad, if it had been salad like a drive-through side salad and a piece of fruit on the side, but instead we had dandelion greens (we like them; how 'bout that?) tossed in a home-made low-fat dressing, served in our gorgeous (and seldom used) wooden salad bowls, with thin pear slices arranged in a daisy-shape on the top, and with bits of goat cheese and chopped walnuts. The baked pears were the decadent ones I mentioned a few days ago, served in little white ramakins, with the strawberry sauce on top. I am making a mental note to get more frozen berries the next time we hit Trader Joe's, because they are just so absurdly easy to make sauces out of. Dinner was simple, but terribly elegant. Neither dish would have been out-of-place at a good restaurant. It made me all swoony.

We're thinking of using the remainder of the strawberry sauce-- unsweetened, remember-- to make a strawberry vinaigrette. Oh, the loveliness!

My Hub has announced three or four times now that the produce box was a great damn idea. It's forced us to try new things, we're getting a fabulous variety of things, not too much of any one thing, and the produce is excellent. Yay! I love it when I go out on a limb and things work out.

I was driving with my (drunk) Hub in tow on Saturday night, and his alcohol level brought out his need to give suggestions about what to do and when to do it. He's usually fine with my driving, but he gets really hyper when he's drunk. We also have very different driving styles, what with him growing up in the 'burbs and me growing up in a small rural town, so his suggestions were all about being a more aggressive driver. I followed his instructions at one point, almost got hit by another car, and realized that I'm really not comfortable with driving that way. Yes, I drive like an old lady. I do not care. There are few times in my life that I'm in enough of a hurry that I'd rather risk my neck than wait in traffic for a wee bit. Upon that realization, I informed him that I wasn't comfortable driving the way he wanted me to and that I'd really appreciate it if he stopped telling me to. (Which was a better way of expressing my first mental reaction, which was shut the hell up!) He stopped talking and then woefully decided that he was an asshole, and apologized profusely, and finally we got it straightened out.

The point of this: yay, I gained an understanding of my own comfort zone and the limits thereof! Yay, I decided to stick with what feels good to me instead of giving up to the noisy pressure from the passenger seat! Yay, I immediately expressed this to my Hub instead of spending a lot of time fretting about it! All good things.

We've been married a year, now, and I'm starting to get used to how this works. The constant adjustment, the development of habits and hobbies that are ours instead of just one or the other, the limits and the way to stretch them a bit. It's a slow process, marriage, like geology or evolution. I guess the only thing to do is to develop a long-term approach to it, so that drastic changes are diminished and small, incremental changes create big results. Much like everything else, I guess. My days of gauging all changes by short-term measurements seem to be over.

Maybe I'm just finding the methods I'm comfortable with. Maybe I'm figuring out what my inner rhythm dictates. Maybe, like I theorized once a long time ago, I'm not really a Type A personality, I'm a stealth hippie. (Hell, who am I kidding. I am, in fact, the Stealth Hippie. I just have a deep love of electronics and the ability to act like a Type A when I have to.) Maybe I'm finally getting rid of the fear that life is going to pass me by if I don't do everything right now, and starting to accept the fact that life is what I'm doing, and how I feel about it.

I don't want to spend my time being scared and dutiful. I want to do what I love.

On the other hand, I must now go and do something that I merely tolerate: my job. Later, sweeties!

3 Comments:

  • Meg, sometimes you say exactly what I'm thinking. Do you know I sing and write, too? Or used to, anyway. I wanted to be a Broadway actress - Les Miz was calling in those days.

    Anyway, I just turned 30 last week, and I realized that it will be the decade that turns my life into the one I daydream about... the one where I learn to be relatively neat (and hire a maid to deal with the rest) and I have a subscription to Country Living... the decade where I get into shape, take skating lessons (finally) and have my babies. I can obsess over what I've failed to accomplish in the 30 years I've had so far, or I can chalk it up to experience and lessons well-learned and move on from here. It's a new decade, a clean(ish) slate. I can shape it anyway I want, or I can let it fail to take shape.

    I don't want to be that person. I want to be the one who runs a race, regardless of where I finish, just because I can. I want to ride a bike again, roller skate again... swim in public, ride a roller coaster - the list goes on.

    So instead of thinking I'm old, that I've failed and I should just give up and have surgery, I'm trying a new approach. A lot of what you've said really rings true for me... and I appreciate so much your honest introspection!

    By Anonymous Mae, at 3:55 PM  

  • I think you're right to focus on your health - it's far more important than the size of, well . . . as you put it . . . your ass! I'd imagine that if you focus on your health you'll see the weight drop anyway.

    By Anonymous Another Fitness Blog, at 4:02 PM  

  • Well, my blog today was all about the fact that my grandmother died yesterday (until yesterday, I had all four grandparents alive and well, as did my boyfriend), so i can really relate; as I've watched them age, health has become more and more important to me. Because I'm lucky enough that, at 28, I had all four grandparents alive and I'd love to be able to give that gift to my children and grandchildren as well.

    ~Jess

    By Blogger JessiferSeabs, at 4:50 PM  

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