I woke up this morning with the anxiety-laden realization that, as of May 1, I am exactly eighteen months away from turning forty years old.
Sure, I’m anxious about this, which is a mix of social training and pressures from external forces, but in reality, I’m also anxious about it on the inside. My body is not that of a twenty-year-old anymore, and hasn’t been for exactly that amount of time. I have been rather abusive towards the flesh I’m in, bouncing up and down in weight and size repeatedly over those years. I’ve flung myself from calm repose to panicked insanity more times than I can count, and through all of that, my body has taken on the scars – externally and internally.
This morning, as the weight of all of this pressed down on my flabby, fatty, man-boob chest, I decided to face it down with a walk. I needed to clear the air, clear my mind, and just get out there and press the pavement for a bit. Walking, as always, seems to have helped me clean out the cobwebs and set me up for some productive thoughts, increasing with each stride and milepost I passed.
I am going to set up a personal fitness challenge for each month. For the month of May, to mark the start of my eighteen months of crunch time, I’ve set a goal to walk at least 100 miles. Walk, run, skip, hike, or whatever movement with my feet underneath me – but a 100 miles by May 31. I did some quick math, and that works out to twenty-five miles a week, and if today’s walk is any indication of the speed and time that will require, I can do a five-mile walk in just over an hour. I now, as of today, have a loop that is measured out for me, and that I can do, and add in variables such as taking different side-streets, adding in a stop for coffee or the bathroom, or even run at parts. What I need to do now, though, is commit to doing this five times a week. My days off, Monday through Thursday, will allow for this to be a morning ritual. What I do need to do, though, is pick a day during my work period – Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, to complete one more loop.
I can do this. I can fight back the urge to just collapse at the end of a day and say goodbye to the world in it’s entirety.
Alongside this walking goal, I’m going to pay closer attention to what and how much I eat. Right now, even though I’ve had spurts of “healthy clean eating,” basically, it all breaks down at least once or twice a week and I reach for the pizza, peanut butter, or beer/liquor. While I could promise myself that I’m going to not do those things, the reality is I’m not going to give them up. I enjoy them too much. What I can do, though, is mitigate them and their caloric grandiosity by countering those richer days with leaner days.
What I don’t need to do, though, is make this whole experiment stressful. The other night, while Ray and I were having a “reset conversation” about the state of things in our relationship, he called me out on my obsession with my weight and size. It bugs him that do it. It bugs him to hear me go on and on about how fat I am or how weak I’ve become. The fact is, he loves me in all of my various states and shapes. He is supportive of me and my efforts without castigating me when I slip and fall. He’s the first person to offer a glass of wine after a long, awful day, and while I know it’s not the most healthy way to deal with that kind of stress, I will not deny the deliciousness that is a fine red wine.
I can do this. I can find a balance. I can make the next eighteen months count. I can make them as enjoyable as I dare. I can’t wait to see where this takes me.