Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lights, Camera, Action

I took this photo last week, on Thursday 23rd at 5:55pm to be precise, to mark a turning point in the year.

Now as you can see, this is no great shakes as a photo, but for me a big deal because this was the moment that it was light enough for me to walk back through the park on my way home, rather than go the long way round through the streets.
Memories of earlier blogs come flooding back, composed in my head as I wandered, poems like The Rhythm of My Week .  I am visited by memories of the former years, walking home on the back of a rough day, twiddling my fingers, arms hung by my side, imagining all the stress flying out from my fingertips and settling benignly on the grass behind me.

As a Mancunian with already frizzy hair, I don't mind winter, or rain, or cold - as Billy Connolly says it's all just weather.  But my body and soul do seem to respond to the light and I feel stronger and more free as I march home after a day in the office.

So on this leap year day, February 29th, this bonus extra day in 2012, where I've kind of done nothing that impressive with my extra 24 hours, I am thankful for the small things and hopeful for a Spring full of creativity, happiness, friendship, love and success.

It was light, I had camera, I will take action.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Cancelling to Gain

I was so happy to read Daisy Waugh's column in the Sunday Times Magazine this week that she's inspired to write on the same theme (albeit in a much less funny way).

A few months ago I finally got my hubby to cancel mine and the kids gym membership with the, some might say ironic, intention to try to get fit again. 

Joining seemed like a great idea at the time and for the man of the house it still is, but increasingly I knew that my membership was causing an opposite reaction to the one it should have.  I was doing exponentially less exercise and feeling bad about it, so both physically and emotionally it was giving me whatever the opposite of endorphins are.

I sit here today delighted to be nearly free of my contract.  Ridiculously so.
I mean let's ignore the expensively terrible dark brooding refit of the club.  The memory of the burnt-orange-hued staff member who marched up to me and my sons in the ladies changing room, pointedly telling me that the family room was next door; as if I'd deliberately sneaked an adolescent in to scare all the little girls, rather than been a mum on her own with her very tall young boys. The kids' membership that seemed to be a very expensive way to have my youngest play on the computer.  The extra cost tennis lessons for the oldest to play bad tennis with bored kids, hit a ball once or twice with a coach, and then constantly transmit their message that he really should join the Saturday group too.  Let's even ignore the fact that we only use the outdoor pool once a year when the sun deigns to shine on a Saturday and we are free to enjoy it.

The real reason I decided to cancel is because I absolutely know I will be better off without it and the kids won't care at all.  With three weeks more to go and the pleading letters from the membership team coming in thick and fast, I no longer have the guilt of not getting my money's worth and am excited to have freed up that cost. 

So when someone says they go to a great zumba/yoga class in a nearby church hall, I can go along and see if I like it.  Hell I am even jogging around my park every now and then without each footstep saying "you should be on the treadmill...what about some body attack".  I have upped the extra-curricular sporting activity for my boys and they love it.  We are going to play tennis in the park for the next two weeks that the sport class isn't on.  I am actually looking forward to jogging tomorrow and Sunday and the shallow benefit is that in the park and on the street, despite knowing so many people locally, I won't worry about what to wear.

On the back of a foot that's finally healing 6 months after I broke it, the feeling of weakness that I really want to overcome and the creeping big four oh that's on its way, I am looking to heralding a quiet new phase.  One where I pay attention to my body, feel the aches and pains, see the wrinkles and folds, accept who I am and how I'm wired and that I alone know how to make real changes and how, at whatever speed, I can work them into my life.

The proudest moment I had in my time at that place was refusing to have them weigh me at my induction.  I said then and I believe now that I don't weigh myself at home, I'm not motivated by that number going up or down and all I want to do is be fit and healthy according to me, not those around me. 

One less thing to feel guilty about can only be a good thing.  To those who love the gym I say all power to you.  For those who feel like me, hope to see you jogging slowly around Finchley with a smile on my face sometime soon.