For some people, a doctor-mandated week-long break from the gym would be a welcome luxury. For me, it is the equivalent of being asked to wait patiently while your child is being tortured. Over the past week I have sullenly set my alarm for two hours later than usual and tried to ignore the sobs of my muscles as they shriveled up and cried, "we thought you loved us..." Each morning my energy dropped and I moaned to my husband about how mushy I was getting and how all of my hard work was going down the drain. And from the expression on his face, I think he was trying to find a nice way to both sympathize with me and tell me to get a grip.
Okay, so maybe I was being a little dramatic. I mean, let's get some perspective. It's not like I have this goddess body that will go down in time as the eighth wonder of the world (that would be Beyonce). And, I'm just moaning because I can't go to the gym. There are people in this world who don't have clean water to drink and I am complaining because I haven't worked my core. I do see the difference.
The frustration comes from the gym being my haven, my escape, and my THING. Not being able to go there feels like punishment, even though I know I need the rest. Also, I mourn the feeling of my muscles going into atrophy. I've done so much work and was seeing such great results, and now I feel like I am going to have to start over. My arms used to have a nice horseshoe indent, and now they hang like sausages. I used to be able to feel my thigh muscles and see a nice hamstring definition. Now I just have legs. Two legs good for nothing but walking around looking for sympathy. Which, by the way, is becoming harder to find.
"You'll bounce back. Your first workouts are going to be really hard and you'll be sore and love it," my dear husband said in response to my not-so-subtle heavy sigh, which is women-speak for "ask me what is wrong so I can tell you it's nothing and then later accuse you of not even caring about how I feel." (Luckily, he's smart enough to not fall for that trick and just cuts straight to the chase.)
I hadn't considered this, and immediately perked up. He was right! I did have some grueling workouts to look forward to. And then he threw back one of my personal mantras: "Remember, it's a journey, not a destination." Although, that's a lot easier to say when you haven't already checked into your luxury suite and opened the mini-bar.
He knows I love the process of creating success, and that thanks to this set-back, I now have the oppportunity to do it all over again. I have the chance to start with a clean slate, fresh and renewed.
I thought about his perspective and decided to change my attitude. On Sunday night, I set my alarm for 4:09 am and went to bed with butterflies in my stomach from anticipation of getting back to work. And on Monday morning, I plugged in my headphones and cranked up a song that, to me, symbolizes what today is all about: letting go. I let go of the past two weeks that have held me back, I let go of my crankiness and complaining and pity party, and I finally let go of (some of) my all-or-nothing attitude. I'm sure I'll revisit it someday, but for now I am just thankful to be healthy enough for a morning run and a jaunt through the weight room. I'll get back to work on these sausage arms tomorrow.
Take a listen, but under one circumstance: you have to stop what you're doing, turn up the speakers, and listen to this song really loud. Otherwise it won't work.
We all have something to let go. In my case, it was self-pity. There are three weeks left in 2008. What are you going to leave behind?