Thursday, December 31, 2009
One night I could always count on having a sleepover was New Year's Eve. As young girls, we struggled to stay awake to midnight and every once in a while, we'd actually make it. It was a night of hot cocoa and buttered toast and giggles.
As we got older, we learned about resolutions. Which is kind of sad when you think about it. When you're a child, everything is as it should be. You are happy with yourself and your life and don't really think about it much but just spend your time living it. But as you enter into middle-school age, you become self-aware - and self-conscious. Suddenly, you see the lack in yourself and start making plans to change. Liane and I were no different and our New Year's Eve sleepovers began to include making a list of New Year's Resolutions. I don't really remember what was on those lists, but from early on, I'm pretty sure losing weight was near the top of the list.
I wasn't a skinny kid. At least I didn't think I was. I had a belly and sturdy legs and an extra chin. It was the move from childhood to puberty that packed it on. What I didn't realize then was that I needed that extra padding because it was going to rearrange itself into breasts and hips. I just thought I was fat. So losing weight became my number one resolultion. And it seemed like the more I resolved to lose it, the more of it started following me around! Sadly, when I look back at those pictures now, I realize that I wasn't fat. With the exception of the transitional time between childhood and teen-hood, I was pretty slender.
My mistake was listening to the voices outside my head. The ones pushing fashion. The ones selling diet plans. The ones that told me how to eat and what not to eat. The voices of boys I wanted to like me and the girls who were skinnier than me. All those voices made me fat in my head, which turned into fat on my body.
So this year, I have but one resolution. Live my life and all that that implies.
You see, I've been thinking about what I want in my life. I'm probably half-way done with this one, if my family history is any indication. If we make it through our sixties and early-seventies, we pretty much make it to somewhere between 90 and 100. Both my grandparents on my father's side are still alive and in their 90s. My maternal grandparents are both deceased, but my grandfather was felled by a series of stroke in his seventies. My grandmother made it to 84 with little medical intervention and didn't take anything but the occasional aspirin and bi-carb.
If I take care of this body, I can probably get another 40 years out of it. But I have to start listening to the voices in MY head. The one that tells me when I'm full. The one that urges me to eat something green because that's what my body wants and not that cookie because that's what's in front of me. The one that says I don't really need that fourth cup of coffee because water is what I really crave. My voices rarely steer me wrong - they tell me what I need and they let me have what I want within reason - and they know where to draw that line.
And when I listen, I hear my body voice say it wants to move. It's been asking me to run for a long time... since I was in high school. This year, I want to indulge that voice and start training for a marathon. But I will listen closely - it could be that a half-marathon is all it's up to because I've been so bad to my knees. It wants to ride a bike and go for long walks.
My head voices are talking too. They want me to get serious about writing and editing that languishing novel. They want me to write that musical with my husband. They're starting to urge me to go back to my education in some form - to learn how to do something well or improve my career options, to expand my mind in some substantial way.
It sounds like a lot to take on, but really, it is just one resolution.