Saturday, March 26, 2011

Motivation and Memory

Myself at 25 years in 1991.

The above picture is an accurate representation when I was twenty-four,  twenty-five years old and exercising five days a week and not eating much. While working full-time, I signed myself up for Jazzercise in the evenings when I wasn't taking night classes at DeAnza. In the morning, I would take early morning swimming classes where would get up before 5 am and go to DeAnza's outdoor pool. Three days a week were Endurance classes, and two were speed classes. Then I would rush home, shower, and get dressed for work. It was even more amazing that this was the Winter/Spring of 1991 when there was a big freeze. Jars with water on our back porch in Cupertino would freeze solid and a neighbor would water his front yard creating conditions for icicles in the early morning when I was heading to the swimming pool. How did I do it then?

I made swimming and exercise a mindless habit without any thought put into it all. When you think about it you can talk yourself out of it. You can start feeling good about yourself enough to say you can skip today's workout. If you think about it you can look outside and say the weather is too wet, too cold, too hot, too uninviting. You will feel your muscles get sore and tell yourself that you will do it when you stop hurting. When you think about it, you start bargaining with yourself that you will start swimming or working out when you feel better about your body to feel comfortable being in a bathing suit. You may make good on all these wagers with yourself, but you're more likely to slip into a sad and guilt-ridden sloth.

In the past twenty years I had slowly let myself slip. There were times where I caught myself slipping and lost an incredible amount of weight that a sales clerk at Macy's would direct me to the Petite section. Then I slowly slipped again. That time I didn't catch myself. Then I quit smoking, got pregnant, and got busy in suburbia where you have to drive everywhere.

Oddly, I am healthier than that girl in the photo up there. I got skinny by hardly eating anything. I was hardly sleeping. I compensated for my poor habits, but exercising like crazy.

My pregnancy and motherhood had forced me to be thoughtful about what I was putting into my body because I breastfed my son for about 2 1/2 years. As I get older, I do not believe in cosmetic surgery, so I have to prevent or slow down the aging process by eating and drinking superfoods. All I need to do is to exercise everyday. If I do not get to be as skinny as the above picture it will be not as important than being healthy. I have watched loved ones who aged or are aging not so gracefully because of choices they made. That is not what I want for myself or my loved ones.

So I have started swimming outdoors even in the stormiest of weather. It is a resolve and shark-like focus to get me out everyday avoiding the barriers and excuses that would normally weasel me out of activity. Swimming in a deluge is the best way to experience a storm. You are in the water while the water dances with raindrops and wind. The weather cannot harm you unless there is a lightning storm. You are wet already.

Swimming is my choice because it is an exercise that I can participate in when I am eighty.

So here I go on my next adventure.

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