I was 3 repetitions into my first set of leg extensions. Spinny Spinny, which is the name I have given my brain when she churns too fast for my own good, wouldn’t slow down. Every thought I had ever thought, it seemed, was passing through my head again, and all at once.
I stopped my leg extensions and turned off the novella I was listening to while I commenced my lower body workout. It was the end of a long Monday and I had no desire to lift weights. I have been lifting weights most days of my life for 43 years.
Going back nearly 3 months now, my mind has been too occupied to focus on my workouts. My life has gotten busier, I have developed other interests, and my responsibilities with my mother have increased. It seems every time I walk into my studio to work out, I either get interrupted or my mind is so focused on all the would-be interruptions which haven’t yet landed, that I just pick one to accommodate so I can get it over with.
I have been at the cusp of a big change in my workout life for years it seems. Aging, new interests, and the increasing responsibilities of my life have been whispering to me…
This can’t go on. This can’t go on. This can’t go on.
And I have ignored those whispers, refusing for years now to let go of what has most defined me in my life; my love of and my need for daily exercise.
At least a dozen times since my late 40s I have attempted to scale back, and to just be grateful for what I can fit into a week’s time when it comes exercise. Tonight though, I cry uncle, and this time I mean it. I can no longer keep up the schedule of kinesis which has been the framework of my life for so much of my life.
I have worked out with weights 5-6 days per week since I was 12 years old. I have also included a peripheral 30-minute (minimum) cardiovascular workout at a different time of day, and at least 6 days per week, for nearly 17 years.
Since this past Thanksgiving, I have been lucky to have taken 2 strength workouts and 2 cardio workouts per week, and some weeks there have been none. N.O.N.E. Exercise is no longer fitting in the way it once did, and it’s been frustrating.
That frustration is in part due to the absence of the chemical reactions which exercise provides. This is the rapid exchange of serotonin between receptors in the brain which results from rigorous movement, and is what has kept me from killing people for 43 years.
But the larger part of my frustration is due to my own stubbornness – the expectation that I could continue my holy regimen despite that my life beyond exercise has just gotten more crowded and that exercise, whether I accept this or not, is being pushed to outer edges of the tent by forces much stronger than I.
Tomorrow morning I will wake up with the expectation that on any given day I will choose to perform a strength workout or a cardiovascular workout, but will no longer attempt fit both in on the same day. The 27-hour days I have been hoping would show up to save my workout regimen, I now accept, just aren’t coming.
This is in no way to suggest that I am giving up on exercise. In addition to being a longtime passion, exercise is still my livelihood. I need to walk the walk. I will exercise every day of my life so long as I am able. It’s just needs to be a smaller part of my life now, and I will be accepting of any changes to my physicality which result from these changes in my schedule.
And this is not about moderation. It’s about adapting to a changing life and accepting newborn priorities. Those changes are now manifest, and I am realizing that the most dignified art of all, is the art of letting go… Jhciacb
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