Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unresolved resolutions

While I haven't consciously formulated a list of resolutions for 2013, I think a part of my brain has been preoccupied with plans and lists. This has been going on for the better part of the month, but I think the current trend toward mental lists is probably related to the winter cold snap as much as anything else. It's the same mechanism that makes me want to pore over seed catalogs and make garden plans that are far more ambitious than anything I will actually do.

Two Faces Have I

Two parts of me are duking it out to see which part gets majority control of the uber-Lisa. There's always a part that wants to hibernate in the winter darkness, to curl up in a ball under the covers and listen to improvised white noise like an old western serial podcast (current favorite is The Six Shooter starring Jimmy Stewart).

But a second more creative and lively part struggles to raise its head above the hibernation. It's that second part that finds the chilly wind invigorating when I walk between buildings at work. It's that second part that cannot help but consider new planting beds and different sowing strategies when the seed catalogs arrive in the mail. And it's that second part that makes to-do lists, even if they're just lists in the back of my mind and not written down on paper, and has genuine desire to follow through on the items on those lists to grow and improve.

Aging Gracefully?

I guess the shadowy unwritten lists that the one half of my brain is composing this January while the other half dozes and listens to Jimmy Stewart's whispered narrative are resolutions for the new year (at least as close as I plan to get to calling them resolutions). The very general term of "fitness" occupies the number one spot on the list. I want to feel good about my body and in my body. I want to be able to do the outdoor activities I enjoy without becoming so winded or tired and sore that I just say, "Oh, to hell with it... ."

And to be honest, I think I'm running from time.

In my mind, I'm still the same person I was when I was 27. Well, maybe not exactly the same person. A lot can be said for the lessons we learn between 27 and... um... well... older than 27 (thank God). But more or less the same person... physically and energetically similar.

And then I see myself in the mirror. Or take another look at the DMV photo on my driver's license. (Really, DMV? You got to play that way? Would it kill you to get some soft lighting, inspire some happy thoughts so it wouldn't look quite so much like I'd just taken a break from the prison laundry to snap updated mugs for the inmate registry?)

And then I spend a Saturday doing yard work followed by a Saturday evening lying prone on the couch watching British comedies on PBS and thinking "I'd like to pop some microwave popcorn but that would entail standing and walking into the kitchen and I'm pretty sure parts will just break off me if I stand up because I'm that sore from the yard work."

I don't want that part of growing older. Do I have to have it? Is it inevitable? Egads!

Taking My Own Advice

This is the point at which I circle back around to things I wrote a couple of months ago and say they're still valid. It does help to break a goal down into smaller parts. And I can help myself even more by making specific contingency plans to lessen the chance that circumstances outside my control will throw me completely off track. But I'm adding a few additional elements to the list - accountability, community, and competition.

Accountability, Community, and Competition

I've joined a weight loss competition at work. I've lost 0.6 pounds in the first week of the competition, but that's not really the major point. On the surface the competition is about pounds and prizes, but I want more than weight loss. I want to improve my cardiovascular function. I want to improve core strength, flexibility, and balance. I want to tone and tighten to lose inches and gain muscle definition. I want to feel better, and feel better about myself.

I'm looking for ways to hold myself accountable. For example, I'm being open at the office about the challenge - no shadow dieting for me - and commiserating with others about the temptations of cookies at training sessions and left-overs in the break room. That's a good start, but I can do more. In fact, I've already done more.

Tomorrow - more about accountability, community, and competition.

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