I turned older than I want to admit last month. I remember those days when I anxiously awaited my next birthday, anticipating that special day when I would be one day older and closer to being "grown." Those days are so far behind me now that I am embarrassed to have wished my life away.
I have been attempting to exercise more now. At some point, I pushed my health to the background as my schedule became too hectic to take that time for myself. Honestly, adding an afternoon nap rather than one more physically or mentally challenging activity was easier. Those naps are something special, though.
Unfortunately, forty-one fifty-something years old happened.
My body aches from the constant wear and tear of walking up and down the stairs, waking up too early after staying up too late, and enjoying one plateful of comfort food more than I should have.
My mind struggles with an inability to process the way it used to. I pause mid-sentence to recall a word I want to use or a name I have forgotten. I feel I am still using my dial-up internet when everyone else is using high-speed networks. I am losing confidence in my own decisions.
Then it begins. The self-talk, the negative kind.
I can't do this anymore.
I will never get back into shape.
This is all too much.
I run myself into the proverbial ditch when life becomes too complicated, when obstacles grow overwhelming, or when mistakes happen too frequently. Life does not wait for anyone, and I have been there when the ditch grows deeper and deeper as I spin my wheels to regain any type of traction.
I remember talking to my sister-in-law Lisa months ago about the aches and pains I was feeling. She just laughed and agreed with me. I do not think I would ever be having this conversation with anyone. Lisa offered some advice, though. "Keep moving."
Wisdom can be found in the simplest of words.
Lisa's advice was about the physical difficulties we both are experiencing, but I found how easy it works in most situations when I engaged in negative self-talk.
I struggled for weeks writing this blog. I started. I stopped. I wrote. I polished. I deleted. For the past few days, I began telling myself: I can't do this anymore. This morning was different. I sat down with my coffee, turned on some John Denver, and continued writing until I finished while quieting the doubts I had as each word hit the page. Just Keep Moving.
I was tired of being tired. One day I jumped on the elliptical at Howard Long Wellness Center. I set the program on what I "instinctually" used years ago. Five minutes into the workout as I sweated profusely, obsessively checked my heart rate, and watched others exercising effortlessly, I kept saying: I will never get back into shape. I lowered the settings, realizing that this would take longer than I expected. Just Keep Moving.
I have a small pocket calendar containing all my meetings, appointments, and shopping lists. I always feel as if there is more to do than can fit into this small calendar. This is all too much. I bought a luxurious desktop blue calendar at Marshall's last week. I transferred all of the contents to its roomy pages, realizing I have plenty of space in my life for everything. Just Keep Moving.
Sometimes I wish I could send advice to that kid blowing out his birthday candles. "Don't rush to be an adult." "Take your time making decisions." "Realize that you will never be perfect." "Don't be so hard on yourself." But he doesn't need these, right?
He needs a short mantra to push him through difficult times, a phrase to ease the doubts that cloud his mind, and a few words to sort out the countless pressures life brings. I envision Just Keep Moving in blue icing looping across his birthday cake surrounded by the candles he is about to blow out.
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