I am never usually covetous.
What I mean is, I don’t care too much about how others look or what they have.
I have learned it is a really very large and unhappy waste of time. I would rather spend my precious hours building my confidence, improving both my physical and mental flexibility and figuring out my next travel adventure. Embracing change has been my mantra for some time.
Wanting what we can’t have or aspiring to what may seem real but what isn’t is one sure way to do the head in. Not to mention making for a fairly unattractive personality.
Except in this case.
Take a moment to picture me in the gym. Are you ready?
I work out with Louis in a local very non-glamorous gym; no bells and whistles in this particular basement. Louis is a wonderful trainer and inspires me in all the right ways. I think we have made progress together and combined with my yoga passion I feel I am moving in the right direction.
I am the oldest in the gym by a couple of decades but I am not the most unfit and nor am I like some of the Clark Kent/Superman look alike types who parade their muscles up and down.
Yesterday we tried a new exercise; easy for some but it would seem not for me.
(You may all laugh at my expense as you read along because I was absolutely hopeless; more than hopeless. It was downright embarrassing.)
I had to start this movement in the “plank” position. The “plank” is the one where you do a push-up style posture without moving, balance on the arms and toes while holding the stomach muscles for dear life. Ok, you are thinking what is she worrying about, the “plank” is easy. Yes it is, as long as it doesn’t go an entire tea break.
Once in position I had to hold my weight on one arm and turn on my side (never losing form) rolling the resting arm and ankles at the same time to reach the free hand towards the ceiling; not to mention the abs of steel that were supposedly holding me in place. The idea was to roll from side to side, maintaining form and balance. Louis demonstrated and made it look effortless; I’m no dummy I never fall for that. I know what is relaxed for him is my Everest.
I found the strength, physical co-ordination and the whole exercise a complete nightmare.
I finally managed a few, 12 meagre and straggly attempts, in a muck sweat until like a house of cards I collapsed. Never being one to call defeat I said I would practise to make perfect. Ok, at that moment, it may have been more of a white lie than a promise.
Imagine, my confidence is shattered and I am covered in an unattractive sheen of hard work. My hair is all over the place and I probably have mascara under my eyes. Who knows? I do know I wasn’t feeling pretty. The only positive in this mortifying outcome is my workout gear is up to speed. (Thank you Em for a perfect birthday present; at least I could look the part.)
I stagger from my slumped recovery position, look over my shoulder and here is a gorgeous, figure of perfection doing a similar exercise to me, only really doing it. I mean doing it properly and with “pike”. She was on a continuous roll and ‘hand over foot’ took on a beautiful new meaning. She rolled her way off the mat and around the gym as if she were going for a Sunday stroll. Jealous? Kind of!
It was at that precise moment I saw and I wanted it back.
I wanted to be her. I wanted the flexibility and agility back. I wanted the springiness of youth and the I-can-do-anything-and-everything-well life I took for granted. It was only for a short moment as I admired her workout but nevertheless I did fall down the rabbit hole of memory and see myself as I was 30 years ago.
You know what, though?
Seeing her and feeling this way has made me even more doggedly determined. I will practice and do better and I will become more agile and improve my flexibility.
I do want it back and I will take as much or as little, but I won’t give up. xv
I want It Back: Thank Goodness For These
image chanel campaign, 2014