When I turn on the radio, all my favorite songs are playing on a station that advertises itself as playing “your favorite hits of yesterday.”
I won’t drink coffee after 2 pm because staying up all night isn’t fun anymore.
And where being spontaneous once led to an impromptu road trip to Mexico, it now means going food shopping without a grocery list.
How did this happen? I mean, I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I’m tired of these trendy clothes and raucous late nights of dancing and socializing. I think I’d like to start wearing a terry cloth bathrobe with a torn collar and heading to bed at 9:30 every night.”
And yet, I’m not old. I’m in what I consider that awkward in-between age, the mid-life years.
On the other hand, my eleven year old daughter pointed out that I have most likely passed the middle point of my life span, unless I manage to live beyond ninety years of age.
It could happen.
In any event, the current average female life expectancy in the United States is eighty-two years. That seems like a reasonable goal.
Except it has come to my attention lately that perhaps I’m not doing everything I could to ensure that sort of longevity. Oh, I have some good habits. I don’t smoke, I rarely drink, and I never pick fights with burly security guards carrying large sticks.
Yes, I’ve got the DO NOT’s of health down pat. It’s the DO list that needs a little more attention.
For instance, did you know that experts recommend eating 2 ½ cups of vegetables EVERY DAY? Did you know that the average adult should engage in 2 ½ hours of aerobic activity a week, plus two days of strength training?
Of course you did. I did, too.
I just ignored it.
Lent started a few weeks ago. I accepted a challenge (along with the other members of my congregation) to use this season to make a change worth committing to. In other words, instead of giving up chocolate for forty days, and then spending Easter morning glutting myself sick on Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, I picked one thing I knew was hampering my spiritual, emotional, and/or physical health.
And then I committed to changing that one thing.
I picked daily exercise.
I didn’t want to pick exercise. I mean, I’m fine with a stroll in the sun on a balmy spring day, or paddling around the lake during an afternoon of summer fun. But getting up every day and running/jumping around for thirty minutes has never appealed to me.
I committed to it anyway. And now, after a little more than two weeks of daily exercise, I can honestly say, I love it.
Also, I hate it.
I love that I already feel better, and that my strides are longer and quicker. I’m thrilled that my weak knee feels stronger. I’m excited to say I simply feel better.
Oddly, even with all those benefits, I still kind of hate exercising.
Scratch “kind of.” I just hate it.
I literally have to force myself to do it each day. This is dumb, because when I’m done, I feel great. I feel energized, and ready to tackle life’s big issues.
Yet the very next day, there I am, whining…Do I have to?
Yes. I have to.
Hopefully there will come a day when I want to. I’m clinging to that hope.
In the meantime, I will keep on forcing myself to move more, as well as doing all those other little things that are said to increase life expectancy: Drive defensively. Change my smoke detector batteries twice a year. Wear sunscreen.
But wait – what about those 2 ½ cups of vegetables I’m supposed to be eating each day?
Uh, there’s always NEXT year’s Lenten challenge. After all, Easter is only a few weeks away, and those Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs aren’t going to eat themselves you know.
Baby steps, people. Baby steps.