For months now, I have been sweating my butt off at the gym and loving it. I’m not quite sure how I became such a willing (and dare I say, keen) participant in physical fitness. But I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with Netflix.
My journey from a contently low impact mid-lifer to a cardio-loving gym- goer began when my husband ordered an unsolicited “gift” for me online. His surprise offering? A brand new tablet which arrived at our door one sunny morning with my name on it. I was confused by the delivery of my new “gift.” Why would I need another screen? I have a phone. I have a laptop. I have a Kindle and a TV. What will I do with a tablet?
I turned around to ask my husband, who was looming behind me, sporting one of his know-it-all smirks.
“It’s for you, for the gym,” he said.
His words hung in the air, only briefly, and then began their decent, making their way through the cottony fibres of my swan print pajamas. The gym? I haven’t mentioned anything about joining the gym.
My eyes squinted, my head cocked slowly to one side. “Hmmmmmmmmmm,” was my processing sound of choice as his words seeped further in.
My fitness-savvy, healthy-eating husband is overtly telling me to get my ass to the gym. This isn’t cool. I don’t like this. This is rude. How rude! I don’t want to go to the gym. I don’t like being told what to do. Who does he think he is? I’m perfectly happy doing a yoga class here and there. I don’t need cardio in my life. Cardio’s boring. Sweating is overrated. Besides, my knees are… clicky. I can’t ride bikes or do Zumba, I’m not coordinated enough. Oh…. and I hate lunges. I refuse to lunge.
And that’s when I remembered a recent conversation I’d had with a friend. We’d been chatting about midlife, and how liberating it feels to become more assertive and confident with age. It’s like, we know what we want and what we don’t want and we own it! But then she and I began to question the full impact of our new unapologetic boldness. Sure, our willingness to say no to things was liberating but was it also limiting us? Were we sometimes saying no when we should be saying yes? And were we doing this under the guise of: “That’s not my sort of thing” or “I know what I like and that’s not it.” I noted my growing list of things I don’t want to do. Maybe I was being stuborn and too set in my ways?
And there in the front hallway, I saw past the smirk and the moment was actually quite simple and pure.
My husband (a guy who loves me if I say yes to the gym or not ), my partner, the person whom I share my life with is asking me join him, to try something new, to get outside of my comfort zone, to take better care of myself.
I looked down at the tablet. Was this the perfect way to get me there? I just might be.
It’s been twelve weeks of regular gym sessions (4-5 each week) and during that time, I’ve lost a bit of weight, my legs are more toned and even better is the fact that they feel stronger. I also have more energy and stamina in my day to day life. Plus, I’ve discovered the beauty of having Netflix all to myself for an entire hour. I don’t remember the last time I had a “show” of my own. A sense of bliss happens when the earplugs go in and true quality “Me-time” begins when I click PLAY on Grace & Frankie and GO on the elliptical machine.
Who knew I’d find such a sactuary at the gym, a space filled with grunting men, swaying ponytails, and my sweaty husband somewhere out there in the sea of machines.