It's interesting, really, how sometimes when I'm processing things I reach out, get verbose and hyperlexic and want to share share share. But sometimes not. Sometimes I process quietly, internally, intimately, personally. I share nothing. I work through whatever it is in my own head, often very slowly.
Three months of slow, internal processing.
The craziest part is I can't even tell you precisely what it was I was processing. I just...was.
Lots has happened, yet everything feels very much the same. All the girls of the house are a year older: Bubby had her second birthday May 3rd, Peanut had her fifth on May 19th, and I rang in my thirty-third (yes, I'm airing my age on the internet: does that make me brave?) on June 22nd (and conflagration-free, too!). Even Wembley reached the ripe old age of eight in mid-May.
Last year I struggled with Bubby's birthday. This year I journeyed toward it with a greater sense of calm, of acceptance. Time will go on, my children will continue to grow and age whether I would will it so or no. And they are glorious, these children of mine. They shine like stars and glow like beacons and every new ability and milestone is a mark of the wonder of them. If I spend too long looking backward at what we are leaving behind, I may miss seeing all that they are doing now and will do in the days to come, and what they do is so amazing, so hilarious, so fabulously silly and astonishing and brilliant that I would never want to miss a moment of it. So we move onward. Onward and upward, into the new.
Just before my birthday, I had a personal realization as well. It occurred to me that after almost six years of retirement from dancing, I had gotten soft. My body had gotten soft. I had lost muscle mass and strength and I didn't like it. I also know that with my history of pregnancy induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, I am at a heightened risk of having hypertensive issues later in life, not to mention the family history of hypertension. And I vowed to myself, "No more."
If you follow me on Pinterest, you likely noticed that I've started pinning a lot of exercise and strength training links. The fact is, I know that it will be a lot easier to establish a pattern of healthy, vigorous activity at the age of 33 than at 43 or 53 or or or... And all the better to try and stave off hypertension than to attempt to undo years of damage. In the past weeks I've discovered - to my great surprise - that I love high intensity interval training (HIIT) and I now try to fit in at least 12 minutes of it every day. Less than two months in, I can honestly say that I am stronger and fitter than I have likely ever been before, and without ever lacing up a running shoe - because try as I might, I cannot find the running love. I'm lifting, as well, and feeling good about the fact that I can carry a basket full of wet laundry more easily than before.
At first I struggled with allowing our girls to see me working out, out of fear that I would encourage body image issues. Quickly, though, I realized that all I am doing - because I never, ever comment on my body or anyone else's - is modelling healthy activity levels for them. "Mommy is exercising! Mommy is getting strong!" is what I hear from Peanut many times a week. Hopefully, they are learning not that their body should look any particular way, but instead that strength and exercise are worthwhile and healthy, that movement and activity are enjoyable at any age and will help them to be fit and happy, lifelong.
The past three months have seen me take my first real henna clients, have seen me connect with other local women who are focussed on community-building, and have seen two short articles of mine published. It's been a time of transition in many other ways: our church community is seeking a new minister after almost fifteen years with one wonderful minister, a man I have been privileged to call friend, leader and mentor, who has encouraged me and spurred me in my writing and in my spiritual investigation. We miss him desperately, but as with my children, I know we need to look forward in hope rather than look back in sadness if we are to grow. Time marches on: we must march with it.
Our family has seen some transition, as well. Faced with professional challenges, both Jon and I have branched into new opportunities, new possibilities to help our family prosper and thrive. Moments of - frankly - terror, have given way to hopefulness and vision and renewed purpose. After all, we've been through some pretty challenging times and came through it stronger and better than ever. It's perhaps a little Pollyanna-esque, but we're choosing to view unexpected challenges as good opportunities and motivation to try new things. It's easy to be comfortable and stagnate when things are more-or-less simple: when things are not, what is there to lose?
With that in mind, I have some very important and special news to share with you. My in-real-life friends have been goading me - thank you! - to do this for literally years, and I am proud to have finally done it. I hope you'll enjoy reading about it.