It’s my Me time. There is no other definition. It is my kid free, chore free, work free, hubby free, friend free, society’s demands of me – free time. It is all about me. I need it. I crave it. I function throughout my day (and tasks and relationships) a completely different person than on the days I don’t get to exercise.
It is a choice to exercise. Yes it is so good and wonderful for my body and mind to be fit, strong, and healthy. But it goes beyond this. Each time I get to run or workout, it is a declaration of my worth, that I am more than just a wife, mother, chef, housekeeper, educator, entertainer, errand runner, scheduler etc. It is a declaration that I, just as I am, am worthy of time for myself, to be alone, with my body, with my thoughts, and with nature.
In this time I get to process what is going on in my life, and often am able to work through all the emotions attached. In this time, if I choose, I can forget about everything and everyone in my life and just be me. Free to explore in the depths of my mind who and what I can be. I can focus on my careers, my future, new ideas and avenues to pursue and explore. I can focus on what I am really feeling and thinking, which for every moment throughout the rest of my day, gets pushed to the far corners of my mind and heart, for my responsibilities have to come before me. But not here, not in my workout. My workout it is about me and being free to be who I am.
In this time I can push my body and mind beyond what I previously thought was capable. I can be in awe at just what my mind and body can do and accomplish. I can take pride in the strength, flexibility, and endurance of my body. I can feel my heartbeat pounding strong, which in turns gives me strength knowing I can handle so much more.
When I push myself hard enough and try new things, I am filled with such gratitude that I have been given this body that can do so much. It inspires me to continue, to keep testing my limits and the possibilities. It tugs at the strings of the natural leadership tendancies in me – to pursue that which can motivate others and set an example of how to make it happen.
My time given to exercise begins with that simple and complicated decision that I am worth it. Following through on this decision, just making it happen in this busy and wonderful life, is such an accomplishment in itself. When I complete a workout and have worked hard, I am empowered. When I find it in myself to do this daily, to deem myself worth it, and to make it happen, makes me resilient in life.
Because I have to fight so hard to make my work out time happen, fighting against the family schedule, the family’s health, the gym’s hours and it’s limited childcare, the weather, my to do list, the daily unexpected interruptions, the commute to and from the other gym, and so on, just showing up is half the battle.
Unlike so many other women who spend their time walking slowly and chatting nonstop, when I get there, it is my time to work. I vent my life through my workout. It is my therapy, my drug, my caffeine.
To run during the week, I utilize the gym daycare. The dear sweet young ladies that watch my children, if I could pay them extra rewards I would. They are so young and innocent and have no clue as to how appreciative I am that their low paying job not only helps burn my kids’ energy but gives me a sweet hour of relief from life, to be alone, to be me.
I long for my workouts to not end. I wish I could attempt to run ten miles every day, just to have that solace, that quiet time for me. But my runs end at the hour mark whether its three miles or five. Dinner beckons, and the kids dash out of the gym almost faster than I can keep up. Life resumes as soon as I turn off the music.
When I am lucky, and lucky indeed, I can venture the half hour drive into the city for boxing. The drive is filled with checking off that to do list, and sighing over what truly won’t get done this day or likely the next. A mother’s job is a cascading stack of plates and bowls always on the verge of tumbling to the floor and cracking into zillions of pieces – that you won’t find until you step on a few.
But when I enter this gym, it is all about getting fierce. It is about the pain and making my body work hard enough to feel pain. I want to crawl out of this gym on my hands and knees. If I give everything I have in me to this gym and this workout, my body will be thoroughly exhausted. In other words I will be so tired I will sleep well, unless one of the two kids or dogs decides not to. If I push myself past my previous abilities at this workout, my mind leaves knowing I am fully capable of handling anything life throws at me.
Unlike many others, I consider myself a true athlete. Workouts are necessary, daily, and more than once a day is a desired blessing. I tear myself apart, breathe, recoup and rebuild so that when I leave that workout, I am stronger, wiser, more determined and capable than I was when I began. It is my place to burn off stress.
It’s not just a workout. It’s a big part of what makes me who I am. It is about opportunity, possibilities, worth, believing and faith. Without it I am a mess. An overwhelmed, half functioning, grouchy mess. Exercise makes me alive, gives me great health, a better attitude and a happier, balanced mind and life.
It is not just about getting an hour to escape life and the demands of the roles I have chosen. Often it is simply a place of sweet fun. A time to enjoy nature when I get to run outside, a time to feel inspired watching others improving themselves. When you find a type of exercise that you find fun, boxing for me, it doesn’t feel difficult. And there is nothing like rocking it out to your favorite tunes, lip synching it out pretending to be your favorite rock star with a smile on your face.