Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sometimes I Don't

My last post gave the impression that I loved working out and went cheerfully and willingly every time. I don't. Sometimes I have to absolutely force myself to go, to keep on driving past the exit to my house and head to the gym after work. I tell myself, just go. You don't have to like it, but just go. Go inside. See if you can handle that. Then see if you can handle changing your clothes. Then see if you can get on a machine. Go for ten minutes. See if you can do ten minutes more. And by then I'm pretty much in my routine and just do the best I can.

It took me a long time to learn the lesson that I don't always have to like doing something to just do it. I guess I was such a stubborn, willful child that my parents just kind of let me off easy. They rarely pushed me to do anything once I'd said I didn't want to do it - so I had short spells of piano lessons, dance, Brownies... and promptly quit when they conflicted with things like my "Growing Pains" watching. I quit high school physics after one week, and later learned I'd scored the highest grade in the class on our first test. I quit French class after one semester in college because I tested out of the requirement and didn't like the teacher.

The biggest regret of my life is not going to study abroad when I had the opportunity in college. I was simply scared. I'd never been out of the country before and just didn't think I could handle being on my own so far away from the familiar. I think, no, I know, that if I'd gone I'd have emerged a stronger, more confident young woman. I don't dwell too much on the what-ifs, though. Who knows how my going would have affected my subsequent decisions - would I have moved back home after school? Would I be a librarian? Most importantly, would I have met and married the person I call my soul mate, my dear husband?

You can't change the past, you can only learn from it and try not to make the same mistake twice. I know I'm maturing in part because I push myself harder now. A late bloomer, that's what I call myself. So I file away these life experiences under the label When-I-Have-Kids. I want to be sure to tell them these things: most of the time life isn't easy, and you don't always get what you want, and it won't kill you to be uncomfortable or scared. It's just a feeling, and it will go away. Sometimes the things you're most frightened of will end up being the experiences of which you'll be most proud.

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