Don't Let's Call It a Diet, I Sing the Body Electric

100 Miles Per Hour

In January, I went to see my doctor to check in on my "Don’t Let’s Call It a Diet" progress. I told her I feared the possibility of reaching a mental plateau and felt it would be a good time to make some sort of change in the program. I wanted to join a gym, but I also wanted to continue my commitment to doing this process in a healthy and non-injurious way. You see, I have a tendency to go 100 miles per hour at everything in my life, and I have a history of injuring myself, and injury tends to tank an exercise program, and you get the picture, I’m sure.

My doctor recommended a highly-supervised gym at which I was likely to find myself one of the youngest participants. After a few weeks of failed attempts to fax the doctor’s permission form, I finally went in for an evaluation January 31st. For several weeks, I followed the slow-moving progression of the weight-lifting program. It coincided with a frustrating weight loss plateau, but I reminded myself that I was in it for the long haul, a life change, not a race. No need to go 100 miles per hour, right?

Then came a week in which several things happened to coincide. We had two big snowstorms, and I had to do all the shoveling since Pure Luck was away. The snow was very heavy, and we got rain at the end of the storms, making the snow wetter and heavier. Next, Molly hurt her shoulder running in the snow and needed lifting into and out of the car. She weighs 95 pounds. That’s a lot of dog. Finally, feeling heroic and immortal, I pushed myself at weight-lifting.

You can hear what’s coming, can’t you?

I hurt myself. It’s hard to say whether any one of these situations was the culprit; it may have been a combination. It probably was. I didn’t have a choice about lifting Molly, nor about shoveling the snow (and I did take help where I could get it), but I did have a choice about the weight-lifting and must admit I hurried myself unnecessarily.

So, for the past five weeks, I’ve been suffering a range of symptoms starting with back strain/pain and quickly involving numbness, tingling and at times, pain, in my arms and hands. During the Big Event Cruise, I added hand and wrist edema to the bouquet of symptoms. That swelling, which I hoped was related to the heat, has not diminished since I returned home. I guess I’ll be going back to the doctor. I have to wonder if going to a chiropractor (one of the doctor’s suggestions, in addition to massage and seeing an osteopath) was not the best idea.

For the moment, I have limited strength in my hands and wrists. Knitting is out. The gym is out. And I have an overall feeling of having pulled myself too hard, the shock of recognition that the 46-year-old body is not as strong as the 46-year-old spirit. And perhaps the spirit needs a break, too, needs to not go 100 miles per hour, needs to relinquish the attempt to be as perfect as possible at work, at life, at motherhood, at discipleship, at all the things that feel most important.

And I just hate that. It’s hard to let go of the idea that I need to continually prove myself. When I played the Six Word Autobiography meme in other people’s comments, I found myself writing something like "Proving I Am Not a Mistake." I do know this goes back on some levels to my history as an adopted child, but it has become a habit of mind.

It’s much harder to break free of our own mental constructions than to break free of circumstantial constrictions.

I have tried to do it by getting that running start, by going 100 miles per hour, but right now I think it may be time to sit still and do nothing, to simply sit still and be.

26 thoughts on “100 Miles Per Hour”

  1. Oh dear Songbird, it’s always easier to go from “zero to sixty” (or 100) that to put on the brakes, isn’t it?
    BE. It was good for the Big Event, and it is good now, if that is what we need. I understand the reluctance, though.

  2. I have spent years running too fast as well to prove I am not a mistake by being born a daughter, not the son my father wanted. So, I can relate.
    I spot you by about a decade, so here’s my several year’s worth of advice: yoga. It’s given me back feeling in all but one of my fingers, (which is getting better), it takes the bursitis pain out of my hip, it’s increased my upper body strength. Though even with the yoga I have to watch not going too far too fast.
    You’ll still need some kind of cardio. But for weight bearing exercise, you can’t beat using your own body. And you can do it at home between classes.

  3. (((songbird)))
    thanks for your honest posts. they always bless my soul.
    i love your new photo – you are BEAUTIFUL!!!

  4. Bless your heart. That explains it. I didn’t think you were yourself at the BE and couldn’t put my finger on why. Now I know–you’d strained yourself.
    I’m very sympathetic, still getting over the hamstring injury I got from the over-eager physical therapists my surgeon sent me to after my knee surgery and being another 100 mph person myself.
    Hope you heal rapidly!

  5. Love you at any and every speed…You are so not a mistake in my life that I can’t imagine how I’d be without you. So be kind to yourself for your friends’ sake, if for no better reason 😉 xx

  6. Songbird, I am so very sorry. It’s hard to cope with being our age! For the past two weeks I’ve had elbow bursitis and am finally going to go to the doctor on Monday. I hope you feel better soon, so at least you can knit!
    BUT remember how well you have done and how beautiful you look!

  7. Oh dear. There are some good yoga classes (so I hear) here, not too far from New Main Street Church. If you decide that’s something you want to do it’s available. I can’t recall whether your “stuff” is at New Main St. Church yet — if not, be sure to get lots of help with any kind of lifting!!!

  8. Reading this, makes me take a deep breath.
    “Breaking free of mental constructions…” that’s what I’m after.
    thanks. Sitting with you.

  9. Watch out, will smama, or I may have to use my super powers and talk you to sleep again.
    PG, thanks for the yoga input, I have been wondering whether it might not help.
    Auntie Knickers, if you have more details, I would love an e-mail. My boxes were all carried in by Pure Luck and Snowman; still waiting for the shelves onto which to unpack them, but that should happen soon, and I will do it gently.

  10. Ain’t getting older great? Sorry about your set-back. Temporary, I’m sure.
    I’m nursing sore arms, a twitchy back and one (why just one?) sore thigh muscle after putting together two nine-foot tall iron trellises, digging a big hole in rocky, root-filled dirt, and planting a passion flower vine yesterday.
    What makes me think I can just skip outside and do that?
    “Tra-la-la! I can do it! I’m fine! Look! Who are you calling ‘out of shape?'”
    Oof.

  11. ((songbird))
    I can really relate to what you said about “proving I am not a mistake” When I was a teenager my mom told me that I was not a planned pregancy. My older brother had just been diagnosed as mentally retarded (terminolgy from the sixties) and she had considered terminating her pregancy with me but didn’t because she is a good Catholic.
    However I know that the will of God is stronger than any other and know that I am worthy because I am here. You are too. I miss you so. Peace and love.

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