Been There, Done That

Growing up, I was your typical nerdy kid: not particularly interested in sports, would much rather read a book than go for a bike ride, and the annual presidential fitness challenge was murder.  I could barely make it through the mile run.  I was chubby, although bless my parents for not harping on it too much.  

iowa_spirit_walkerNot much changed in high school, until my senior year.  My best friend had started running and was on the cross country team.  She talked me into joining her for a few runs and then talked me into joining the indoor track team in the winter.  I loved and hated every minute of it.  But, I stuck with it and was soon able to run a decent mile time and started to be involved in relays.  Thankfully my school didn’t have a very big or particularly good track and field sports program. Otherwise, they would have never let me join.  But, they did and I got a great experience out of it – I learned that I could do something I never thought I could do and I met people I would not have gotten to know otherwise.  And, my personal best mile time? 6:52.  For me. that was awesome.

I kept up my running in college, although more for stress relief and fitness than for sport.  I ran some 5ks and a few 10ks.  And, then, I slowly stopped.  My arches had fallen early on as a result of my running, my knees were very unhappy and my hips never quite forgave me for the constant pounding on pavement.  I forget all of these things, though and still remember the wonderful feeling I got when I reached that point in my run where I knew I could just keep going and going.  I’ve tried a few times to get started again, but no less than five areas of the body pipe up in protest.  I have not cut fitness out of my life, though.  Mr. X and I belong to a gym (I’m loving the elliptical machine) and I also walk the G twice a day. 

The thing is I have no intention of taking up running again and I make no apologies to myself about it either because I know that I could and did do it.  Been there, done that, got the (race) t-shirts. 

There are some things that I will probably never do nor do I care to do.  I’m terrified of heights, so no jumping out of airplanes or bungee jumping off of bridges.  I will probably never run for political office, or manage the campaign of someone who would.  I will never be a doctor or an architect.  And, that’s perfectly fine with me, I appreciate the occupations from a safe distance.

Parenting? I would like to give it a try, but I am afraid that I will start down that road and think, “Danger! Danger! Terrible mistake! Must get out of here! This is not me! This is not who I am!”.  And, even if I have those thoughts, I wouldn’t be able to do anything about them.  Having children is a lifetime commitment, more so even than marriage.  You can’t wake up one morning and decide that today, you just aren’t going to parent (except maybe in Nebraska). The problem is, I can’t guarantee that I won’t ever have one of those mornings.

image: iowa_spirit_walker

7 thoughts on “Been There, Done That

  1. I had the (dis)honor of being the slowest one every year for our Presidential Fitness runs. Once the timer walked away before I completed the course. And I was a skinny kid. Apparently it was because I had no muscles.

    @ the last paragraph. Yes. I know exactly. I call it buyer’s remorse (especially appropriate given the amount of $ it takes for those of use who have issues).

    Mrs. X: Wow, I can’t believe that the timer walked away. That’s awful.

  2. You have hit on my biggest fear…that I will succeed at IVF and then hate being a mother. I love my life right now, but also think that I could love being a mom. How you do you know for sure? I’m not the biggest kid person, and other people’s kids can really get under my skin. Whatever happens, I won’t have the “excuse” of saying I never really wanted kids to begin with – which may be something I have to remind myself everyday when I am a mother of a toddler.

    Mrs. X: I too don’t exactly love everyone else’s children and I wonder if that means that I won’t love my own children. I know that a lot of people say that it’s different when it’s your own, but you kind of have to have your own to prove that point. For both of us, I hope that the good outweighs the bad enough to drown out these fears.

  3. The words Presidential Fitness Challenge make me break into a cold sweat. Unccordinated & slow only begin to sum me up.

    And as for waking up & deciding today is the day I’m just not going to be a parent…well, I have lots of those days. Lots & Lots. But the interesting thing is, it takes very little to snap me out of it. A lopsided grin will do it. Or a slobbery toothless kiss. Or a lisped song sung off key in the next room.

    I so pray these things for you someday.

    Mrs. X: I’m glad I’m not alone in the terrible memories of the Presidential Fitness Challenge!

    Your prayer made me smile. 🙂 Thank you.

  4. We had an equivalent set of tests here in Canada. I HATED the run, & could never last more than 10 seconds on the one where you had to do a chinup & hold it.

    But I beat the entire school on flexibility. ; )

    Mrs. X: pretzel girl!

  5. I can really relate to the anxieties you voice in your last paragraph, Mrs X. I too wonder whether there may be times when I want to walk away from it all, and to go back to my life as it is now – when I can do pretty much what I want, when I want; when I have space to read and think and write.

    I think that such ambivalence is a necessary part of mothering (as farmwife reminds us in her comment) – it’s just that of us who have had to struggle and to wait to build our families have more time to worry about these things.

    Mrs. X: thank you for your reassurance. And you are absolutely right that those of us who wait this long have lots of time to ponder what it will be like on the other side of the fence.

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