Monday, September 8, 2014

Taking it Back

 {Lake of the Woods, Oregon, September 6, 2014}


In late spring, before school had ended, I opened up my email on my phone and saw a message from a friend at church.  She'd been on an epic exercise and weight loss journey over the past year (50 pounds! Go Melissa!), due largely in part to an amazing woman named Gena who leads a free 'boot camp.'  In the email, Melissa testified of how life changing this boot camp is and encouraged all us church ladies to join up.  Then my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw the schedule:

MWF 6:15-7:15 am.

First reaction:
Doth my eyes deceive me?!  Is she nuts?!  That is such an unholy hour to exercise!  I have tried running early in the morning and I just can't.  I can't.  CAN'T.

And then I took a look at my thoughts, was easily disgusted, and little blue engined my way to this reaction:
I AM GOING TO BOOT CAMP!  I can do this.  I need to do this!  I haven't run regularly since my pregnancy with Carter, so in the last four years I have done nothing but carry, birth, and nurse babies and my body is shot!  Not to mention the fact that I've never been moodier and I miss the normalcy of the good hormones that exercise grants.  I have to do this!

I showed up rather timidly on day one.  Unsure, less than confident, and in lousy shape.  I muddled my way through and decided it was worth losing a little sleep over.  Day two was my birthday.  I lugged my body out of bed, drove up to the hilliest hilly hills of Ashland and ran for an hour with the most supportive, diverse group of women imaginable.  Before driving away, I rolled down my window to say goodbye to Melissa.  "Thank you for inviting us, Melissa!  I needed this!"  And then I cried.

I needed this so badly.  And not just because I love the way the weight training and lunges worked my thighs and butt.  And not just because the planks gave my abs a fighting chance.  Not even because of the way running my guts out thrills my whole soul (I mean, seriously, pounding the pavement with One Republic blaring in my ears is right up there on my list of faves).  The number one reason I needed this was to prove to myself that I can do hard things.  I can wake up early.  I can run stairs.  I can train for a triathlon (gulp! never thought I'd say that!) I can hold my tongue when I want to yell at my son.  I can teach the old testament even though sometimes I barely understand it.  I can give up my business and still be happy.  I can survive even though my besty just moved two states away.  I CAN TAKE CONTROL OF MY LIFE.

Is this turning into a rant?  Whoops.

The point I'm trying to get at is this:
For a long time my life has felt out of control.  And I hate that feeling.  I have been overwhelmed with parenting questions, laundry piles, moving, speaking assignments, screaming toddlers.  You get it. I was dissatisfied with several areas of my life.

The boot camp is called Take It Back Boot Camp.  Ironically, things were so hectic with work schedules and pear picking season and moving that my attendance ended up being much less frequent than I planned.  But it helped me establish a routine and lifestyle again and remember that once upon a time I was fit and I could get in shape again.  I'm taking it back.  (See what I did there?)

In the meantime, over the summer:

Taylor and I cancelled cable and took our nights back.
Jessie and I painstakingly gave up our business and took our time (and garages!) back.
I moved our things into the new house carefully and strategically, reorganizing literally everything (something I should have done in the blue house ages ago) and took my sanity back.
And I have tried to follow the instructions given earlier and have made scriptures, prayer, and sociality higher, more regular priorities, thereby taking my claim to God's blessings back.

I feel aproximately 9 zillion times better than I did a few months ago.

*
*
*

In my triathlon Saturday I accomplished all three of my objectives:
1. Don't drown
2. Don't crash bike
3. Don't come in last

It was really hard, and I did come in around #60 of 70 competitors, but I did it.  Something I didn't think my body or mind would ever be up to.  And I loved it.  I swam in my favorite lake and ran through lush forest trails.  I smiled at the cyclists who buzzed past me as I felt my lungs and muscle-less thighs burn in unison.  I hope that was just the first of many triathlons for me.


Rats.  Lately I can't come up with a nice conclusion to save my life.  One of my back-to-school-so-theoretically-i-should-have-more-free-time goals is to write more.  I have a lot to share and say and I miss this space.  I hope you'll stick around (if you're still here, that is.)

xoxo
anne   







7 comments:

Unknown said...

Well done!

mom2jjk said...

Keep writing! I'll keep reading. :)

sarita said...

I have been reading you since the Bloom days and I have always been inspired by your honest and thoughtful writing and parenting. I have four children myself and can relate to the emotions of motherhood that you pen so well. I am a firm believer that exercise is one of the only things that has kept me sane over the last 7.5 years of motherhood. More than any other health benefit, that's what keeps me waking up before the sun. Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

Anne, this made me cry. You are one of the most incredible woman I know, and I don't think you realize how much of a fan you have in me (seriously, I want to start a "Anne Cropper is the best ever" fan club. Further proof that you are amazing? Your inspired post. I am completely motivated to take my life back!!! Love you, and awesome job on the Tri!

Joan said...

Awww, just read the comment from anon. If that doesn't make your night I don't know what will!
@anon I will be the first in line if you start the Anne fan club!

Amy Jean said...

Your words were just for my soul. Thank you

Mrs. Cropper said...

Thanks to all for such loving comments. Anon-- I wish I knew who was saying the nicest words ever! xo