Striving for Gratefulness #OldSchoolBlogging

coffee talk

It’s really starting to get to me, this not having a good way to exercise. I almost forgot how exercise saved me from the periodic depression and general “funk” that I have fought with my whole life. But it’s creeping back now.

So much of who I’ve become over the past few years was based on my commitment to my newfound fitness hobby. The earlybird who loved getting up before the sun is now sleeping later and later in the mornings with no real impetus to get up now that there is no race to train for and no need to beat the heat of the day. I find myself not even wanting to get showered and fixed up and slogging around the house in yoga pants and a ponytail every day. The pounds keep creeping up on the scale and everything I put on is tight and uncomfortable. I’m in a total blue funk right now.

I went for a bike ride earlier this week, hoping to shake off some of the funk, but I didn’t want to go too far because I’m worried about the traffic and worried about getting stuck on a hill, so I just meandered in an out of the neighborhoods around us — which was fine, I guess. It just seems kinda lame. I keep saying I’m going to arrange to meet a friend at a trail in our area where I can just ride without worrying about the route or the traffic, but I can never seem to carve out the time. I just want something easy and fast and close to home, bing-bang-done. That’s why running was so easy for me.

I don’t want to go back to being that person I was for the first 25 years of my life, always finding a reason not to be active, fighting the blue funk, struggling to find a reason to put myself together and get out of the house, snapping at my family when my hormones started acting up. I need to do something about it now, before I’m too far gone.

As I was puttering around on my bike a few days ago, I had some time to think — another thing I didn’t realize I missed about my regular exercise habit. Words started forming, blog posts I might put together that are more personal and thoughtful than the latest sale at the Gap.

You know, the time to think and just be is highly underrated. We’re all so busy, going, going, going… We all need time to marinate in our thoughts.

So I was looking around at the pastoral landscape, enjoying the sunshine and the light breeze, it occurred to me that the ability to run is not some unalienable right. Many people have been sidelined from their favorite sport or activity for far worse situations than mine. I need to embrace the things that I CAN do and be grateful that I still CAN do so many things.

If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with… or something like that.

I need to put my big girl pants on and do what I need to do to make it happen. Quit making excuses. Get on your bikes and ride… LOL. I love my music references. Sigh… another thing I miss — those hours with my tunes. See what I do to myself? I really do find any reason to bemoan my current state of affairs.

A friend called yesterday and asked about how my foot is doing. She’s always keeping tabs on me, which is dear because she has some physical health issues that are much more debilitating than mine. She is also struggling to find ways to get her exercise that her body will allow her to do, and she mentioned another friend who is in the same boat for yet a different reason. We commiserated about how frustrating it is to get old and to have to admit that our bodies just can’t do what they once could. It’s just part of the aging process, I guess. Everyone always told me your body falls apart after 40, and they weren’t kidding.

But I can always think of someone who has it worse, and I know I need to quit making excuses and commit to making the most of the situation I’m in. I just wish I could find something active that I love enough to wanna haul myself out of bed every morning for it.

It’s funny, I can sit around the house all day, slogging along and allowing the funk to seep in. But the second I get myself outside doing something active, I start to feel more optimistic. It’s not so hard to be grateful when I’m out there. It’s getting myself there and making it a habit that’s the challenge. I suppose it all comes back to self discipline. What doesn’t, ya know?

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21 Responses

  1. I identify with a lot of these feelings. I too have fought low moods and melancholy my whole life (there is a lot of depression, bipolar and alcoholism in my genes so I fight!). Now I’m pregnant and feeling gross plus I’m on partial bed rest due to some complications. I feel my mood and fitness dropping like a rock.

    I thought of you when I read of a study that found there was no benefit of running beyond 5 minutes a day. Also, I’ve read that low impact, moderate exercise like yoga and walking led to more long term weight loss. Might be worth googling 🙂

    1. Every time I go out to walk, I end up running b/c I can’t resist. And them my foot gets worse again. LOL. But I know there’s a lot of benefit to walking. Although I think it bothers my foot almost as much as running. Or maybe I haven’t given it a chance bc I always end up running. I really need a race to train for or something to motivate me to her out there regularly. I know. Excuses … LOL

      1. I feel your frustration and “blues.” I had a back injury 2 years ago and I will never be the same. Where I live, we have bike paths that run for miles that I used to bike. Now, my back cannot tolerate the bending over the handle bars or the bumps in the road. Then I started walking…and tripped and tore my plantar fascia. The pain has never gone away and, even though I can walk, long distances make it flair up!

        My solution? I put my trusty bike on a trainer in my exercise room. I turn on a fan for a “breeze,” put on my headphones and bike! I don’t have to bend over the bars or worry about bumps! Ha! I usually watch a show on my cable app, or play a game on my iPad, or read while I’m “biking.” I know this helps me, I feel so much better when I do it….I get in a funk when I don’t! And I agree, once I hit 40, it’s been all down hill. 🙁

        I hope you find something that chases away the blues! Good luck!

        1. Bobbi: It’s great you have come up with an alternative to biking outside! Have you ever tried a recumbent bike? My husband got one last year and I resisted it at first, but the main thing I noticed is that I am not hunched over the handlebars.

  2. I commiserate with your need to exercise and fight the 40s body. Have you ever tried a Pilates reformer class? It’s not cardio, but a good class can give you strength, toning, stretching and with the right routine (especially on “the chair”) can give you a good sweat in a 50 minute class. I leave feeling like my body has been though a great massage (ok, maybe not always … The chair routine will make doing stairs the following days kind of painful:) I’m not sure where there are Pilates studios by you (I do it at my local Lifetime) and the classes are usually a pay-for class. But usually you can try it and see if you like it. Just trying to help as I know we all can hit that funk and need to do something for ourselves but often don’t know what. Hang in there!

    1. Thanks, I’m sure I could find one. I’m typically not one for classes, but maybe something like that would hold me accountable and I’m open to trying new things. I work with a personal trainer, but with both of our vacations, it’s been a few weeks. I go back tomorrow, so that will be good, at least. But I need cardio — preferably outside somewhere — for mental health.

      1. I second the recommendation of reformer Pilates. I LOVE the class and I am not a “group” workout kinda gal. I too am over 40 and a sidelined runner due to injury (big sigh). I so miss the solitude of a good run with my favourite music blaring through my earbuds and the comfort of the rhythmic pounding of my footsteps taking my mood higher and higher. The euphoric yet calm, clearheaded feeling after an early morning jog …ok I am obviously missing it!! Back to my point, I have tried a few Pilates and the reformer is my favourite! The reformer machine allows me to do things and build strength where I otherwise would not be able to. Hang in there! Be patient with yourself. Something will turn up that will be a suitable replacement for jogging.

  3. I’m so sorry you’re in a funk. I totally understand, having been there myself. And I know how exercise is such a mood lifter. For me, walking does the trick–a few miles every morning. If I skip too many days in a row, I start to wonder what’s wrong with me, and then I realize I haven’t walked in a while. I also feel great after lifting weights. Any chance you could walk on your bad foot? Or lift? Hang in there, Jo-Lynne. You won’t feel like this forever.

    1. Thanks, friend. I do think walking bothers my foot, but maybe not as much as running? And I do lift with a trainer, but I haven’t been there in a few weeks. So maybe starting back to that will be the pick-me-up I need.

  4. Hang in there. One of the things I have learned from Fibromyalgia ME?CFS is that my value goes far beyond my ability to perform. This week my trick ankle went out on me and I fell hard. Everything has been painful. There is so little I can accomplish and even grocery shopping has to be in one of those motorized carts. It hurts my pride for others to see me scooting around in one of those things. It hurts my pride to see my overworked husband go back to starting the laundry and cooking, especially since he lives with chronic pain as well. In the stillness my body requires right now, I find myself in prayer, rejoicing in the presence of my Jesus, warring for a pastor in trouble, praying about the class I’ll be teaching in a few weeks, snuggling with my not so little ones (since I can’t do much more). I even had a friend come over and help me clean out my closet from my bed (I also hate that nothing fits). What I can do, I am grateful I can do. When I can’t do, I am grateful that I can be. For years, my Lord kept reminding me, “You have become a human doing again…STOP! That’s not what I made you to be.” I honestly don’t realize my full worth before Him until I do stop. He needs nothing from me. He is fully self-sufficient. He made the universe. He loves me fully and more than I can imagine. It is enough.

  5. Yes, as we age, we are constantly adjusting to change. Always, since birth. Your kids miss sitting on your lap and feeling totally protected. They face mean kids and unfair teachers and a deep fear of failure every day. We all want to go back to the womb from time to time. But living is out here in the world and with others, and our only REAL job, every single day, is to love. That’s not really so hard. Start with yourself. You’ve survived and endured so much in your life already. So much change. Yes, if you were in your twenties again, your foot wouldn’t hurt. But do you also remember the hard periods of indecision and confusion? I’ve got 60 breathing down on my neck, but I don’t want to go back and relive a bit of my past. I am who I am now because of where I’ve been. I’ve got fat rolls and flab that make me look like a doughboy some days! You want a challenge?? Try to look stylish and attractive with that! Still, it’s the body that’s holding my soul, so I love it. Love your kids and family, that’s not hard. Give them an unexpected treat, take flowers or baked goods to a friend. The only REAL job is to love and be loved. Follow love, and unexpected great things will happen, even as we constantly change.

  6. I am sorry you are having a rough time right now. I can identify with a lot of your feelings. I thank you so much for sharing them. I have been following your blog now for a few months now and I have never commented before – actually I have never commented on any blog but I felt compelled to do so today. I really enjoy the variety of topics you write about and I admire your “realness” in your writing and your photos. Thank you!

  7. I have had foot issues for the last year and exercising was getting to be difficult. I read about the Melt Method. I have been trying this for the last few weeks and even though my feet are not back to normal I seem to be having more better days and this in turn lets me exercise more. This is like. I am determined not to change my dress size so it is a must that I can exercise. I should be thankful that I am able to get around well but I need exercise in my life to feel really good.


  8. I have commiserated with you as you update us on your PF. I’ve have it too , since last July, and as bad, if not worse, than my first bout on my other foot 12 years ago. Here’s my advice, exercise-wise: get thee to a spin class. I am not an outdoor bicyclist for all the reasons you already have written about. BUT, spin biking has no danger of getting struck by a car or falling off. You get 45 minutes to an hour of that intense cardio that you are missing, and it’s not too bad on the foot. Not perfect, but tolerable. Of course there are trade offs-no fresh air and instructor music choices that might not be your preference. But, it beats the alternative of no cardio exercise at all. I too dislike classes, and ended up finding a used spin bike and doing it at home. It worked for me.

  9. I can identify with this post. I’ve battled my weight my entire adult life. I’ve done just about every fad diet out there and I’ve tried to find an exercise regiment that I love and keeps me going back longer than a few months. In addition to working full time, raising 3 kids, cooking, cleaning and everything else that comes along with being a mom and wife. I am also over 40 and have started having a few physical issues, as well.

    I applaud you for finding something that you love. So I’m sure that finding something you love and not being able to do it, must be frustrating.

    I started doing Zumba roughly 6 months ago…and I love it. PF has been one of my issues as well but not to the severity as you’ve dealt with it. I pack my gym back at night and go straight after work 3 times a week and Saturday morning. I feel so strong and energetic

    So, it’s sad to say that I haven’t done Zumba in 2 weeks. And it’s not due to PF or any physical issue. It’s because life has become so darned busy, I can’t see straight!!

    We’ve had family in town visiting for a month straight. Every weekend for a month, various members of my husband’s side of the family have been in town. We live in Florida so this is where people come to visit. Not that I mind. I love that we’ve been able to see everyone. It’s been great. But I’m spread thin!!!

    And now school is starting. My oldest is starting college, one is entering HS and my baby is in 6th grade. And then September is around the corner…

    The month of September is a nightmare for me. I have a family of 5. Three of our birthdays are in September. Not to mention, our anniversary is also in September. And this September is our 20th!!!

    Over the years, I’ve had one big birthday/anniversary celebration to kill four birds with one stone (and to save me time, money and my sanity). But I’m afraid I can’t do that this year. My son will be 18. This is a milestone birthday for him. And married 20 years…that’s a milestone for us!!!

    So all that, to say this. I’m learning to be a little kinder to myself. Yes, I’ve missed 2 weeks of Zumba. And in years past, I would have beat myself up and wallowed in guilt. And probably ate horribly for a few days to make me (temporarily) feel better. Because that’s what I’ve done in the past. But I’m older and wiser now and I know that I’m not skipping out on Zumba because I just didn’t feel like going. I’m giving myself a break to deal with everything that has recently landed on my plate.

    And I made sure to buy loads of salad stuff for the week so that I’m not tempted in my busyness to go through a drive thru. I came home and chopped, peeled and prepped everything so NO EXCUSES!!

    I know it’s frustrating but I have to agree with your ‘be grateful’ sentiment. I’m grateful that I’m consciously aware of my over-eating tendencies and the ability to be proactive. I know myself better than ever so I’m taking away the obstacles that have tripped me up in the past. And I’m also giving myself a break. I’m only human. I’m grateful for the strength He blessed me with. I’m grateful.

  10. I have problems with my knees and cant run and have gone through the funk you are talking about. Have you tried spinning? I love it and when I work hard can get the same sweat going and gets my endorphins up just like running did. Praying you will find just what your body needs:)

  11. I’m new to your blog and not sure what happened to your foot but I can relate. For about 10 years, up until a year or so ago, I was always training for a marathon. I was up before the sun to get my workouts in before work, no ifs, ands or buts, rain or shine or snow. I hadn’t run a race in awhile and have lost that push to get out of bed to run. Instead I stay up too late and sleep until it’s time to get ready for work. I signed up for 20K race I’ve done the last 14 years so have been trying to up my mileage. I’m slow, very humbling! But, at least I am still running at 50+. Biking is great too, glad you’re able to get on yours. Hope you’re on the mend. Thanks for the post!

  12. I can relate to this post – especially lately. I constantly suffer from a low level of anxiety, and when I don’t exercise regularly, it really rears up. With summer schedules and some nagging injuries, I hadn’t been sticking to my exercise schedule, and it showed. Then in July a very good friend had a body surfing accident in Hawaii, and he is paralyzed from the neck down. His prognosis is unknown, but he is showing small signs of improvement. It made me realize how lucky I am to be able to use my body, even if it’s not exactly the way I wish I could. Hang in there – you will work through this and find something that makes you happy!

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