Gymnasics; you know that sport which combines flexibility, strength and balance? Never my strong suit.
That week in elementary school when they pulled out all the big mats and trampolines in gym always filled me with trepidation. I was a big fan of the sawhorse thingy we got to jump over, but everything else was rather rough. Cartwheels are my nemesis… I’m a 30 something year old woman who can’t complete one successfully. It’s pretty sad.
But I digress. (The above was simply an obvious ploy for sympathy about my childhood klutziness.. hey, can’t hurt me to have you all on my side. There is some serious humble-bragging ahead, I’m afraid.)
Life is really a continual series of gymnastics as I see it… requiring those same three elements to navigate it with the least amounts of bruises and broken bones. Some come naturally, some require practice and repetition, and some simply seem impossible to me.
A good friend once told me that I was a social chameleon. As she described it, I had the ability to soak up the general feeling of a room, know the atmosphere, the vibe, the characters involved, and then seamlessly meld into it. Even if the event or people weren’t my ideal situation, I could blend into it and get through it gracefully. (And here I always thought awkward was my jam. Also, does this mean I would make a good spy?)
The thing is, I LIKE change.
I like new. I like different. I heartfully enjoy learning about new people, places, and things. So being flexible and adjusting easily to changing tides is something I LIKE to do.
I’m fairly open-minded, which helps I suppose. (Except when it comes to bad texting grammar… then you are out like trout.) And I was raised in an open-minded and accepting household. And I do believe that moving at the age of 14 did have a strong impact on this, versus staying in the same environment for my entire upbringing.
So being flexible just isn’t one of those things that I’ve really ever had to think about. Sure, I have moments when I am less than pleased at an abrupt change in plans. I think I’m getting less flexible with age, typical but something I want to fight.
I may never have been good at doing the sit-and-reach in gym, but I want to maintain my flexibility in life. So I’ll keep stretching as much as I can. I’m not sure what that means for anyone else (sorry), but I have a pretty good idea what works for me.
Once again reiterating the fact that this blog is most definitely not an advice column, (seriously, I don’t know what anyone else should do and often am not even sure regarding myself) this isn’t one I know how to acquire. Strength of spirit and character, especially in the knowledge, comfort and happiness of who you are, is tricky.
I’m a simple creature in many ways, generally confident and content in me. Which gives me strength. I have a very supportive family, had a easy, loving childhood, and have generally gotten what I want in life, through either dumb luck or hard work. I would make a really boring Lifetime TV movie. I have no where near enough material for a whole mini-series.
Even when my sense of me (and therefore strength in spirit) has been tried and tested, I have always had a solid net of people to catch me and lift me back up. Sometimes strength needs a booster shot from the outside world. It does take strength to admit you need a little pick-me-up. And I’ve never really been dropped. My spotters are solid.
I’ve been lucky. I know this. And I appreciate it.
But it makes it difficult, nay impossible, to help anyone else gain this element.
And strength within yourself will see you through many a challenge. When you get knocked down, existing muscle will help you heal much quicker.
(AKA: the section in which all the humble-bragging comes to a screeching halt.)
Just like that highly complicated maneuver mentioned earlier that I have never been able to perform (cartwheels are TRICKY, guys), balance is the hardest one for me. I can be strong within who I am and can shift on a dime, but I may be one of the worst people in the world at maintaining a balance in my life.
Between work, family, friendships, health, romance, and personal time, the days fill up fast.
And I tend to be overzealous, binging on professional focuses or gorging on friendship time while getting personal time scurvy. I have a balance disorder in my calendar, seeming to play scheduling whack-a-mole with each of those essential elements… ignoring them completely until they pop up to startle me, then overaggressively attacking them to the demise of all else.
Let’s just say it’s not my strong suit, shall we?
So how does one work on balance? More core work? What does that even mean? (Guess I’m sticking with this slightly awkward, jock-tastic metaphor I have set up for this post.)
Maybe there is something in that core work concept, though. A healthy core contains a bit of everything. Proper ab routines address not just your lower core but your sides, your upper abdominals, your back strength… all of the parts need to be exercised equally.
I just need to get my calendar routine more in check. Otherwise I’ll be like that dude in the gym (you know the type) who only works out his upper body and has spectacular arms…… but sad chicken legs. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want sad chicken legs family life or an emaciated romantic life either.
No, I want to rock the balance beam like a pro.
Get Thyself to the Gym
So I guess, all and all, I’ve discovered that I am mostly awesome. Which I believe everyone should feel about themselves, because everyone really is amazing in their own ways. But I need some work, a commonality also shared with the entirety of mankind.
So I’ll keep working on my balance.
And maybe someday that glorious cartwheel can be actualized.