Over the past year and a half, I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery. I haven’t completed said journey as of yet – there is still much to learn. I had set the goal for myself of working towards ‘getting in shape’ by the age of 40th on my 35th birthday. I was sick of complaining at my husband all the time about how I was feeling – tired, lazy and rundown. The problem with a ‘goal’ like this one is that it leaves much to the imagination in terms of what it actually means. Does it mean 6-pack abs or a healthy relationship with food or walking 12,000 steps per day or eating ‘more’ vegetables or … the list goes on and on. I still don’t really know what ‘getting in shape’ means – I’m more confused than ever! But I’m on this road. This path to self-discovery. And I’ve learned a few things.
First, it’s okay not to know or have the answers. I continually try new things in an effort to figure out what I need and want from life. My family says I’m idealistic and a bit of a dreamer. I don’t mind. It means I’m trying things. I’m figuring it out. Spit-balling. I love spit-balling. Nothing has to come out of brainstorming except a ton of ideas and sometimes (like Wool n’ Spinning), good things (great even!) come out of it. I realised that over the past year, I’ve steadily pushed my making to the side in favour of adding more and more physical activity to my plate. Over the summer, I thought a lot about how I want to spend my time going forward: Do I want to spend my time at the gym? Spinning and knitting? Housework and household activities? Nothing? Nursing more?
This brought me to my second thing I’ve learned. Six-pack abs will not make me happy. A woman I know is very unhappy. There have been some major life events happen to her that have left her unhappy. She has chosen to pursue a very competitive athletic training schedule. She now has her dream: 6-pack abs. But she’s still not happy. She still doesn’t find much joy from her life. She is still struggling immensely. But, she has 6-pack abs you might say?! But she didn’t work on herself. I’m learning on this complex journey that while being active and ridiculously strong is a good thing for longevity and health, it won’t make you happy. It can help, but it won’t bring you joy from working on the ‘head’ part of the equation – the mental and emotional health. I’ve started journalling almost daily again, which I did for years and years from the time I was 13 years old but got away from it when I was a new mom. Now, I’ve rekindled my desire to write my thoughts down – and man, does it help sift through the thoughts, ideas, wants and needs!
Thoughts, ideas, wants and needs. That’s complex. What is it that we want in life? What fulfills us? How do we attain that? There’s part of me that wants to just live off-grid and bury my head in the sand. There’s another part of me that loves knowing what’s happening in the world (for better or for worse), connecting with people all around the world, and making items that I will cherish for my life. Making the odd toque and blanket, and mitts and scarves for the kids. I enjoy the quiet time that allows me to sit and write, which is the perfect outlet for reflecting on my spinning. At the end of the day, a creative life fills me, but also my nursing helps to feed the side of me that needs to nurture and care-for. Being a mom and wife fills the need for family and closeness. Taking time from my day to go lift some weights, squat and lunge, and laugh with the women I workout with at 5am (yup, you read that right) each day gives me the physical strength, camaraderie and friendship that keeps us alive, joyful and healthy year-after-year.
While this all might sound really idealistic and ‘perfect’ – like I’ve figured it all out, it’s also a reminder to myself that life is ever-changing. While it would be nice to train 4-6 hours per day in the gym, the reality is there are other things that give my life meaning. Training is a part of my life – it’s not my life.
I hope that you are trying new things, stretching yourself and constantly figuring out who you are – it’s a long journey and as corny as it sounds, I’m trying to take it in as best I can. My career job as a trauma nurse has certainly taught me that life is fragile, not to be taken for granted.
And with that, the kids are finally asleep and I’m going to do a little more plying before I call it a night!