As our kids were growing up, I kept hearing how great it would be to have an Empty Nest. Bittersweet, for sure, but overall nice to live as an adult again instead of “so-and-so’s mom”. And at first, it was a really nice change of pace. The peace and quiet, the lower grocery (and water!) bills, the reduced housework.
But all that reduction has also meant a dramatic decrease in my physical activity. Without the need to haul massive bags of groceries, overflowing laundry baskets, or armfuls of someone else’s stuff, I have found myself getting more and more out of shape. Even housework doesn’t offer as good of a workout anymore, since the two of us don’t make much of a mess – I do a lot less bending over to pick up stuff of the floor, make fewer trips thru the house, and even washing up the dishes only takes a couple minutes.
I’m not about to hire myself out as a housekeeper just to get more exercise, lol, but it dawned on my that this is a seriously overlooked part of the Empty Nester. I can’t even begin to imagine how many squats and toe-touches I’ve done in my nearly 30 years of raising children, just to pick up toys, stray socks, and homework folders. The occasional visit of the grandlittle doesn’t make up for the days and days where I don’t have to pick up a single thing from the floor except my own shoes.
And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that once you start getting soft, it’s easy to stay soft… After all, exercise is hard! It’s exhausting! So much easier to just relax on the couch and watch an episode of something on the streaming service of choice while enjoying my admittedly sedentary hobbies.
Buuuutttt – getting older is not for the faint of heart, and I am well aware of how poor lifestyle choices can greatly shorten your days above ground. After dabbling in a few things that either hurt my knees or that I just couldn’t get myself motivated to do reliably on my own, I took myself to a local gym.
Now there’s a plan. Something designed for the perimenopausal, overweight, out of shape, working female of questionable dedication. Someone is assigned to check in with me, to schedule classes (there’s already several on my calendar), to hold me accountable so I can create a new routine that makes me stronger. We have a plan of attack to find those muscles that I’ve allowed to grow dormant and weak. It’s gonna hurt (my pride, mostly), but I don’t like what I see in the mirror, or how I feel going up a flight of stairs.
The first couple of classes have been pretty brutal. I am an absolute beginner again, which is hard to accept when so many other areas of my life show the results of a lot of hard work. I can knit the most complicated cable or lace but can’t do a full regular push-up. I have a long road ahead of me, but all winter to work up to some warm-weather hikes!