This second week of being grounded ( i.e. in quarantine) has been an interesting transitional time for me. Being forced to curtail my usual distractions has given me an opportunity to get in touch with myself in ways I think will be of lasting benefit to my body, mind and spirit. Since I have a few more days here, I will stick with the first one, my presently beleaguered corpus, and leave the other two for a subsequent post..
All this sitting is hard. Really, it’s the hardest part. Occasionally during my regular life I will veg for a day or two, a but typically I am out and about, and it is a rare day in which I don’t walk a few miles, if nothing more. I see now how much that affects my sense of my age. A few more weeks of this, and I will indeed feel my seventies in a way I normally don’t.
Not being able to exercise is the best possible reminder of how important using my body is to my well being. I see going to the gym as a way of meet-and-greet with my body. Hello arms, hello shoulders, hello legs! Even on days when I have had to drag myself to the gym, I am always glad for that check-in with myself.Far more hellos to my abs and back are definitely in order when I am out of here!
Like so many people, I am not happy with my post-Covid body. I loathe tiny workout rooms, and I am not the type to get down on the floor and do crunches, so I have had long hiatuses from gyms while on cruises. Whenever I got back, I bemoaned how much ground I had lost, how little stamina I had, how much less weight I could handle on the equipment—the whole gamut of remorse. No more! I am going to say, without judgment, “this is the baseline. Beloved body, let’s work on it from here.”
Fitness is one part of the toll Covid has taken on my body, but something I have learned over the decades is how aging redistributes weight. I kept enough clothing in the back of my closet over the years, as my weight fluctuated, to know that even when I got back to the point where a jacket or dress ought to fit, it just didn’t anymore. I know some women who have managed to keep their shape from changing too much, through fanatical efforts at fitness, the help of hormone replacement drugs, and expensive nips and tucks, but I am not going there. I accept that this is my body at 71. I can make it fitter, but I can’t get back through diet and exercise the waist, flat belly, and tight upper arms I once had. I need to embrace this in the same way I do my six inches of gray hair. It’s what I really look like naturally now, and that’s fine. Aging gracefully..That’s the thing.
And speaking of weight, one of the things I tossed when I simplified my life was my scale. I don’t know how much I weigh, and I’m not going to find out, because I will bring unnecessary judgment on myself. It’s not so drastic that I have to replace my wardrobe. I just can’t wear some of my clothes anymore.
Considering how much life changed with Covid, I have done fairly well, even if almost nothing with a button closure, top or bottom, still fits. Even if I hadn’t done this well, it would still be okay. I am working very hard right now on banishing self-judgment. I hadn’t realized how much the opinions of others about my appearance still mattered to me, or how narrow my parameters were for feeling good about how I looked. I still care. That’s probably not going to change. Still, now I think that when I look in the mirror I will notice more how I am taking care of myself, rather than how anyone else will judge me. And with that in mind, I took the photo at top today (wow, do I ever need a haircut!)
Thank you, body, for getting me through Covid. Enough of the horrified looks in the mirror. Enough of the fear of the bathing suit. You look just fine, and my guess is you will soon look better not because I am unhappy with you but because soon you will come more into line with the way I usually live. And if I don’t fit into all my clothes, I’ll let someone else have them. Fitting into my life is far more important.