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July 23, 2010

Fryday Five

1) Shocking Developments
It has taken six full weeks but something has finally clicked. It happened this week. Suddenly my walks went from being an obligation (something I knew I should do) to what I most look forward to all day. That is insane in the membrane. I'm not sure what happened. I think it's taken this long just to get past the physical acclimation (going from desk jockey and top-notch couch holder-downer to daily exerciser was not an easy transition.)

For those of you who love and enjoy exercise you can skip the rest of this. I myself haven't really enjoyed exercise in years. For one thing, when you have a tight schedule it feels like one more item you have to fit in your limited free time and add to the growing to-do list. And that's irritating. The other issue was that I had gotten so out of shape even a short walk was a huff-n-puff affair and all it did was reconfirm the bad feelings I had about my weight and health.

But for the past five-almost-six weeks I've really stuck to it, plodding through the first weeks with short one-mile walks that took almost forty minutes. Even now I'm not going to win any races, I still clock about an 18-minute mile, but I'm edging past three and a half miles each morning and I've gone from feeling like a wounded blob afterward to feeling more energetic than before I started. Can you believe that?

So, if you too are completely out of shape and hate the very idea of slogging up the block and back I think it will get easier. It took me six long weeks. But something turned over inside me. Crazypants.

2) Which is how I found myself in the sand yesterday
After I walked yesterday morning I showered and got dressed and had breakfast and did some writing and this and that I sat at my desk and looked outside where the sun was just starting to break through. It was just so pretty. And when I thought about the day ahead the one thing I wanted to do more than anything else in the entire world was to walk along the beach. So I did! I threw a few things into a beach bag, slipped on my flip-flops and I was off to Malibu Lagoon.

It was a spectacular day, with plenty of lovely wildlife in the bird sanctuary:


And plenty of other goodlooking wildlife, too:


I walked the whole length of the shore to the pier and back and then sat in the sand and read a book for a while. Sometimes I just sat and did nothing at all. I loved watching the surfers paddling and bobbing in the ocean. I loved listening to the waves crashing and foaming on shore.

One of the perks of walking so long in the sand is that your feet get all smoothed and buffed, it's nature's best pedicure.

My flintstone feet love the sand:

Yes, yoga pants at the beach. It was 68 degrees!

3) This book I'm reading is pretty good
I took Women Food and God with me to the beach. (What a load to carry! Thank you, I'll be here all week, tip your waitress.)

I've read just about every book Geneen Roth has written (I even went to one of her workshops back about 15 years ago) and I like this book, though I don't think it's going to resonate with everyone. Well, not that anything ever does.

The one thing inside this book that jumped out at me the most was a quote that's not even from Geneen Roth, it's from the writer Annie Dillard:

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."

Ain't that the truth.

4) Maybe I should re-evaluate all that teevee time?

I got some very excellent emails yesterday, this one made me feel relieved to see that it's not me, it's Design Star's fault:

I'm mostly a lurker on your site, but I just wanted to tell you that you are SO right about HGTV Design Star. My husband and I have watched every season of that show, and we really thing it has gone down hill this season. They got a new producer, the guy from Survivor, and we think that's the cause. The whole dynamic of the show seems really different now - it seems like Survivor with some paint thrown in! I wish it was more like last season. Anyway, it was nice to see that we aren't alone in being disappointed in this season. --Melissa

AHA! So they changed producers, and now that you mention the Survivor thing it does seem like Survivor with paint chips. How annoying. It used to be such a good show and I still love David Bromstad. But maybe I should take back that one hour of my life and let go of Design Star. Maybe.

Also thank you to everyone who assured me I am not alone in my Real Housewives of New Jersey trance. Why is it so compelling? Why?

5) And for your weekend, I leave you with these...
Just want to share some of the beautiful beach with you! I only live about 30 miles from the coastline (up the 101 and across Topanga Canyon) but I'm embarrassed to admit I rarely go to the beach, maybe just two or three times a year if that. If you park on PCH it's free, and that fresh air and sunshine and sand are so good for you, it's a great way to spend an afternoon.

I think the very best thing that has happened to me in the past six weeks -- well aside from not feeling like I'm about to die when I walk a block and a half -- is that I have actually relaxed. Intellectualy I realize that you make a choice each day how to react, to live, to be and all that. But in reality when you're spread thin and full to the very limit with anxiety and worry and exhaustion it's hard to choose good feelings. This little break has given me my life back. There's a purely Puritanical streak inside me that feels guilty for enjoying a day off work but I'm successfully ignoring it. Why feel guilty about enjoying a day? After all, like the lady says, how you spend your days is how you spend your life.

I'm sure I could wake up each morning in a panic over money and the future and all that (oh trust me, I know how to do that REALLY WELL) but instead I'm actively choosing to look at all the good stuff. There's even some great stuff. It was there all along but I was so tired and worn out I couldn't see it. The anxiety has diminished and I just wake up loving the luxury of time, knowing nothing lasts forever, I might as well enjoy it while I can. I don't think I am explaining it very well. All I can say for sure is that I don't feel like a tightly coiled spring that's about to explode anymore. When I talk to my friends they say, "Even your voice is different." Nothing is perfect -- I feel obligated to add that -- but still. It is actually possible to be in an imperfect, unsure, not-perfectly-stable place and still feel OK. Who would have thunk it.

I hope you enjoy the this little trip to the beach as much as I did!





Posted by laurie at July 23, 2010 9:25 AM