As I was walking the other day, I started thinking about how far I can walk now—so thankful for every step. Several months ago I took the “5K Your Way Walking Challenge” here on SP. I faithfully did each day’s challenge until my “5K Day” arrived. I had not signed up for an established race, but I’d had set a goal for myself alone. I chose the day according to when the challenge would be up and also the place. There’s a town about 25 minutes from me on a river that has a beautiful waterfront walking/running trail. Part of the trail has a brick walkway and the other part is a boardwalk over the water.
This was the place I chose for my first ever 5K. This was a very special day for me because not too many years ago I was told not to walk for exercise due to severe pain in my lower spine.
I’ve always had pain in my lower back even as a little child, but never knew why. I did all the playing a young child does. I did hard work on our family farm all my growing up years. I did cheerleading in high school. I married and had six children over a course of sixteen years and had back labor with each child. I took a fitness course with AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America) and taught aerobics for free for many years; all the while I suffered some back pain, but I was in good shape.
But, life happens. As you can imagine my life was very busy raising six children, but it got even busier. Ironically, I used to tell my aerobics girls they were not being selfish. They felt guilty about coming to aerobics class because it was taking time away from their families. I told them that it was FOR their families that they should come because by being healthy and strong they were better able to care for their families. They had to take care of themselves first in order to do that.
Well, guess what went by the wayside when my life got VERY busy. Yep, my own health. I tried to continue some of my exercises, even though I wasn’t teaching any more. Then, due to a fall, I started having knee problems that ended in two surgeries within six months. That ended my exercising completely for a while. As a result, my back started hurting more and more. And my momentum for exercising diminished.
I won’t continue with this story of woe, but I thought you needed a little background that led up to the title of this blog. I have exercised some over the years. I borrowed an old stationery bike and used that for therapy on my knee until I could buy my own recumbent bike. I started getting better, but the consistency and the motivation just weren’t there like it used to be.
Because of my perfectionist mentality, I kept thinking if I couldn’t do everything like I used to, it wasn’t good enough. If I couldn’t do 45 minutes of aerobics at one time, it wasn’t doing any good. I had this attitude that it had to be all or nothing! And most of the time, it ended up being nothing.
And my back just kept getting worse and worse. But now I’ve finally built up enough strength to walk for exercise again. But I had to do it in spite of the pain. But, hey, I did it! I first had to kick that perfectionist attitude to the curb. The 5K Your Way Walking Challenge helped me to do that.
So, back to the “What Ifs”. I thought about all this as I was walking the other day. What if I’d continued with my program? What if I’d not fallen? What if I had taken the time for myself like I’d told my aerobics class girls? Where would my health be today if I had done what I KNEW to do?
BUT! I told myself I couldn’t live in that place of what ifs. That was yesterday and yesterday is the past. I cannot do anything at all to change it. I can only learn from it. The lyrics from one of my favorite songs says it this way:
“Yesterday’s a closing door. You don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been. Tell your heart to beat again . . . So get back up, take one step. Leave the darkness, feel the sun. ‘Cause your story’s far from over, and your journey’s just begun.” (Danny Gokey)
So I choose NOT to live in the land of What Ifs! I choose to forget what lies behind me. The good and the bad. The good part about being an aerobics instructor and being in the best shape of my life (even after six children). The bad part about not doing what I could to improve my health then so I’d be in better shape now. That was then; this is now.
So today and tomorrow and the next I will be thankful for what I can do NOW. I am able to walk a 5K several days a week! Now that’s progress! And I will press on from the here and now to make my life and health better day by day, one step at a time.
I've tried to add the link to the song several times, but it won't link. The song title is Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey.