I’m not sure exactly when it happened, really.
I was trying to find it in me to get myself back on track. I wasn’t feeling at all good about my progress. I was 53 years young at the time, looking matronly, feeling sluggish. I was teaching martial arts – teaching, mind you, not directly participating. I cleaned house, did the laundry, cooked dinner, all before I scurried off to my second shift job. I was active in church. I did walk my dog, Kovu, but every time I tried to go alone, I’d become guilt ridden because I left him behind. (Never look back, or you’ll be tortured by sad puppy eyes!)
More than that, in my eyes I was a fraud. How could I be a leader of any team, especially one with smart, sassy ladies, when I couldn’t place myself at a higher standard?
I backed away from Spark People. I lost interest in Sparks, so it seemed I lost interest in myself. Drat that foolish pride!
During my sabbatical, an epiphany, a spark, if you will.
I was at my nearest YMCA, heading over to the nearest weight machine to do anything to whip myself back to something acceptable, when I glanced to my left. There was an aerobics class going on. Through the glass, you could see how much fun everyone was having. Curious, I wandered over to look. It was a Zumba class. I had the DVDs at home, but had never seen a live class up close and personal. The participants of all ages and fitness levels were getting it! Smiling. Dancing. Having fun.
I quietly slipped in and got on the back row. I was puffing, my two left feet stumbling over themselves, but the music was hot and the energy was contagious.
Over the next few weeks, I was on the front row cutting up and shakin’ my groove thing.
A few weeks later, one of my party girls asked me if I wanted to teach.
Long story short, I became a certified Zumba instructor and began teaching at the Y.
Today, I viewed 60 or so seniors working out to the Silver Sneakers. I was in awe. There was joy as each man and woman moved to his or her own pace, sitting, leaning on chairs, going at it without props. Light weights. A ball. A light resistance band. Movement. Pleasure in the moment.
And I saw beautiful. I didn’t see frail – yes, we see our older citizens as “less than” at times, but I saw strength and vitality which left a smile on my face.
Which lead me to embrace my laugh lines, my full belly, my own movement. I am a soon-to-be senior, extra weight or not.
And I saw beautiful. Today, I saw beautiful!
I vowed to be as resilient as they.
Promise you will see yourself as beautiful, no matter what stage in life you are. For every time you tell yourself a negative, there is someone close to you saying the opposite.
As I watched the Silver Sneakers class, I saw myself beautiful. If it’s the Lord’s will, I will strive to do what they do, staying active and loving life!