I’ve always been on the fence about Valentine’s Day – love the cute pink hearts and chocolate, but as a single woman, there were many years when I wanted to grab that stupid arrow out of Cupid’s chubby little hands and stab myself with it. I realize now, however, why some genius at Hallmark over-commercialized and capitalized on it – we need that burst of color and hope of love and happiness plunked down in the middle of the cold, dreary days of February. I guess that’s why CVS puts out Easter stuff on February 15, next to the Valentine’s clearance rack. We need something to propel us forward through March – something to look forward to besides pretending to be Irish and drinking our faces off on March 17. By March 17, who isn’t ready to belly up and drink themselves into oblivion? Luck of the Irish be damned – we are tired of boots and shovels and mittens and scarves and salt and chafing skin. Cheers to flip flops and margaritas and boogie boards.
In this ‘tween’ time, we have high hopes for doing constructive, productive things like cleaning out our closets, finally getting around to doing something with those stacks of baby photos before the kids go off to college, painting the kitchen and joining Weight Watchers (who doesn’t want to look like Jennifer Hudson?). It’s hard, however, to muster the kind of energy that involves anything other than carbs or couches. I’m counting down the days to our wedding, and every day I tell myself that this is going to be the day that I start getting into shape and staring the scale down, but then the sweet siren song of the pantry begins to gently grab hold of me. Damn her.
The bright side is that I have lots of tween tasks that provide me an excuse to spend countless hours on Pinterest, etsy, and Wedding Wire which makes my couch happy. I keep telling myself that as soon as Spring joins us, I’ll REALLY kick things up a notch and do more than wave at my sneakers as I walk past them to grab my Ugg slippers out of the closet. Maybe I’ll sign up for a race or half marathon. Maybe I’ll grab my laptop and research upcoming races. That’s progress, right? Actually – maybe this tween time is supposed to be about mental preparation and rest. This is a good time to set your goals, create your plans, and make your lists. Then, when the time is right, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. For me, that will be literally – hit the ground running. For now, I’m cruising Athleta.com and Zappos for the right attire and perfect shoes. If I get a burst of energy, I may jump in the car and head to Pacers. Whew – I’m exhausted just thinking about it. I did manage to set up my FitBit so I can start measuring my progress. Hopefully, steps to the fridge count towards my goal.
Personally, I think tween time is supposed to include some downtime. I think that is why God invented snow storms and the flu, frankly. Both are meant to keep us on the couch. Picture God’s hand reaching out to give you a little thump on your forehead – “Hey, you. I tried a little dusting of snow to keep you inside. Instead – that inspired you to call up ten friends and invite them over for Jello shots, chili and a case of Corona. Now how about I throw in some cold sweats, coughing and body aches? Will that keep you down so you can get some rest?” I keep telling myself that this tween time is meant to rejuvenate and refresh, and I still have plenty of time to do and accomplish. I’m a procrastinator, however, so that is my life’s mantra – there’s always tomorrow! When tomorrow comes, I’m a furious producer and crammer. Works great for exams and Old Town Crier deadlines, but less good for things like getting in shape and/or losing weight. Sigh.
The other lesson in the tween time is acceptance. Accepting things how they are – but more importantly, accepting yourself how you are in this moment. I keep reminding myself that XXL loves me exactly as I am. He doesn’t care how many alterations I need to fit in my dress. I put that pressure on myself – and coincidentally, I put that same pressure on him. Instead of focusing on all the things we’ve accomplished to get to this moment, I find myself focusing on what I haven’t done. (Self-flagellation, anyone?). It’s a hard lesson and one – at least for me – that requires daily practice. A friend of mine recently got married and her words of wisdom to me were to enjoy the moment. She had a BEAUTIFUL wedding, but she said one of her regrets was that at times she felt mired down by her ‘to do’ list so much so that she often lost sight of her own happiness. Hmmm. So – maybe balance is the key. I’ll focus on my lists and balance it with downtime. Focus, balance and rest. Hey – anyone seen my yoga mat? How many calories can I burn with a downward dog?
I’m going back in my cave until Spring; I’ll come out when I hear the whirl of blenders.
Written by: Lori Welch