I was rudely awoken this morning an hour before my alarm was set to go off by a stinky cat bum in my face. I got up and cleaned her up and realized that I was not going to get back to sleep. So, what do you do at 5 am on a Friday morning? My usual choices would have been
1. to climb back into bed, steal the covers back from my husband and lay there for an hour, perhaps falling back to sleep 15 minutes before the alarm would go off
2. to head into work, getting there almost 2 hours early
3. to fall back asleep on the sofa in front of the tv and wind up running late, panicked and grumpy.
Now I have a new choice to add to that list: go to the gym. A little over a month ago I joined a fancy schmancy gym. The point of joining this particular one, the most expensive in my city was to do exactly what I did this morning. They are open pretty much 24/7 and there is a women's only pool there that is open from 4 am to midnight every day but Sunday. I was in the pool this morning by ten to six and swam lengths for a half an hour, before relaxing in the hot tub for a few minutes. I was showered and on the road to work with a breakfast smoothy from the gym's coffee bar by 7 am.
Once upon a time, even if I had had this option, I wouldn't have taken it. Now I'm finding that movement, whether it's a Monday night Zumba class, a lunchtime walk with a co-worker, or an early morning swim, is becoming a necessity for me. It's a really great feeling, and is a reawakening of how I used to feel many years ago when I danced fifteen hours a week. What's really neat to realize (as I did in the pool this morning - swimming is also a great time for thinking) is that I am also not restricting myself to one moving thing a day. I didn't think "Well, I could go for a swim, but I'm planning to go to belly dancing tonight, so I don't really need to." So today, I swam, and I'll go for a walk at lunch, and I'll go to belly dancing tonight. Tomorrow I'll go to a Pilates class. I may not get to the gym on Sunday, but I may wake up feeling the need to move, and if I do I will, but if I don't, I won't beat myself up over it (which is also a new thing - giving myself permission to do exactly what I need to do for me).
I am really enjoying the discovery of me, and my body, and what it is still capable of, even after all the years of struggle and neglect and pain.