Sunday, July 08, 2007

Get A Hobby

For once my husband was right. Yes, I'm admitting it here for the world to know.

Last night, after my harrowing day, we talked for a while in bed about what was going on with me and why I was such a mental case. I tried to explain it to him this way: I'm doing this Intuitive Eating thing, which means I'm eating what I want, but it also means I'm trying to find ways to stop using food in negative ways: numbing, punishing, or treating myself. The more work I do with this, the more I realize I have to become a more conscious person, and I'm becoming more and more aware of my need for silence and meditation.

I explained to him that this hectic, go-go-go lifestyle, this constant noise and togetherness is exhausting me mentally. I described myself as a cell phone whose battery reading is on its last bar. With everyone home this summer and so little alone time, it's like putting that phone on the charger for five minutes and expecting the battery to be at full strength again. It just isn't working. But I don't know how to solve it.

At first my husband's response to this felt way off, but the more I thought about it, I realized he had really hit on something I've been letting slide.

"We do so much to please other people all the time," he said to me. "You need to do something for yourself. When I think about it, is there anything, other than reading or blogging a little, that you do that you really enjoy? I think you need to get a hobby."

Get a hobby. When I first heard this I wanted to punch him! Hobby?!? I'm going through major mental issues here, my plate is already overflowing with family and work responsibilities and he wants me to load on some more things to do? How about some of our family members get some hobbies so we don't have to do so much with them and keep them entertained? Oh, here's a hobby for me -- how about husband smacking?

But the more we talked, the more I realized he was right. I told him I used to do needlework (needlepoint and counted cross stitch) and worked for years on a novel, but once I got Mabel those past times fell by the wayside when all my free time became dominated with baby things, chasing a toddler around then chauffeuring my busy bee to her lessons and meetings.

I told him how I've been thinking a lot about finding a yoga class in our area, and that every summer I bemoan the fact that I never get around to finding my bicycle and getting out on the Allegheny Highlands Trail.

"Well, now you can," he said. "I'm here to help with Mabel. Do some of these things."

So guess what. This morning I was in the mood for waffles and was in the middle of putting them together when I realized I was out of oil. I called my mom, who had some, and I just happened to ask her if my bike was out at her place. Yes, it was.

I was out there in a few minutes' time, and before long we had my bike hauled out of her garage. I felt so bad -- it was filthy from being forgotten for two years, and some rust had begun to spread here and there. Mom assured me it would clean up fine with some soap and a little steel wool.

After filling the tires with air I took it home (yes, my independent, self-sufficient mother has an air compressor in her garage), and this morning after my waffles, I scrubbed it down and was thrilled to see that nearly all of the rust came off with a little scrubbing. After it dried I oiled up the gears and I took it for a ride around the neighborhood.

I bought this bike back in 2003, when I was still in the 290-300 range. I was in the very early stages of getting physically active, and I decided this sounded fun. The main selling point of this specific bike was its big seat, for my big seat. I had done enough work at the gym by that point that I could actually do pretty well on the bike, even at that size. The hills were tough and my quads screamed with the effort, but I could still do it. Then I met my fiance, got married, and since then my bike has been lodged away in my mom's barn, gathering dust and collecting hay in the tire spokes. But no more. I need to buy another helmet, and I have to remember how to work my bike rack, but otherwise, I am ready, to paraphrase the words of Freddy Mercury in the AFG anthem "Fat Bottomed Girls,"
"Get on my bike and ride!"

1 comment:

Jen said...

good for you! I've been thinking about getting a bike, too. I live right on our trail system, so I would have a good, smooth, safe place to ride.