Happy Wednesday friends! The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. Today is a new day, and with that comes the wonderful opportunity to expect the unexpected. It is so good for you to be here on This Darling Adventure. Welcome, welcome!
Well, today we have the wonderful privilege of talking about whatever. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Whatever Wednesdays, it is the day of the week we set aside to pick a random topic and run with it. So this week out subject matter is… wait for it… drumroll please…. living well (a.k.a. health and wellness)!
Before you decide this week’s Whatever Wednesday is not for you, please hear me out. My intention in this is not to guilt you into working out more. Nor is my intention to “show off” and act like I have it all together when it comes to health and wellness. Those motivations could not be further from the truth. No matter where you are or what your physical health and wellness is like today, I want to encourage you in that place. I want to share with you what I have discovered in taking steps today leading to a healthier (and more adventurous) lifestyle tomorrow.
So, let’s begin.
Those who know Andy and I know that we like to stay active. We enjoy hiking up glorious mountains, snorkeling in the vast ocean with dolphins, playing intramural sports with our friends and coworkers, and soaking up every opportunity to go for a stroll in our neighborhood. It is just what we do.
But this hasn’t been a recent development. For me, I’ve always been athletic. I took six years of dance when I was a little girl. Then through high school I played volleyball and found my passion for working out. By the time I got to college, I knew that my body functioned best when it was active, so I started to run. One mile turned into five and pretty soon that turned into nine. Needless to say, I was in shape.
The problem, though, in all of this was my motivation. At first, the reason why I wanted to work out was so that I could be a better athlete. I wanted to hit the ball harder in volleyball. I wanted to perform better in games. I wanted to be the best that I could be. After my days of playing volleyball competitively ended, though, my motivation for going to the gym changed. I no longer just wanted to be a better athlete, I actually felt I needed to go to the gym to feel good about myself. It became more about something I like to call “preventative care.” I didn’t want to be overweight. I didn’t want to lose my “in-shapeness.” I didn’t want people to say things like “what happened to her?” I spent a lot of time focusing on what I did not want to happen, rather than focusing on what was best for my body. That, my friends, is not health and wellness. I was “healthy” but I wasn’t living well.
So what happened? Well, believe it or not, my health actually deteriorated. By my senior year of college, I could no longer enjoy the things I had always loved to do. I would attempt to run one mile (on a good day) and be completely winded. I would try to hike up a mountain and have to take long “water breaks” just to be able to catch my breath. My body and soul were tired from overexertion. I was carrying a lot more than weights at the gym. This continued for almost two years, and became so bad at points that I did not want to work out or go hiking with anyone else for fear that my body would not be able to handle it and I would need to stop.
But there’s hope. After getting married, I realized that something needed to change. I could not go on like this. I was “working out” every day, but was still not really able to enjoy outdoor activities with Andy as much as I knew that I could. I did not want to be out of breath when going for a run with him. I did not want to have to stop every 5 minutes when hiking through the mountains. I did not want to be unable to carry my load when backpacking around the world. NO! These realizations changed my motivations for working out and living a lifestyle of health and wellness. Rather than focusing on what I do not want to happen to me, I discovered something to aim at. Nowadays, I have a goal in mind when running on the treadmill or when doing yoga in my living room. I want to climb to the heights of the mountains and swim in the depths of the sea. I want to be able to see the beauty of places I wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. I want to live this life well and not let the lack of health or fitness be the reason why I am not living it to the fullest.
It is for this reason that I choose to live well.
Truth be told, this motivation has treated my body much better. In fact, over summer I got up to five kilometers without getting winded (this was HUGE for me). It has definitely been a work in progress, and some days are better than others, but when I work out in the morning I just think of those mighty mountains I want to climb and it makes me go all the harder.
Now, think for a moment with me… What is your motivation for working out? And if you don’t work out, what is stopping you? Does your view of your physical fitness and wellness compliment your goals in life? Are you taking steps today (even the “baby steps”) that will set you up for living well tomorrow? Do you treat your body well? Just some food for thought.
Thank you for bearing with this long-ish post. Once again, I hope it was an encouragement to you, wherever you are and whatever your physical health/wellness may be! Next week, I will share some specific things that I have found to be helpful (and fun) for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So stay tuned for that! For now, though, have a beautiful day and remember to live it well! 🙂