Swinging the Pendulum

All along, ever since I turned 30, I suppose, I’ve had it in my head that when a person turns 40, she (or he) must have her you-know-what together. As in, the trial-period (ages 18-39) is over and it’s time to emerge a fully fledged adult; a responsible, confident, freed-from-glaring-flaws human being, ready to take on the middle years.

[I refuse to call them anything but.]

Perhaps it sounds ridiculous or at the very least overly ambitious – who arrives at 40 and is suddenly a near-perfect human being – but I haven’t been overly ambitious about anything else in my life [save craft projects that far exceeded my skill level] so let me have this….this illusion, pipe dream, whatever you want to call it.

Operation Get Ready for 40 [not at all what I call it] began last year, when I was ‘merely’ 38, with nothing overly drastic other than once-a-week yoga and the gradual abandonment of my most favorite thing in the whole world (save my family, naturally): preparing baked goods and consuming them. In large quantities.

I’m still kind of stunned about this development, to be frank.

And then 2013 hit, and along with it, the realization that the much-anticipated (dreaded?) 4-0 was but 18 short months away. [Or, as anyone living with young children will attest, 5 blinks of an eye.]

It was time to get a little more serious about OGRF40 which, for this loather of accelerated heartrates, meant exercise. Regular exercise. As in possibly 3 or more times a week.

Because 40-year old Nicola should be a self-disciplined individual who, though she does not love it, dutifully exercises on a regular basis for the purpose of staying physically fit.

True, I had managed to jog 32 miles in 2012 which was, almost certainly, an improvement over my output in 2011, but I had a strong suspicion logging the equivalent of not-quite-3 miles per month would not render me physically fit anytime soon.

That’s when Tracy entered the picture. I didn’t have any illusions of becoming the next Gwyneth Paltrow, but I figured her trainer might be able to ameliorate the ill effects of three years of high-intensity baking (and eating). Which, for the record, is not at all the same thing as high intensity aerobics.

And I have to say she certainly aided me in my quest, though I’m still slightly bitter about the one-hour-and-forty-five-minute nightly workouts. And the stress fracture I incurred in my left foot. But I digress….

After four five weeks of ‘letting my foot heal’ from the 22-day ordeal, I remembered about the whole ‘getting ready for 40’ business and roped the professor into doing a ‘challenge’ with me. He was, after all, going to reach the milestone 7 months before me.

So we got our ‘game on’ and for these last three-plus weeks we have had very inane conversations like ‘is this a fist full?’ ‘Do you think this is a palm full?’ ‘Do I have everything here – carb, protein, fat?’ Because every one of the five meals you consume per day (spaced no fewer than 2 and no more than 4 hours apart) must contain a fist-full of sanctioned carbohydrates, a palm-sized portion of low-fat protein, and a thumb-sized portion of good fat.

This took some getting used to, because apparently I quit eating meals when I had children and instead eat little bits of food all day long. So the first week I nearly died because I had to wait TWO WHOLE HOURS before I could consume any food. It felt like something akin to torture.

We’ve also had to do 20 minutes of exercise a day which, frankly, felt like notmuch after the whole Tracy Anderson craziness, and get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Which meant sayonara 1:00am bedtimes, at least for me. [Which also meant sayonara blog posts.]

But the biggest change has not been the food or the exercise, or the early-ish bedtimes. No, it’s been the ‘bad habit’ you have to give up.

I gave up computer/wii games. Because in my mind, the future 40-year-old Nicola should not play things called Bubble Safari or Mario Bros. And she should really only play Words with Friends and Scrabble on an irregular basis, if at all. [Maybe.]

And, three weeks into this experiment of computer-game-restraint, I have to say I rather enjoy it. I’m sure other time-wasting avenues will continue to reveal themselves [ogling pictures of baked goods on Pinterest, for instance] but for now I quite like my game-less existence.

Next step in OGRF40? Acquiring more patience with my wonderboys.

I’ve got 14 months and 13 days.

3 thoughts on “Swinging the Pendulum

  1. OGFR40 (my deadline is within a month after yours) kicked off a week before the big 37 in three parts. Part 1 was fairly easy to achieve (a resignation letter) but part 2 has since become part of OGRF40,5 and maybe even 40,75. Part 3 is similar to your OGRF40 but (intentionally?) reads “be healthier”. That’s way less pressure…

  2. I, too, hope that I “grow up” someday. I just wish I knew what that meant….. It is odd – being here especially with the high ‘visibility’ of Jay’s job. I guess I am supposed to be mature and have it all together…. and there have been people who ask me how I do it…. Do what? Most days I feel like I am floundering mightily….. Anyway, my kids are fed and wearing (nearly) clean clothes, I’m not wearing yoga pants, and I have milk in the fridge – that is pretty good for a Thursday! Small victories!!

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