I woke up at 4:55am, after spending five close-eyed minutes trying to decide if the little tune my alarm was playing might be a trick of the white noise machine. It wasn’t. I keep my phone in the living room so I’ll have to get out of bed to stop the alarm; it’s literally the only way that I ever, ever get up on time. But my phone in the living room can’t make me unroll the purple yoga mat , or pop in the pilates DVD that I put squarely in the middle of the coffee table so it would stare at me and shame me into making good on the promise I made to myself last night. I knew pretty quickly that I would be skipping pilates this morning.
I stumbled into the kitchen, already justifying. “No, no, this isn’t that bad. You see, the morning is a bad time to exercise. The weird music might wake Milo. You need coffee before you jump into something like a 15 minute beginner’s pilates routine! Tonight. That’s the ticket. TONIGHT after Milo is in bed, but maybe before dinner? The exercise bike on the back porch! You beautiful genius…” But at the same time, I’m pretty aware that it’s unlikely I’m going to be jumping on that exercise bike tonight, too. While I was justifying, I knew it was justifying. I’m so capable of tricking my own poor self.
This could turn into several paragraphs of self loathing pretty quickly, but I’m actually feeling very strong and peaceful right now. Because I need to remind myself that I walked for an hour yesterday, nonstop, pushing a stroller up and down my little street. I would say 4 out of 5 weeknights I race home for work and get ready for our evening walk. I bundle up Milo, strap him in (and wrap him in blankets), and we take off, conquering Willow street one lap at a time. No, I’m not timing my miles and no, I’m not sweating profusely, but I’m walking, steadily, up and down my street, with my little son soaking up the fresh air and almost always slipping into a little pre-bath nap. I listen to podcasts or the news on my phone and zone out, imagining how I can make my house look nicer and where we will put the baby pool this summer. A wonderful side-effect of this nightly exercise is the fact that I’ve met several of my neighbors, some for the first time, during these walks. It was one of my big goals this year to learn my neighbor’s names. I’m doing it.
So, yeah, a strict pilates routine might not be in my immediate future, and yes, if there is pizza and cinnamon kettle corn left over from an Oscars viewing party, then my dinner might look like the menu for a five-year-old’s birthday party. But. I am walking. I am making salads for my lunches. And that hour that I thought might be for pilates and other virtuous things? I spent it online, reading blogs of people who I do and don’t admire, hearing about little family adventures, checking out recipes and cute outfit posts and in general, being inspired by other creative lives dotted all around our country. It might not have been excellent for my abs, but, as my friend Michelle would say, it was good for my soul.