I don’t know how it happened…it snuck up on me. I’ve become…what? Sporty is not quite to right word. What is the opposite of a couch potato? That’s me.
In 2002 I was in Paris and at an all-time weight high (125kgs). It was my 30th birthday and I was realising a dream. We were at the Arc de Triomphe and I wanted to climb the 100-or-so steps to the top to see the view of Paris. But I knew I’d not make it. I was so very unfit that it made the trip uncomfortable at times – I couldn’t do all the things I wanted to.
I came home determined to change my life. I was scared about the idea of losing weight (having had trouble with losing too much too soon in the past) so instead I focussed on getting fit. I joined the gym at work and started going.
At first it was pretty basic stuff. Walking on a treadmill, rowing machine, the dreaded crosstrainer. Eventually I got fit enough to try aerobics classes. My first step class almost killed me. Not because I was puffing but because I’m so uncoordinated that I spent the hour tripping over my step and flailing about. I decided to stick with the basics for a while longer. Walking became running, and I found myself lacing my sneakers for early morning road running, and actually enjoying it. I didn’t really lose much weight this way. In fact I think I gained weight at first. That was scary (and yes I know muscle weighs more than fat blah blah, it still freaked me out).
And so slowly I became fitter. I was never going to be super fit because I weighed in excess of 100kgs, but I was better. Healthier and happier. And eventually I did lose more weight, but that’s another story.
And now I seem to have become some kind of sporty spice. I run, I bike, I ice skate, I dance, and now I rollerblade. I’m thinking I’d like to join an indoor soccer team. How did this happen? I love it, it makes me happy and it means I can keep up with super-speedy Wyatt, but I still find it incongruous with my self-image (a lazy fatty).
I guess my insides will catch up with my outsides eventually.
I’ve never been much of a one for all that gushy romantic stuff, especially Valentine’s Day. But in the last year I have celebrated my birthday and Xmas, so it would seem that the celebratory landscape is changing for me. Of course, it helps that I have an adorable boyfriend who likes buying me gifts…
I’ve been reading about this Valentine’s business. Did you know that we’ve been celebrating romantic love with heart-shaped cards, flowers and chocolates since the 14th century? And did you also know that we celebrate love on February 14th to remember the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, a man about who we know little except that he was Roman, and that he took it upon himself to marry young love-struck Christian couples. The very non-Christian Roman emperor was not amused. For his crimes, poor Valentinus was beaten and beheaded. And so in honour of this, we collectively send over a billion cards to one another professing-confessing our love and devotion to each other. And probably most of us don’t really think about why.
Since I started listening to podcasts and audiobooks in 2005, I have read paper books less and less. When I first started listening, I found it hard to pay attention to the spoken word for very long and my attention would wander. In order to help this, I began listening and playing games on my iPod at the same time – mostly just tetris or solitaire. The longer I listened to books, the easier it became to hear.
Now I am in the strange situation that I almost never read paper books, but I listen to books every day. Listening rather than reading has the advantage that you can do it hands-free. I can listen while cooking, cleaning, on the bus, wandering around the mall, out for a run. Books are great company. On re-listening, certain books evoke a strong memory of where I was when I first heard them (I listen a lot while travelling).
So here’s the thing. Will listening rather than reading make me intellectually lazy? Will I lose the ability to use my reading muscles if I don’t exercise them enough? Will I lose the ability to get absorbed in a good (paper) book?
Will audiobooks help develop my ‘paying attention when listening’ muscles?
Or does it simply just not matter?
I’m interested to know what you think.
What a strange idea, that someone would want to tattoo my name on their arm. When she is old and grey and wrinkly, Meagle’s greatgrandchildren will trace the letters and ask “who is Brigid?”. Gone but not forgotten, I’ll be…