Great expectations – Easier said than done

j0387456 Last week I played tennis twice, each time for about an hour. And when it was over, it was sheer pride that stopped me from crawling on all fours, instead of walking, to my car. When did that happen? When did the woman who years ago, in an average week, took hour long karate classes, followed by 45 minute kick boxing classes and played tennis a few times a week and threw in a salsa class on the weekend for good measure, turn into this almost-40 year old for whom an hour of tennis renders her absolutely useless for two days? I let that other Grace become a distant memory, and I’m paying for it now.

At the beginning of this year I set out with a lofty goal of being fit at forty. I was determined to reclaim myself – my health, my time, my goals, in pursuit of a more authentic me. It started with my $25 good food challenge and a change in the way I shop for and relate to the foods I eat. It also meant a return to a time in my life when I was healthier and much more active. Three months into 2010 and I’m finding out that the authentic me is lazy, whiny and a tad arthritic. Nice to meet you – me – whatever.

Instead of being encouraged by the fact that I got out there and played tennis for the first time in years, I was majorly disappointed that I’d allowed myself get that out of shape.  Instead of taking it one day at a time like I promised myself I would do, I immediately started doing the math in my head, figuring if a couple hours of tennis could tear me up like this, it would be years, not months before I get back into anything resembling “shape.” Meanwhile back at the ranch, my chicken withdrawals are getting more severe and business is slower than expected even though I feel like I’m working harder than ever.  My “reclamation proclamation” as I like to call it, is not going quite the way I’d planned. In fact, it’s been much easier said than done.

And then I remember I don’t have to do it all today – don’t have to make it through an hour of tennis like Serena, cook like The Barefoot Contessa, build an empire like Oprah or even be as sweet and understanding as Mother Theresa, in a day. At least not this day. Today I just have to figure out how to make these beans taste like chicken, don my ankle and knee braces for another hour of tennis, and get up the courage to make those phone calls that could help me and the business reach the next level.  And I don’t even have to do them all at the same time.

How’s your road to 40 shaping up, health, relationships and otherwise? Share your thoughts in the comment section, or on our Facebook Fan Page.

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Grace is a freelance writer and blogger living in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • racheldachel

    Woo sah, Grace! You're well on your way to being fit at 40, you'll see! First off, you are not even 40 yet & in order to be “fit at 40,” that simply means you have to be fit BEFORE YOU TURN 41!! You have well over a year to do it & you will succeed! Bravo for being able to fake it long enough to get to the car & as Mother always says, “Nothing worth doing is ever easy” so you know this will be worth it! Great job & stick with it!

  • Grace

    Thanks for the encouragement Rachel! I know you're right, but it still is a bit disappointing. I know it makes no sense to talk or think about woulda-coulda-shoulda, but I just keep coming back to how far I've gotten away from the me I used to be, and for some reason, I held my 40th birthday up as D-day. But, you are right, I have the entire year to work on my health and well-being. And as for faking it long enough to get back to the car, girl I can fake it with the best of them!! LOL

  • For me, 40 (I'll be there in June) seems like the perfect age to admit something really amazing about yourself. For me it's this: I am always better in groups. As an individual, I often find myself mindlessly watching TV I don't care about, mindlessly eating things I shouldn't be eating, feeling lazy and out of shape, and feeling sorry for myself about one thing or another. But this isn't the case when I'm part of healthy small groups.

    I work out more consistently when I have friends at yoga class expecting me. I eat better when I shop and cook with others interested in eating better and cooking more at home. I watch less TV on the days I meet my book club or volunteer with a local gardening group or mentor others. Maybe this need for others isn't a flaw at all. Maybe this is me demonstrating who I really am. Maybe humans (or at least this human) are supposed to get some of their willpower, inspiration, drive, desire, passion, etc. from others. My groups help me recognize myself as a smart, active, healthy, interesting person–the one I've always been but had a hard time seeing and being, consistently, on my own.

  • womenatforty

    Thanks for such insightful comments Lori. I think one of the great things about turning 40 (I'll be there in June too), is being honest with yourself about exactly who you are, even if that looks and feels different than you, or everyone else thought it would. Kudos to you for recognizing that!