There was a time when if I had music on, chances were good it was a John Mayer playlist. These days, it’s most likely to be Ed Sheeran.

(I like charming men who play the guitar and who can hold a melody against my inevitable harmony. Anyone who knew Jonathan will recognize that I was lost with his first chord.)

Like every other human on the planet, I go through phases… and I evolve.

Not “evolve” like “My god – she can breathe underwater!” (although wouldn’t that be cool?). I mean that time and experience teach us things. If you have a dog, you learn to put your shoes away and not leave them out, a target for gnawing slobber. That’s not a fad; you evolve to make a permanent change. If you have a car, you keep an eye on the fuel tank and fill up before you hit dead empty – maybe even filling up before you’re terribly low because the weather’s going to turn nasty and it’s nicer to stand outside waiting at the pump when the wind isn’t stripping heat from your bones.

But sometimes it’s tough at first to distinguish the difference between a fad and an evolution. Maybe the only difference is time.

I’m thinking (of course) of fitness. I’ve gone through exercising fads, and far more dieting fads. I’ve held to them with rigid determination… until I failed in the plan, in which case – hey, that Ed Sheeran’s music is GOOD. I’m putting John Mayer aside for the moment.

(Translation: No more exercise. No more diet.)

My fads are characterized by intensity – by the aforementioned rigid determination. I focus all my will on the effort, and it’s hard to divert me. Until, that is, something succeeds in diverting me. At which point, game over. No second life.

But in an evolution, failure is just part of the process. Sometimes the dog DOES steal my shoe. Sometimes I find I’m gassing the car in the middle of a blizzard. Yet neither of those things is permission to stop correcting that behavior.

(I’m working this out as I type.)

So here’s my quandary. Is my current determination to improve and maintain my health a fad? Or an evolution? Do I trust it will continue?

In more practical terms – do I throw out the size 22 pants?

Day-to-day events weigh on the side of evolution. I’ve missed fitness sessions at Body Dynamics; I’ve skipped the Home Exercise Program; I’ve eaten entire containers of ice cream AND KEPT WORKING ON FITNESS.

But my sense of self shies away from that. I’ve always been fat; I’ve always hated exercise. I have a supermodel brain and a hausfrau body. To even THINK that my progress could be – sheesh, I can’t even write the word “permanent” without looking for wood to bang on or something to fork the evil eye at. We don’t tempt fate that way. Don’t say that out loud. As Al Swearingen said in “Deadwood”, “Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.”

I hope I’m evolving to better health. But John Mayer thinks it’s a fad.

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4 thoughts on “Patterns

  1. The great thing about a fitness routine is that it requires so little stuff. Susceptible to fads myself (usually textile related), there is always a moment when a flirtation becomes a mad pash and I have to worry about the next phase — should I actually buy the necessary tools/ equipment to fully pursuit whatever it is, or will I be left staring at an untouched cupboard full of raw pigment (and rabbit skin glue and special italian gesso chalk), as I have been for a decade now, when I return to tapestry from a year’s romance with egg tempera?
    One can never predict of course, but when there is less stuff involved, one uses up/ wears out/ shrinks out of the current equipment much more quickly, and before the thought of quitting takes hold you are several new outfits/ paintbrushes/ fleeces/ instruments in, by which time the mad pash has become routine and you’re well and truly stuck. Your body will not let you forget. It feels good to walk without hurting, no?
    Size 18 (and smaller) is normal. No need to clutter up your closet with size 22.
    Need any pigment?


  2. Not 10 minutes ago I had this very same conversation with myself on the treadmill. “Can I keep this up? It’s been, like, 6 weeks, Mag. Can this actually Be The Time it evolves into a HABIT?”. My mantra until the doc appt on April 10th is “no cholesterol meds”. And when I climbed onto the scales on the first Sabbat of the year (mid-winter / imbolc / candlemas), I discovered a few pounds had fled since the winter solstice! OMG! SO … Pru … out with the 22s because YOU are on a roll (not the yeast & flour kind). WootWoot!


  3. Throw out the 22s! When I read back through your posts, I hear how much you are loving your new body. I get that–I had that feeling when I came back from an 8-day backpack (solo!) and was at my lowest weight in years, and I had energy and loved my body for doing all it did those days and I was filled with joy. That’s why I know that this journey isn’t a fad, because I keep remembering that joy. And I sense that in your posts. Sure, there will be roadbumps, but the trend is to healthy. Go for it!


  4. Pru, donate the pants to Good Will if the pants are in good shape (no pun intended). What you have been experiencing is a change in perspective when it comes to your health and fitness. Part of that seemed to coincide with your husband’s untimely passing. Perhaps you thought that since you are your son’s one parent, you were going to take action on increasing your cjances for a long and healthy life. That’s a pretty good goal! Over the past year(s) you have been sharing your health and fitness journey with an abundance of candor and humor. Your openness about confronting things that once were foreign, taking on challenges and succeeding at them, keeping your sense of humor and childlike questioning when you wanted to learn or know something, has been inspiring to us all. Your being open and available to learning from the trainers at your gym makes them want to give you everything they’ve got (they like you for a number of reasons, but one is that they have found that rare person who is open, questioning, willing, and fascinated by what they can teach and show you in their areas of expertise. They realize they have a winner on their hands. You are the bright spot in their day. There’s the saying, “two steps forward; one step back” which is not a bad philosophy. Even if we don’t do something “perfectly,” we are still moving forward. It’s when I try to do something perfectly (an impossible standard) that I’m tempted to give up, no matter what it is, if I make a mistake. The knowledge you’ve gained and the efforts you’ve made are part of you now and though once in a while you may veer off course you know how to get back on the main road! I think you have done a great job and I am sure you can feel the difference! And I’m sure others have already noticed. I hope you get a whole new wardrobe of whatever you like!


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