There is a 9ft Christmas tree “standing” in my living room right now. I say “standing” because in reality, it is leaning. Supported by multiple strands of fishing line, secured to hooks recently fashioned into the front wall of my house, placed with the purpose of holding up my Christmas tree. Good planning one may say, well, in reality, like many things, it is a handy solution to an inconvenient problem. You see, I bought my lovely tree, stood it in its spot, wrapped it in lights, and covered it in ornaments. I adored it with the house lights low and a glass of wine in my hands. I admired my handiwork, my decorating, then I went to bed, and woke to a loud crash. I am choosing to blame the cat, it seems easier than admitting that perhaps I didn’t tighten to stand correctly. But regardless, there I was, at 3am, with a 9ft christmas tree illuminating my living room floor. I admired it again for a moment, considered another glass of wine, then determined that it had to be stood up, immediately. And so, I huffed, and I puffed, and somehow, I lifted and steadied my enormous tree, still clung to by a sizable base. I yet again admired my work, myself, and returned to bed.
The following morning, in talking to a friend who is recently very active in crossfit, I suggested he add the tree lift to his work out routine. My arms were sore, my back was sore. Standing that beast had been a process, and my body felt worked. It got me thinking of how active our bodied are on a daily basis. While I can’t compare myself to an urban commuter with a significant walk to and from the office (I drive 3 minutes and spend another 3 in an elevator) I have to say my days at work are nothing if not active. There are days I never sit, or days when at a moments notice I launch myself from my chair into a room of a patient grabbing at a breathing tube or catheter, a baby who has chosen to take a rest from breathing. I lift and turn my patients, and while most are babies or small children, I still have days that I feel in my body the work I have done. I rarely have a day, at work, or at home that isn’t filled with activity, physical activity.
And yet, exercise as a separte entity is so important. Last week I started my quest for change. I went to crossfit, terrified of what I was getting into or if my body would hold out. I loved it. I loved the atmosphere and how I felt. I loved sweating and hurting, and I LOVED when the hour was over. I loved water after, and eventually my coffee that I postponed for the work out. I felt good the rest of the day. And still the following day. The third day, when I could barely walk I loved it even more.
And then I spent the weekend shopping and exploring around NYC, and I loved that my legs finally loosened and returned to normal mobility. And today, I had a moment when I realized I was no longer sore, and instead of relieved I felt disappointed. Anxious to be sore again.
It is so important to set aside time to challenge our bodies to do more than they have before, more than they feel they can. I am working these next few days after my weekend away, so organized exercise is out,but I will fill the gaps with push ups and crunches. My goal for tomorrow is to wake up sore.
As for right now, I am pouring a glass of wine and admiring my tree.