That Time I Thought, "It HAS to be Valentine's Day by now..."
I was sitting at the kitchen table, considering the dinner menu for the week ahead for my boyfriend and I so I could write a grocery list, and my eyes began to burn.
"Do you want candy or something for Valentine's Day? Do you think there's any left? What day is it, even?"
:::blank stare from Jake:::
"Uh, Steph? It's still January."
:::shakes head, Steph's jaw drops and eyes twitch in disbelief:::
Is it just me, or has January felt like it's taken forever?
That's not to complain, necessarily (although I'm good for that from time to time); this time of year never fails to feel like a time warp. Every year, fall rolls around, the holidays fly by before I can even see all the lights (my favorite part of the season), and then things slow to a laborious, Sisyphean crawl until January 78th.
I'm sure I'm not alone on this (at least I hope I'm not!):
If you're new to the fitness scene, welcome! The endeavor to begin a new habit can sometimes be a rocky one fraught with hiccups and false starts, making January a frustrating month for many.
If you find yourself there, hair in your hands and wondering why you even started again, know that you're not alone, and anything that hasn't gone according to plan is not a signal of failure, but a call to listen to your body and soul more deeply, asking questions to further refine your goals. What's worked so far? What hasn't? How has it felt? What's made it easy? How can you get more of that?
If you're a gym veteran, you may have had to make some space on your favorite Stairmaster or in the squat rack with the best mirror, which can also make January feel like a long month. If you've felt a bit frustrated, know that you're not alone either, and consider that anyone with the desire to share a space with you or with the courage to ask you a question is likely overcoming some uncertainty, and they'll find their rhythm soon enough (and you were new once, too).
Either way, this time of year, talk about fitness-related choices is virtually unavoidable, on some level, and it's likely you've spent not-a-little time defending, explaining, or comparing your choices.
This can be a challenging place for many of us, especially when it comes to our bodies, our exercise, or our nutrition (and especially if you're eschewing diet culture for the first time and just want to eat the damn pie without a cross-examination worthy of Law and Order: SVU, which, if you're here, you're likely adopting this approach, that seems decidedly anti-Resolution, sometimes, no?).
To that end, I'd like to remind you:
This isn't a competition. There is room for us all, from the Day-One Beginner to the World-Class Lifter, and no one body is more worthy of respect and belonging than another.
You're learning to love and honor yourself in a world that's bombarding you with reasons you shouldn't.
You're putting the dollars for which the diet companies are begging and investing them into yourself, into your curiosity, into your needs and your desires.
You're finding the best path for you, 21-day-fixes and 30-day-shreds aside.
That's about as culturally rebellious as it gets, and I hope you take a moment to be proud of yourself and bask in the warmth of that joy and love. And then I hope you spread it to the other women in the gym.