Three years ago, on a cold winter night, some friends and I made a decision to workout regularly, five times a week, 15 minutes minimum.
We were done with the dormant, exhausted by the idle, over the blah.
We set up a secret Facebook page called "just because our husbands think we can't...". We logged in, and workout by workout, recorded the days, posted our activities, checked off the weeks.
(Our husbands are actually quite supportive folk, but at the time, even we couldn't imagine keeping this up for more than 3 weeks, much less 3 years.)
This week marks the end of Week 154. (Somewhere along the way, we lost two weeks...probably, I'm guessing, to the Christmas Flu of 2012.)
770 workouts. Swims, runs, walks, bike rides, yoga classes, living room sweatfests, along with the slightly more obscure paddleboarding, snow shoeing, water aerobics, rock climbing.
Yes, this is a story of physical health -- of muscles and sweat -- and a story of girl power -- of accountability and accomplishment.
But that's just the beginning.
We are fully engaged in the middle of the story now -- and it's getting good. The challenge continues on, but the rules are less rigid, the options are more accessible, the invitation is always on the table.
This story, this middle is about finding rest and seeking balance. It's about community and belonging and showing up. It's about health -- not the way the world defines health (i.e., by the way your pants fit) -- it's about the way your heart feels, the way your mind eases, the way your spirit soars...and calms.
And grace, it's about grace. For you, and for me. It's about asking and extending and receiving and accepting.
For three years, we've been working it out. We've practiced and participated, experienced and engaged. We've used all the parts that have been given to us: mind, body, heart.
From our laps in the pool, we've learned to breathe.
From our runs, both long and short, we've learned to put one foot in front of the other.
From the hills, we've learned to take short, steady steps.
From our long bike rides down country roads, we've learned what it means to be a kid again.
From our workout DVD's in our living rooms, we've learned it isn't always glamorous, sometimes you simply buckle down and do the work.
From our walks, we've learned to slow down and take in the scenery. We've learned there's beauty all around us if we take the time to look.
From spinning our wheels in spin class, we've learned that we can, in fact, do very, very hard things.
From our time on our yoga mats, we've learned to listen to and honor our bodies. (We've learned to be kind.)
From all the times we've walked into a new class, a new activity, a new situation, we've learned that's it OK to try, (and OK to fail), OK to say yes...and OK to say no.
So to the friends and family, instructors and acquaintances, and to the 84 year old woman who stubbornly, yet freely, swims lap after early morning lap in Lane One, thank you for the encouragement, the teaching, the inspiration, and the countless hours logged working it out alongside us.
We recently changed the name of our Facebook group.
Just keep swimming.
Appropriate, wouldn't you say?
We can't wait to see where this story takes us next.