If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I guess I absorbed more from "Body Clutter" than I thought I had. One of FlyLady's maxims is to do baby steps. It doesn't matter what the undertaking is--it applies the same way for cleaning the bathroom or mucking out the basement. She sets a timer for 15 minutes, and when it goes off, she stops. I knew all that, but I didn't think to apply it to exercise until I read the book.

A few years ago, before we moved into our house, we lived on base and there were two gyms within three miles or so. I joined a little group with a couple of neighbors, and we basically guilted each other into going to the gym six days a week. Three days we did cardio, and three we did weights. We listened to the exercise gurus who said we weren't doing ourselves any good by working out less than twenty minutes, and that a half hour to 45 minutes was even better. I remember several times being so ready to get off the frigging elliptical but pushing on by telling myself that I was wasting my time if I didn't at least break twenty minutes. Being practical to a fault, wasting time chapped my hide more than exercising.

The trouble is that the exercise gurus never said anything that penetrated my cranium enough to stick. I was able to rationalize that I didn't have the time to drive to the gym (about 10 minutes, now), work out, drive home and shower, and still get to wherever I needed to be. Using FlyLady's philosophy, I can get up and have my coffee in the morning, put on my sneakers and grab my MP3 player, and walk the perimeter of my neighborhood (about a mile). Or half the perimeter. Or around the block. FlyLady says that any movement blesses one's body. Shoot, I could turn on the '80's Punk Station on the satellite and dance in the living room to make my kids roll their eyes and I'd still be blessing my body! If someone had told me before that exercise was cumulative, maybe I'd have started this sooner.

For now, I'm working on forming a habit. I'm going to shoot for six days a week until I get to where it's automatic. I'm not focussed on distance; I'm focussed on getting dressed before I go downstairs, getting into my shoes by 8:00, and getting out the door. I should have a month or so of decent weather before I need to start thinking about possible alternatives.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Can I be Michelle Pfeiffer when I grow up?

I read an article in The Times Online about Michelle Pfeiffer this morning. I've loved her since the first time I saw "Ladyhawke" and now I have more reason to love her. Part of the headline was, "When you're pushing 50, Hollywood doesn't want to know," and I though, "Omigosh, Michelle Pfeiffer is pushing 50? No friggin' way!"

I forget, sometimes, that I'm getting older. I was 17 or 18 when "Ladyhawke" came out. She was obviously older than me when she made it, and I'm 40 now, so of course she's pushing 50. (I still have to work through that thought process sometimes.) I guess I was mostly shocked because she looks so darn good. According to the article, when she's not working, she isn't glamorous. She works out hard, but she doesn't get her hair or nails done. Away from the camera, she's just Michelle, a wife with two teens who leads a quiet life in Palo Alto. She took her role in "Star Dust" because it was a metaphor on aging, about how it's not pretty, about the destructive things we do to keep our youth. I would speculate that it's being away from LA that does the trick for her, but that wouldn't explain all the soccer moms all over the world having 'work done.'

I've always said I'm going to grow old gracefully. That's easy to say in one's 20's or 30's, but a little bit harder at 40. I'm not afraid of growing old, but I'm at the place where I'm approaching the threshold and find myself hanging back a little, holding on to phrases like, "You're only as old as you feel." Shopping for clothes is getting tricky. I'm in another awkward in-between stage, trying to figure out what's neither too young nor too old. What I'm finding is that we have role models our whole lives. We can look to those fighting age by becoming plasticized, or we can emulate those who are embracing each stage. Frankly, it's healthier and much less expensive if we take care of what we have and don't fight the process. I've always been practical to a fault with tightwad tendencies, so you can guess which option I'm leaning toward! I mean, really, if getting old was supposed to be avoided, we'd all look 25 until we hit the dirt, right? Where's the fun in that?