Luke and I have lived in our town for almost five years, but it wasn't until last week that we signed up for a family membership to the local rec center. Kara and Nathan have taken various combinations of swim, tumbling and dance there, and we're big fans of the splash park come summer, but now we have full access to workout facilities, indoor and outdoor pools and various aerobic classes.
Yesterday, for the first time in cough cough ahem er mind your own business, I stepped onto a piece of exercise equipment. It was a beautiful day, so running outside would have been the smarter choice, but we are going to get our money's worth out of this membership, believe you me. I chose the elliptical because that's something I can only do at the gym, take that, Mother Nature.
35 minutes, 2.95 miles, 300+ calories burned. I was sweaty and tired and a little dizzy when I was done, which of course means it was awesome.
What is it about exercise that makes you forget how great it feels? It's the opposite of pregnancy amnesia; instead of conveniently glossing over the hard parts, you lose the memory of your positive experiences and focus only on the miserable.
It's not like I haven't buckled down on fitness before. In 2004, after two years of the working world's "ass in chair" lifestyle caught up to me, I found Weight Watchers and lost 17 pounds. In 2009 after back-to-back pregnancies, I hopped on the Jillian Michaels bandwagon and Shredded through 10 pounds of baby weight. When I was training for the Mini-Marathon a year later, I was out the door by 5:30 am two or three days a week to log miles on the treadmill and strength train. I'm embarrassed I let so much time pass before taking this first step, again.
But now is not the time for guilt trips. Every day is a chance to make smarter choices than yesterday. Better late than never.
In other news that is life-changing only to me, last month I ditched my smartphone. For someone in marketing, this is a big deal.
It started when I changed jobs in September, moving from a position in corporate communications where I needed to have access to email 24/7, to a marketing role where media relations and crisis management weren't part of the equation. Since there was no longer a business need for my data plan, I toyed with the idea of downgrading, but I was quite happy tweeting and Facebooking on a whim, so I let it go all the way until Memorial Day weekend, when after weeks of rapidly declining battery health I was greeted with the red bar of death.
Luke and I are both eligible for phone upgrades, and it was tempting to chase after whatever hip new thing is taking the Droid fanbase by storm, but in the spirit of simplicity, I went the other way.
And I've got to tell you: Not having a smartphone is kind of a pain in the ass.
For one thing, since so many people have smartphones these days, people treat email like instant messaging and communicate information with the assumption that you're getting it in real time. For another, Twitter isn't as much fun when you're spot checking it a couple of times a day. How will I share the wisdom of Sheryl Sandberg's keynote at BlogHer without a smartphone? Lug around my work laptop? Take notes by hand?!
Luckily, there is an upside.
I used to spend the last 15 minutes of my night scrolling through Twitter and liking Facebook updates. I glanced at it during red lights and traffic jams. I kept it within arm's reach when reading to my kids. I didn't download games or apps (I'm still not sure what Angry Birds is all about), but it was still too much a part of my everyday life. Now it's exciting to check email again. My phone will stay in the same spot for hours and I won't look at it once. I'm not saying it's for everybody, but a partial respite from the Internet was definitely the right step for me.