I did something remarkable today…that is, if today is Monday March 18, 2019…if its not, then I did something remarkable just a short while ago! Its been more years than I care to count since I did this. Tim and I were chatting and I asked him when the last time was and we both agreed it was either 30 years ago when we were in Hawaii or at least 20 years ago at a friends lake lot.
I had just come outside from the house and Tim was putting his runners on like he was on a mission. I asked where he was going, since it was nice enough to be outside in the backyard without any footwear. He was going to the shed to get the old lounge chair. This is a beautiful set of retro lawn furniture his aunt had and even though we have a full set of new outdoor furniture, we’ve kept it because it is so cool! He said he was going to lie in the sun. He’s done this a couple times over the years when its been a crazy awesome day with the sun shining. I haven’t done it for a number of reasons. I really had to think about what those reasons might have been, because standing here today, I couldn’t come up with one that would stop me.
The sun was shining so nicely and the temperature seemed just right to slip off my shirt and shorts, put on the suit and pull up a chair as well. What struck me as odd was the fact that getting to this point seemed like a big deal. I mean, why hadn’t I done this more often. Tim’s done it and he really seemed to enjoy the moments.
We can have a discussion about whether lying in the sun is good for you or not – skin cancer – all that very serious stuff…but another time. Its been nearly 5 years since I worked full time so I did have the time. We have a glorious 160 acres filled with trees and the back yard here is wrapped with a 8 foot high fence. Privacy shouldn’t have mattered.
Its been a long time since I’ve not had the time and the stresses that kept my brain so occupied made it nearly impossible to just lie in a chair, with my eyes closed. Anyone who is a creative will understand how hard it is to turn the brain off.
After an amount of time lying there with the warmth of the sun on my body, I realized what the major reason was. I’ll go into that in the ‘Wisdom of 59’ section after this initial blog post celebrating this remarkable experience. For now, with my music playing – a bottle of water close, I was feeling pretty calm. More relaxed than I thought I would have been while I warmed my top and flipped to my back for equal exposure. Although we hadn’t done this in a while, it was so amazing as the heat of the sun relaxed my muscles. The slight breeze made it so comfortable. Everything was at a moment of calm. My brain was silent, and other than thinking how amazing this was, I spent some time hoping everyone who made this happen in their life, felt this good.
I am not sure how you find that place or where that place is for you when you feel that calmness. I just hope you do have a moment like that as often as you can, whatever it looks like. It had been so long I had forgotten how incredible it is to have some time in your life for this relaxed and mindless experience. It felt selfish all those years ago, since I had so many other really important commitments. Subconsciously, it was a luxury for those who had time and not a million things to do before the day ended. I should have taken those time …more …you should too! Now I can…and I pretty sure I will again. Its was a pretty remarkable thing I did today!
…the Wisdom of 59!
So, I mentioned I had recognized there was another reason for not wanting to shed all of my layers and lie around in the hot blazing sun. It felt it too profound to expand on in the previous post. This part of my blog is for what I’ve learnt in my 59 years regardless of how long it took. I do feel like I need to qualify this before I actually say what it is. I recognize for everyone, their personal challenges – no matter how big or small are as real as for each of us. Regardless of what it is, it doesn’t make anything you struggle with any less important or consuming as the ones others struggle with. No matter how high the hill is you need to climb, we all need to take this journey at our own speed and abilities…and I am okay with that and try hard not to judge. I would never normally share this much of my private feelings but this blog feels a bit cathartic for me. I know I am not alone with these feelings and if I share them, out loud, it might help. I don’t know what your challenge is – we all have them, but for me, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with my belly weight. Its been up more than I would like and each time I stood in front of the TV cameras for a segment or chose a shirt to wear out in public, I would panic. Just days before those shoots, I would be chowing down on my favourite brand of chips (see previous post) not really caring until the day the camera arrived. Then I panicked! Did this shirt make my belly show more…could I stand a certain way to minimize its protruding silhouette. Loris and Phil always found a way, with their magic camera to make me look less bulging and I was always grateful.
Don’t get me started on taking my shirt off in public. The process was far too stressful to even begin to think about it. Diet is my culprit. When I was working, it was so easy to grab some fast food or salty snack because it was convenient and I really had no time for anything else. Here’s the weirdest part to me. Tim and I have been together 37 years and if I could totally be the true to myself, big belly and all… I still felt uncomfortable to be exposed like that even with him. On a really hot day and if it was just him and me, I would remove my shirt but I felt very uncomfortable. I’d also keep the shirt really close to me just incase someone drove down the 800 feet of our treed driveway and surprised us so I could put it back on as a cover.
We’ve been working hard on living a healthy lifestyle since we retired (One of us more than the other, but none the less – doing good). We go to the gym when we are here in the south and back home whenever we head into the city. We also have a lot of weights set up in the garage for our rural home gym. Although I am not as dedicated as Tim, this has been the most I’ve worked out consistently in my life. For the first time, I am seeing the results of those efforts in so many positive ways. Today when I took my shirt off I lay on the chairs and I felt surprisingly comfortable. I am not sure if its the fact that at 59 I care a bit less. It should be because I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about my body, nor should I have over the years. It should be that I won’t allow anyone to body shame me…other than me. It might be because when I really look closely and see the progress I’ve made…however small or large…I am more comfortable with me. It should have been like that my whole life and I really hope it is for you as well. If not, then I hope you realize that each step-however wide you take- moving forward is a forward step. The ones that go backwards are old and done…the ones ahead are new and fresh. Pull up a chair and grab some really high rated sunscreen and turn on your favourite piece of music. Lie back and feel nothing other than the warmth of the sun and calmness all around you. Do this often…cuz it feels so remarkable.