As I get older, it is refreshing to acknowledge the things I like and don’t like to do. For years, I did things because I felt like they were the right thing to do or what I should be doing. Because everyone else was doing them. Or loved to do them.
Case in point: yoga.
For years, I was a faithful practitioner of yoga, knowing that it would be the best thing for my type-A, control freak, slightly ADD personality. I went every week with my purple mat, in my cute black stretch pants (that incidentally could have benefited from a tummy control panel) and twisted myself into various positions, holding them as long as I could, and trying to think about anything but all of the things I wanted to think about. I never could execute a handstand, but I could live with that, because when it came to the “pigeon pose,” I was a champ.
The only problem was, I wasn’t relaxing. What I was doing was stressing about not being able to relax at yoga. And I was thinking about other stuff that didn’t have anything to do with my own inner peace, chakras, or mindfulness. Every time I got into a pose and was instructed to hold it, my mind went in about five hundred different directions, starting with: “Things I need from Shoprite: eggs, milk, butter, toilet paper…” Then I would refocus (and readjust my tummy-control-less yoga pants) just in time for the next pose and clear my mind. Seconds later, I was back to: “…chicken, bread, toilet paper—oh, right, I already have that on the list—beer…beer…beer…”
My friend, Tami, is a yoga instructor and in the best shape of anyone I know (with the exception of trainer Shari). She is also very serene. She has graciously invited me to her class and while I was tempted to go, I never took the plunge. I couldn’t figure out why. Then, it finally hit me: I don’t really like yoga.
For all of you yoga devotees, let me be perfectly clear: the problem is me, not yoga. Yoga is a fabulous form of mediation and exercise. It’s just not for nut cases like myself.
But for years, I kept thinking that because it was such a fabulous form of mediation and exercise, I should do it. Even though it didn’t do anything for me physically or spiritually. I finally found the courage to articulate this epiphany to my friend, Melissa, who stared back at me and said, “I could have told you that.”
Why are our friends more likely to know more about us than we know about ourselves?
Now that I’ve embraced this new-found self awareness, I have also finally admitted that I really don’t like the beach. It’s hot, it’s crowded, and there’s sand. And flies. And it’s outside.
I also don’t like expensive coffee, I would rather have a big plate of fried chicken than a salad (despite what it does to my cholesterol and triglycerides or whatever they’re called), and I think that programs on public broadcasting stations are for the most part boring. I also prefer a dimestore novel to what is purported to be a literary masterpiece. I will no longer suffer through an “important work” if my mind starts to wander after the first three pages. I also prefer cheap chardonnay to the more expensive ones. But I won’t cheap out on Champagne.
By this time, you’re probably wondering why it took so long to come to some of these truths. I guess I’m just a slow learner.
So, what have you learned about yourself recently? Please share.