Finding inspiration

For weeks running into months, I’ve struggled with motivation, relapsed into smoking, and fell into various ruts as time swirls past like a dust devil. But this past weekend, I found some inspiration—and was surprised to discover I had inspired myself.

Our culture is all about the quick fix, instant gratification, and 8 foolproof ways to shrink your waist without dieting. My own journey toward health and fitness has been a long, slow slog that nearly always feels like lots of work and if I’m honest, lots of deprivation, too.

Last week I wrote about being in a rut, and I took a few steps to change that. One was an epic fail, as the kids say. I did not make the 6 a.m. class I had planned, sleeping blissfully right through it Friday. But I’m in the middle of a move to Edgewood, and I’m planning on trying again.

The other thing I did was to participate in the archery competition at the Torrance County 50+ Games on Saturday. There were only two men and two women there to compete, a very disappointing state of affairs as far as I’m concerned. But those of us who were there had a great time, and my sore muscles the next day were a testament to the fact it was a solid workout for my back, shoulders and arms.

Trying something new is fun, and archery is really, really fun. So much that I’m thinking about setting up a target in my yard.

None of that is what really inspired me this week, however. It was a set of two photos. One was taken about five years ago, and it’s a bit cringeworthy. I look uncomfortable in my body and out of shape. In those days, I almost never let anyone take my photo, and a full body shot with my panza hanging out would go into a vault never to be seen again. Frankly, I’m surprised I didn’t delete it immediately.

In the other photo, taken Saturday by Jerry Melaragno, the camera was so far from my mind I didn’t even notice him taking pictures, and I sure would not have stopped what I was doing at that point to worry about it anyway. I look comfortable in my body, strong, and confident. This is in spite of the fact that the last time I shot a bow and arrow, it was made out of a stick and string when I was a kid.

The contrast between these two photos has been on my mind.

I read some years ago that high school sports are good for girls because in our culture, which puts so much focus on what a woman looks like, for a girl to learn what her body is capable of is a valuable lesson. Girls in sports tend to have more body confidence because they know their body is not simply decorative. I have felt the same kinds of benefits in my own mind, as I learn how many things I can do now that I never thought I was capable of.

But really the best thing that happened to me this week was the surprising feeling of being an inspiration to myself. In looking at those two photos, it’s baldly clear to me how far I have come. And while trying to kick my own ass into gear for weeks and months has not proved motivating, seeing that change so starkly really has.

Time to get moving again.

Where do you find inspiration? You can contact me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing it!” I’d love to hear from you.