Monday, May 2, 2011

Flying Barefoot

Let's say you are like me, and you allowed yourself to live a sedentary life for many years.

Let's say you are like me and you had once known what it was like to experience activity and a modest amount of fitness, so you knew what you were missing.

Let's say you were like me and you always had the secret dream of becoming a moving, flexible, strong, graceful person again.

Let's say you were like me and after putting off this "secret dream" for many years finally realized that you'd better do it.

So, you lifted yourself up off your couch and started to become physically active again.

Maybe some of you jumped right up and got right into it and after a few months of adjustment were back in the swing of things.

But maybe others of you, for one reason or another, found that it was not as simple as it seemed to transform one's body from a sitting and thinking machine into a moving and doing machine.

The fact is that it takes time and patience to put it all together.  There will be ups and downs and injuries and setbacks.  There will be periods of progress that seem to go down the drain because of one interruption or another.  There will be over-eagerness and lack of realistic goals that precipitates too-much-too-soon burnout.  There will be a laziness and lack of motivation and drive that hold one back because one doesn't demand enough of one's self.  There will be lack of foresight and an intelligent approach.  There will be an approach that is too thought out and too detailed and too intelligent that is impossible to achieve.  All kinds of things to go through.

You may find that the freedom of movement  you admire when you watch the top athletes on TV does not come easily.  That movement and athleticism is multidimensional and that there are way too many body parts,systems, interactions and functions involved.

You start an activity and then you find out that there are limitations that are preventing the fullest expression of that activity.  You find out that you might need to improve your strength in other areas that don't even seem related to the activity you've chosen.  You might find out that some of your joints and ligaments need to open up and rotate and move in ways that they could not when you started.  You might find that your muscles are tight and need some kind of stretch or myofascial release. You might find that your muscles are too weak and you need to supplement with strength training. You might find that moving in only one direction and one way all the time makes you kind of a lopsidedly fit person.

You might find that it's hard to carve out the time, and that every time you try to add a new activity, everything else has to be rearranged.

You might find that you have to give up other stuff you really enjoyed.

You might find that it takes a long time, lots of trial and error.

You might find that missing just one piece of the puzzle may cause trouble and/or injury and prevent you from progressing.

At some point you might realize that this is going to be a lifetime endeavor.

All this sounds much more complicated than just going out for a little jog every night, doesn't it?

The fact of the matter is that merely getting off the couch and going out for a little 20 minute jog every day is going to improve a person's life.  That's fine and good, and maybe an old fat lady like me should be content with an improvement like that.

But the way I'm wired, I find out that isn't what I'm really after.

Think what I'm after is the ideal of freedom. To break free of the limitations that hold this poor body back.

Maybe what I'd really like to do is learn how to fly.

It just seems like if I could get all the pieces in to place, wave my arms in just the right way, with enough flexibility and strength, just the right amount of training, and catch the air current just right, maybe I could fly.

To have a dream of moving like that -- flying free -- when one is so earthbound and is aging fast, can seem the height of ridiculousness right?  Overweight -- not just by a little, but a lot -- Aging -- turning 50 this summer -- Osteoarthritic -- after she's been sitting for a while she hobbles across the floor in a bent over position until her joints get all oiled up and working again -- Lethargic, Slow to move, Prone to Procrastinate ...  And she thinks she's going to fly?

But it seems like running might be a way to experience a moment of flight, because, unlike walking, there is a moment when both feet are off the ground, and you are kind of flying.


Janice said...

I love your post. Especially the last paragraph. Flying.....that's what I'm aiming for as well:)

Joe said...

Don't hedge, you're totally flying.

Julie said...

Beautifully written.

Yes, I might be like you, very much how you wrote it all out. I'm still taxi-ing around the tarmac, gearing up for the lift off.

You are flying - it just looks different from the angle that you are at.

BarefootJosh said...

So, from the title I thought you were going to write about walking through an airport, getting on a plane, and, well, flying, without shoes on. Instead, this beautiful post.

Keep doing what you're doing. Every step brings you closer. And don't jog! Run! That has nothing to do with pace, of course...

Avocational Singer said...

So glad everybody "got" the flying thing (except BFJosh, but he caught on :). Guess we'll leave that other kind of barefoot flying to the professor.)

So, onward and upward for all those in the quest to develop our anti-gravitational prowess!

Barefoot Neil Z said...


You got this, now Fly!

Anonymous said...

Fly, Fresca. Fly!