After whining a few weeks back about the emptiness of my personal life, I have recalled several lessons that I had previously learned and somehow forgotten.
Diagnose Problem then choose a path towards a Solution, even if it involves lots of little steps!
I made an appointment for an introductory visit to Curves. I had some preconceived notions about this exercise program especially for women. Just the word "Franchise" brings all kinds of Time-Share, hard sellathon, marketing people to mind. I wasn't sure if it was going to be cultish and God-driven. What little brain I have resists washing quite determinedly.
There were quite a few suspicious-seeming questions to answer at the beginning of my visit. "What were my goals?" answer: fill some gaps in my life and improve my health and fitness so that I would be around to live it. "Did I want to give them the names of three friends they could contact who might want to join?" No! I intend to make new friends as part of my membership.
I was given quite a talk about the benefits of their methods. There was a lot of smiling and eye contact being beamed my way by perky and ever so enthusiastic Mimi. Introductions were broadcast to the women who were working out at that time; less scary than all the New-Girl days I experienced during my school life, but a bit awkward all the same.
I was shown how some of the machines function. Loosely arranged in a circle, there are different apparatus to work on different muscle groups with a bouncy pad in between each one for cool down, jogging in place activity. The music is rhythmic, along the lines of Abba's Dancing Queen, and every thirty seconds a flight attendant wanna-be voice says "now change stations". You complete the circuit twice, which takes thirty minutes then do some additional stretching and "Voila!"
Surprising myself, I signed up. Surprising myself, I love it.
There is none of the boredom of being on the same stair walker for an interminable, uphill hike to nowhere; none of the cattle market appeal of spandex clad bodies just dying to hook up with one another; no side by side isolation, because the human next to you is reading a book and wearing ear phones. In short, it's a social and friendly environment I can drop into or out of at any time during the hours of business, work up a sweat, chat a bit with a whole new pool of potential buddies and go home with a red face and an endorphin rush that remind me of my disco days.
My other small step in the right direction is that I have signed on to volunteer at a non-profit that does therapeutic horse riding for disabled children, and some adults. I went to the orientation last Saturday and start as a side-walker or horse leader on Friday afternoon. Each rider has three people to keep them safe, one leading the horse and one walking along each side. There is a designated "talker" so as not to overwhelm or confuse the rider. The "talker" repeats the teacher's instructions and helps the rider carry them out. Being the designated "Non-Talker" will be a good lesson in self control, until I can be trusted to do no harm in another role. I practiced a bit of non-talking at volunteer orientation, as the person in charge of our group "taught" us to groom and saddle a horse.
When I schedule stuff for myself I can be waylaid or dissuaded by other duties. When I promise something to someone else, nothing stands in my way of keeping that commitment. So it will be something good that puts me close to horses and their people. I also hope to learn something and, again, meet new people.
I used to say that horses were my vocation and people were my hobby. The path forward seemed so clear and straight back then. Like everyone, over time, I've experienced some forks in the road. You make your choices and you live them as best you can. I have recently realized that I had lost myself a bit along the way.
I have the feeling I've got a new map with some new choices. Over hill and dale is fine with me, just as long as there is forward momentum.