Shaking Off the Ghosts: My Best Resolution Ever
It was the best New Year’s resolution ever. It was specific, measurable and attainable, and — here’s where it gets totally awesome — required little deprivation and effort.
Yet, it was going to be life-altering. I entered 2012 with joy.
It was a nice change from previous years in which my resolutions filled me with dread and were, ultimately, failures.
Those ghosts of resolutions past attempted to chip away at my newfound optimism. They taunted me: “Where’s the book you resolved to finish writing?” and “Hablas español? Nope, didn’t think so,” and “Remember when you resolved to eat healthily? Just look at your fingers now, stained orange from Cheetos.”
I shook off the ghosts. This year was different. To cement my commitment, I said my resolution aloud: “I, Melanie Coughlin, resolve to give up exercise this year.”
Ah, how sweet those words sounded. Goodbye, guilt. Hello, freedom.
I took action immediately; I didn’t even wait until Jan. 1 to start. I called the gym and canceled my membership. The other action steps were equally simple. Do not jog or run (snicker). Do not participate in exercise programming on television (chortle). Do not take fitness walks (snort).
Truth be told, that last one did present a small obstacle. My friend Kim had just moved into the neighborhood. Exuberant, lively, Tigger-ish Kim wanted us to walk together every day. I was happy to walk, but my expectations were different.
With Kim living close by, I expected to walk leisurely to her house, then reward my exertion by lazing in her pool and eating her snacks. Kim buys the best snacks, stuff I don’t buy because I eat the whole bag in one sitting.
Like Cheetos. I love Cheetos so much that my dog’s middle name is Cheez Doodle after the Wise company’s interpretation of the glorious, melt-in-your-mouth treat.
Yes, Kim presented a challenge, but after several unsuccessful attempts at rousing me from a Sunday afternoon nap, she got the hint. Bless her heart.
I had another close call with exercise this fall when my daughter, Isabella, developed an interest in running. She asked me to run with her. I could not deny her. How could I when every day we hear about the obesity epidemic in children?
I pictured Isabella 20 years down the road talking in her living room with a therapist. Of course she would be in her own living room. At 895 pounds, poor Isabella would be unable to leave her home. She would tell the therapist about the day that brought her to this sad state.
“I asked my mom to run with me. She said no. Then she started plying me with Cheetos,” Isabella would explain, orange crumbs dotting her lips.
I couldn’t let that happen. I would do the right thing; I would leave behind my dream of not exercising for the sake of my daughter.
When Isabella and I took our first jog around the neighborhood, whaddayaknow, I didn’t even have to break my resolution. The difference between the length of Isabella’s legs and mine meant that I could walk briskly while she jogged. But Isabella improved quickly, and after a couple of weeks, she was nearing a speed that would force me to jog, too.
Then, fate intervened. On that fortuitous day, I slipped on a wet floor at Walmart. It didn’t seem like a big deal until nightfall, when I could no longer put weight on my foot.
Tigger Kim, a physical therapist, insisted I see a podiatrist. I don’t remember exactly what the doctor said was wrong with my foot. All I heard was “not broken,” “pulled ligament” and “no exercise.” My ears perked up at that last one. The doctor went on to say that I should avoid exercise for 12 weeks. I tried to look disappointed at the news.
Now with only a few hours left of the year, I think I’m safe in declaring my resolution of 2012 a success. Hooray!
I do, however, need a totally awesome resolution for 2013. I’m inspired by a friend who has resolved to stop passing gas in public. I applaud her for doing something good not just for her but also for the environment.
May we all strive to such heights in the New Year. Cheers!
Contact Melanie Coughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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