Starting where you are

Take the plunge. One foot after another touches the water. The cold temperature can be felt all over my body as I slowly begin to submerge both legs. Big inhale and exhale and with much apprehension my whole body is now in the water. 

Looking around I feel much out of place, as I am the only one of my age attending this class. Aquafit is not new to me, with most of my babies I participated in some sort of water fitness class. This particular fitness program is not for new moms, it is level 1 – beginner. I can sense eyes on me, most likely wondering what a young person like myself is doing in this class. The average age seems to be from 55 to 75. I’m quite literally the only person in my early 30’s there. 

Several months ago I was enjoying running 2 to 3 times a week. In August my friend and I completed the Mud Girl Run. Pushing myself to attempt new fitness levels, discovering the real benefits of keeping active. In November 2019, we found out that we were expecting our fourth child. This pregnancy was very much planned, and a huge blessing. As with all of my pregnancies though came the morning sickness, or all.day.sickness is better fit as a description. The inability to eat and hydrate properly affects your energy levels, not to mention all the hormones playing with your whole body. You can imagine that when a person is this ill there is next to no activity happening. Survival mode is what you are focused on. Daily you rejoice in things like; I ate a piece of toast, washed my hair, went grocery shopping, or fell asleep without the utter and complete feeling that you are going to be sick.  Three consecutive straight months of this sense of no control over your body. 

At around four months of pregnancy I finally started to feel as if I could attempt more than just surviving. Which is why I decided to attempt aquafit, seemed like a good fitness activity. Why level 1? My body was no longer used to any fitness routine, I knew that it would take work to get going again. I actually had no idea that this aquafit class was going to be this basic. I definitely felt like a fish out of water, no pun intended! My first thought was, what have I done? The first moments were very daunting, and felt a little embarrassing to say the least. 

As I lift my arms, and move my legs I feel droplets of water start to hit my face. My body activates in a way I haven’t felt in months. Others around me are clearly enjoying this class that they have taken several times. I begin to admire all the participants, they are not young, but they have drive and motivation. Suddenly I realise that like them I have drive and motivation, to try something new and keep pushing. The feeling of embarrassment and wanting to hide under a rock slowly disappeared with every movement of my body. All those negative feelings are replaced with a sense of accomplishment! I may not be running a marathon, but I am starting where I am, and need to be. 

Isn’t that what is important, or should be? We are constantly judging ourselves for what level we are at. Or perhaps we compare ourselves to others, and believe we should be at their level by now. There is something deeply wrong with doing that, because there will always be someone at a higher or lower level than yourself. We need to learn to be okay with that. Also, what makes you think that you should be at a different level? Physically I needed to begin at level 1. Perhaps being filled with pride I could have started at the level 4, and also hurt myself or the pregnancy. In order to keep pushing you will have to go at your own pace, or you risk slowing down the process. This concept does not simply apply to physical fitness but with all aspects of life. Start where you are, and move your way up. Feel your leg hit the ground and continue to lift one leg, one arm at a time. Splash the water, make waves, and let it hit you in the face. This is your journey, and with every movement you are closer to where you want to be. Be proud of where you are, and most importantly where you are going!

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