Hang In There

I’m still working on my New Year’s Resolution from 1979: get fit and eat right. I’m not making a new New Year’s resolution until I can cross that one off my list.

So, in my continuing effort to be physically fit, I wound up in an exercise class not too long ago. And what did I discover? I discovered exactly how many sit ups I can do: None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Null.

This was definitely a shock to me, as I can distinctly remember being able to do sit ups – several of them, in fact – in 7th grade, about 42 years ago.

What changed when I wasn’t looking?

I got all set up, paying attention to my proper sit up form: knees bent, feet on the ground, hands behind my head. Imagine my surprise when I tried to rise up and nothing happened. I tried it again, with pretty much the same result. Oh, sure, my head came up off of the floor just a tad and my shoulders thought about it, but there wasn’t any real movement.

Okay, I thought, I’m just out of practice; I can do this. Remember Yoda’s advice: Do or do not; there is no try.

I change my approach. I put my arms up above my head, parallel to the floor, and suddenly fling them towards my knees while simultaneously lifting my feet off the ground, bringing my knees a couple of inches closer to my chest. I reach up and grasp the back of each thigh, then propel my feet downard, towing my head and shoulders off of the floor.

I lean forward as much as possible, taking advantage of the (slight) momentum. Oof! I breathe out. Inwardly, I count: One!

Then I notice myself in the mirror. A mirror covering the whole wall. Who’s idea was that?

I gasp at the sight of my red, puffy cheeks between the ashen crow’s feet around my eyes and the tense white line around my lips. My gray hair is escaping my pony tail in curling tendrils at all angles (oh my, how my mother yearned for my hair to curl like this when I was a child!). I look like a startled raccoon with reversed dark and light makings.

Recoiling from the shock of seeing myself as others see me, I let go of my thighs and bang my head back onto the floor. Now I have an Ow-ie.

Good job, ladies, good job! The instructor is perky. And why not? She can do everything she’s telling us to do, including sit ups.

Surreptitiously (I had to look up this word), I glance over at my classmates, some are 30 years younger and 30 pounds lighter than me. They are just going at it: they are lean, mean sitting up machines.

The instructor is clapping and loudly supportive: HANG IN THERE, LADIES, HANG IN THERE!!!

Okay, do or do not. I’m on it! I get set for my second sit up, ready for the mirror this time.

The instructor barks out: Okay, ladies, enough sit ups. Let’s move on, shall we? Let’s do push ups, okay, regulation push ups. On your toes, ladies, on your toes! GO!

Regulation push ups, I think, yes let’s. At least I can do one half of one regulation push up: the down half.

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