Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Yesterday I woke up with a brainwave...

"I'm going to change the way I view my time at the gym," I announced to my husband.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I don't like referring to gym as Jim and that I'm off to have an affair. It was funny in the beginning, but it doesn't work for me anymore. Plus, I like it when you come along with me."

"Then we'll have a ménage à trois," he said triumphantly - lightly chuckling at his jest.

"No. That's not it. You see, I really like the way I feel after the gym. I ALWAYS leave feeling better than when I arrived. It's just getting there that's the problem," I continued...

"It's like an obligation, something I have to do - and that's not inspiring to me. I need to repackage what the gym means to me so I am inspired to go. When you're inspired, you don't need to motivate yourself because you're itching to do it. Self motivation is draining. Being inspired is the opposite - it's energising. Instead of having to coax yourself to start, you're having to force yourself to stop... or at least pace yourself. That's how I want to feel about the gym. "

"Geez it must be hard being you," he interjected.

"It IS hard being me," I sighed. (That's before I had my 1% breakthrough)

I took the time to reflect on my attitude towards being active as a child. I was always outside playing. From the moment I returned from school it was off with my uniform, complete any obligations (or negotiate deals) for my 'get out of jail free' card, and I was out the door quicker than you could say "Have you finished your homework?" We played till sunset and begrudged the familiar call of "Kids, dinner's ready!"

It didn't stop there. Every wedding, family BBQ or staff Christmas party I was running around with cousins or newly made friends till I collapsed (usually under the table at the feet of my mother). I remained sedated till being carried upstairs and laid to bed (occasionally I would awake when our car reversed into the garage, but I adopted a charade so I could get a free lift to my room - very naughty).

Kiss chasey, tiggy (aka tag), backyard cricket, football, roller skating, riding bikes, British bulldogs, elastics, down-ball, hopscotch, skipping rope and 'mothers and fathers' (the latter probably the least active, but the most creative). I couldn't sit still for a second.

So, with this in mind... plus knowing how good I feel after I've been to the gym, I have now repackaged it as 'Play Time'. That's what the gym is for me. It is PLAYTIME - Woohoo! And the best thing about it is that I don't have to finish my homework before I go. Now that I am an adult (well, that's what my age indicates), I can choose to have my playtime before I start my obligations - isn't that fabulous?

So far, so good.

This morning I leapt out of bed and asked Patrick (my husband), "Do you want to come out to play?" to which he declined. Then I ran off (literally) and played anyway. Right now, I am feeling as happy as I did when I was that little girl who ran and ran and ran till she faked being asleep on her Dad's shoulder.

Until tomorrow, may you repackage whatever it is in your life that needs a new attitude.

Grace xx

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  1. I love your perspective on this - it's hard to sometimes have 'play time' as an adult, but that's what we should all have.. it's good for us physically + emotionally. The narrative we have about activity & exercise can be either motivating or completely uninspiring... so great to hear you're repackaging it to work for you! :)

  2. We all respond differently to being active and I'm surprised at how many people use the 'cookie cutter' method... and then we wonder why it doesn't work for us. It's about finding what works for each individual. I know it's early days, but I certainly have had a shift in the way I FELL about going to the gym since labelling it 'Play Time' - I'm filled with excited anticipation. It's amazing how a shift in perception can change the way we feel about things.

  3. Thanks Gaz xx

    Really, underneath it all, it's just a regular Barbie 'Repackaged' ;-)

  4. Underneath it all, all the Barbies are the same and by the same token, underneath it all WE are all the same! x

  5. love it Grace- play time is an excellent adult concept. I tried to call it 'me' time- but that still just brought out feelings of guilt and selfishness. I think the kids will even be able to prioritise mum having play time! Don't forget to add ice skating at the docklands to your play time, oh, and Friday nights roller disco at Sunshine- sooo much fun and a great excuse to wear leg warmers!!

  6. What a great idea! Once again, you've hit the nail well and truly on the head

    It's funny, because I was thinking about the exact same thing yesterday. I was so active as a kid and teenager and now...well exercise always seems to come last!

    And like you, I love the way I feel at the end...exhibit a) is any time I get on my pushie, I just love it.

    So if you don't mind, I'm going to jump on the play time bandwagon!!!

    Jess xxx

  7. Anonymous - I love the idea of Roller Disco in Sunshine with leg warmers - is that for REAL???

    And Jess... love to have you on board the bandwagon!

  8. Hey Grace- Thanks for sharing your journey towards "40" on this blog. Your posts are so thoughtful , witty and real. I love your "repackaging" and the Barbie comments. You have really nailed it with the perspective/ attitude change. I read a book recently called "Teach Only Love: The 12 Principles of Attitudinal Healing" and your words reminded me of it's message. Keep travelling forwards - enjoying your experience along the way most of all. All the best- Jude Ellis (Leslie)


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