Posted on | March 3, 2016 | 2 Comments
I’ve started climbing steps at work.
It started out just in the mornings and afternoons, but when I was still barely reaching my minimum goal of steps, I amp-ed it up to every time I go to the bathroom. Since I’m also drinking 900 gallons of water a day, that means I’m hitting the stairwell on average 5 or 6 times each day.
I wouldn’t say it’s fun.
And if I’m being totally honest, it’s really difficult to feel like I’m accomplishing much of anything, when all I do is travel up and down the same steps. I guess it’s a lot like life in your upper 30s that way, static yet frenetic all at the same time. I feel like I’m constantly moving, rarely sleeping, and yet somehow it seems nothing is actually getting done. No matter how many times I start the dishwasher or the washing machine, it always needs to be started again with seemingly endless pairs of mismatched socks or food-stained plates. No matter how often I tell myself I’m going to stop and enjoy what’s happening, it… whatever IT is… is always finished before I seem to grasp it’s begun.
I sometimes wonder when my “real” life will start, even as I struggle to remember the moments of my childhood, all rosy and faded like one of those 1970s movie reels.
Adulthood is more about laundry than I thought it would be, you know? It’s more about bills and balancing check books and mopping floors and scrubbing toilets than doing all the things I thought I’d have the chance to do one day. And yes, it gets rough when you notice the ever-growing heaviness of the body, the ever-softening sharpness of the mind. It’s tough to step into the same house with the same creaks and groans and dust the same table over and over until you think maybe… just maybe… your whole entire world is made up of spray, swipe, repeat. It’s a lot like… climbing the same set of stairs, over and over and over again.
Today, I reluctantly pushed open the door to the stairwell again. I kicked off my work shoes and stretched in time to the ever increasing crackle in the bones of my body. Then I reluctantly took the first step down, knowing each step down would be replaced with another up, over and over until the tops of my legs started to shake with exhaustion.
But today, I noticed that each step up was a little easier than it had been yesterday. And then for a moment, I didn’t see stained concrete and bland walls. I looked around and saw me, just me, remembering to put “taking care of me” on my “To Do” list. And that’s a step forward. Even though it’s just climbing steps five times a day. Even though the sound of my breathing on the uphill swing makes me giggle and the pat of my feet is, well, more like an elephant march.
Today, I remembered that adult life isn’t staid or still or repetitious, even when you’re traveling familiar paths. Life isn’t really just about dishes and bills and getting older. It’s about taking the stairs. It’s about mixing things up. Yes, it’s sometimes about doing the same load of laundry twice, but sometimes? Sometimes it’s about noticing that even the same paths can reveal new and amazing surprises. And most of the time, it’s just about embracing where you are and choosing to create your own adventure, right there in the same places you’ve always been.
One step at a time.