When I was a little girl, just about 7 I lived in San Francisco in a tall house. It wasn’t that big but it was three stories high. The basement was at the bottom level but unlike some it was above ground so that constituted the first level and then the kitchen, living room and playroom was on the second level and the bedrooms were on the third.
My parents had a TV in their room so I spent a lot of my free time lying on their bed watching I Dream Of Jeannie (I SO wanted to visit that bottle with all the pink pillows of hers) and Mission Impossible. Now and again I’d go over to their window, pop it open and lower myself out of it so that I was doing a straight-arm hang. My routine was to look down at my fuzzy slippers then I’d look to the right, look to the left….all while dangling high above my dad’s big rhododendron bush…then I’d pull myself back in the window. You could say I started life with great motivation to be able to do a pull up. My little stunt was just something I’d do to amuse myself. I was never afraid. I knew I would be able to pull myself back in the window but in retrospect I’m glad the old wooden window sill never gave way. That the worn wood might fail never occurred to me. I knew for sure that my body wouldn’t.
I also used to climb an old rickety ladder from the landing outside my bedroom window to get onto my roof. It was flat and full of tar bubbles and gravel. When it was hot, which wasn’t very often, the tar bubbles would get all soft and melty and they were great fun to play with. I loved it up there and when I got bored on mine I’d hop onto my neighbor’s roof. The thing was the roofs weren’t connected. They were about 4 feet apart so I’d just jump from one to the other and keep on roof hopping halfway up the block until I reached a gap between roofs that was way too far apart to jump. A single misstep would have been fatal but again I was never afraid. I had a grand old time playing up there, throwing pebbles and watching them bounce on the black top below.
Perhaps I had too much time on my hands….perhaps I should have had more supervision but I made it just fine.
The point of these little vignettes from my life is that it’s a good thing to be able to trust your body, to know that you’re capable and strong. Lots of us felt that way as children and then somehow we grew up and lost that pleasing connection between mind and body. I’m not suggesting you take big risks. That’s not a good idea but pushing just a little beyond your preconceived ideas of what you think you can do might have a pleasing effect that’s more than just physical.
I remember when I started doing real squats. Not the assisted ones or the type using machines but honest to goodness free weight squats. I thought 100 lbs was HEAVY and it was. That was until I found out there were plenty of women who could squat much more. My competitive spirit kicked in and I made a new goal…to squat 220lbs because that marked 2x my body weight. I worked on it and worked on it and finally with much sweat and swearing (inside my head of course) I got it…for reps! I was delighted. It was evidence that I’d gotten physically stronger but it also made me feel satisfied inside. I hit a target that I’d never have even thought of when I first started out.
knowing that your body is responsive, adaptable and reliable is a fantastic feeling and it doesn’t have to stop with your childhood. No matter how old you get it’s good to remind yourself of that. Don’t ever stop….KEEP ON PUSHING!