Soul searching

Posted September 23rd, 2013 by Penny Wise

Ahh, life is interesting at the moment to be sure, to be sure. You know, I thought I was 'out of the woods' several months ago with the whole marriage break-up thing but it's only really now that I feel I am genuinely starting to get my life back together. Not financially yet I must confess, that's some time off! Since my last post it really hasn't helped that Liam changed back to his old school and walked straight in to a $490 ski trip for Sports Science class. Good heavens that boy has been expensive to keep this year! Not to mention buying yet another new school uniform. Even so, that expense was still preferable to the one I incurred last Friday night, when driving home from a very pleasant dinner at a friend's house some idiot decided to run out in front of me. I was the only car on the road, yet he was totally oblivious! All dressed in dark colours, hood up, didn't even look at me. And, he sure as heck didn't stop when I swerved to miss him and lost control, ending up on the other side of the road and smack into a street sign. My poor little car! Not to mention my poor nerves. I thought the damage was just superficial but a trip to the mechanic showed otherwise with oil pouring out from underneath and two wheels wrecked. The mechanic was hugely sympathetic as I sniffled and sobbed but it still cost me $327 to get it safely back on the road - and I still have to take it to the panel beater! Think I'll be driving it around dents and all for a while yet.

I have to admit though, my little prang didn't really help improve my state of mind. I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately you see. Spring has sprung and with the start of the new season it seemed like Penny came out of hibernation. Suddenly I found myself with more new friends than a girl could handle, not to mention a never ending list of social invites. At first I was excited - yay, I finally had a happening social life! But it only took a couple of weekends of watching people staggering around drunk in bars to realise this wasn't me. It wasn't me as a person and it wasn't me as a mother, rolling in at 2.00am and being too tired to do anything the next day. Not to mention there was no way I could afford $12 a time for a tiny glass of wine! There was no way I could keep that up. It took me a whole weekend of weighing up pros and cons to work out what my problem was and what to do about it. And my conclusion was I'm not ready. I need to be just me for a while.

Even so, I didn't want to be a complete hermit. I needed to find out how I did want to spend my time and who I wanted to spend it with. I found that out the following evening at my Zumba class. It runs twice a week and I used to be totally addicted but then stopped going when life got too complicated. However I started up again recently and it's a blast. It's a great way to meet people and it's so much fun! It's the nearest thing you can get to nightclubbing without a hangover! As I looked around at everyone wiggling, shaking, shimmying and laughing, I thought 'these are the people I want to be around'. Happy, healthy and positive.

And I decided that was how I wanted to spend my spare time too, keeping fit and healthy. It took me a while to work out exactly what that was going to be. I tried going back to running - it's been almost two years since I ran the Auckland Marathon and I've done pretty much nothing since then. I enjoy running. I like the way doesn't cost anything and you don't have to drive anywhere; you just put your running shoes on and take off out the door. I like the way it made me feel so fit and strong - but when I tried to get started again I discovered it wasn't what I wanted to be doing any more. Besides, I was already walking the dogs for an hour every morning as it was! Then I tried going to the local gym. It was OK, I quite enjoyed it. It was social and I could get a good variety of exercise - what I didn't like however was the $15 a time fee. Sure I could get a membership but I didn't have a spare $544 to be able to go as often as I liked! It wasn't just the money though, it was the time factor. I had this grand plan that I would walk every morning, go to Zumba for an hour Monday and Thursday evenings and then hit the gym for an hour on the other five days a week. Like THAT was ever going to happen! Sometimes you have to be realistic and accept there are only so many hours in the day.

So I've got my spare time sussed. I go to Zumba twice a week with my lovely group of friends. It isn't cheap, I pay $8 a class but I've decided its worth it for the enjoyment and social factor. And every morning at 7.30am you'll find me on the beach with the dogs. I walk around 5 - 6km. It's good for the body and most of all it's good for the soul; walking on the beach has got me through some pretty hard times and you can pretty much guarantee you'll come back from a good long walk feeling a whole lot better in your mind than before you went. Free therapy if you like! Some mornings I don't want to but the dogs are my personal trainers, nagging me and tripping me up constantly until they see me grab my jacket and then it's all excited barking with wagging tails and happy lolling tongues. I can't deny them the highlight of their day! Plus the one good thing I did gain from my short lived running revival was the wonders of phone exercise apps. I downloaded the Nike Run app for free and even though I use it for walking rather than running now, it's great! It keeps me motivated, pushes you to walk that little bit further and faster and it keeps a cumulative total so you know exactly how much you have done and can be proud of your achievement. I almost jumped out of my skin the other day when I finished my walk and this American male voice suddenly boomed in my ear 'Congratulations! Last week was good but this week was GREAT! Keep up those miles!' Sounds daft but I really appreciated the encouragement and felt quite proud.

All in all it's been a pretty productive soul searching session. One of the last things my beloved dad said to me was to keep things simple. I'm afraid Dad that I've been doing anything but that for a very long time - but I'm getting there!

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