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So What's My Motivation?

I've mentioned before how much I love where I live. I was in a cozy two bedroom in the B building from 1992 until July of 1994, just before I got married that August. At that time I was in my mid 20s with a full time job that I loved. I was happy, healthy, and had my whole life ahead of me. I knew what I wanted out of life and the thought of not getting it never even crossed my mind. I was a focused, motivated, well........yuppie. If I had kept my Preppy Handbook I would have carried it in a briefcase to work each morning.

One of the things I did religiously was walk. Almost every day, rain or shine, hot or cold. I grabbed my bright yellow Sony Walkman with my favorite tape (usually George Winston's All The Seasons, a personal favorite of mine and my bff Denise) and practically skipped my 125 pound dancer's body throughout the entire neighborhood of South Oleander. I had grown up in that neighborhood, and it had always been part of my long term life plan to live there when I found Mr. Right. I especially loved it during the fall. Autumn has been my favorite season since I was a child, and that is NO exaggeration. The crisp, cool air, the gorgeous colors of the Dogwood trees, the late afternoon sun as it drops lower and lower in the sky, the crunch of the leaves under my feet. Of course, I can't forget my excitement at seeing all of the pumpkins on porches and Halloween decorations. Still my favorite holiday.

I finally did meet Mr. Right, and we ended up in my favorite house in South Oleander, which we lovingly referred to as the "Leave it to Beaver" house. A yellow center-hall Colonial with a white picket fence. I continued walking almost every day, until I was so pregnant I could barely make it around the block, much less the whole neighborhood.

Walking, at least for exercise, soon took a back seat to motherhood, as any of you with children can understand. I would sometimes take them with me in the stroller, but didn't go as far as I had pre-rugrat. A child's attention span is never long enough, even outside with so much to look at. Eventually, as depression took hold and the marriage started to slip into a black hole, the only walking I did was from the sofa to the kitchen (or the bed - I slept a LOT).

Lately, I've been reflecting on my life back then. Now, be warned. Romanticizing the past can be a very slippery slope. We remember only what we want to, and if we aren't careful we can end up repeating old mistakes. What I've been trying to focus on, though, is remembering what it was that motivated me back then. I was happy, healthy, and well adjusted (for the most part), but what was different then? I realize that I've been through a lot over the last 27-30 years. A LOT. I have different priorities, more responsibilities, more stressors, and waaaaaay more debt. I'm still trying to figure it out.

Unfortunately, walking isn't the only thing that I am having difficulty motivating myself to do these days. I can't find a reason to make my bed, clean the bathroom, or even take a shower sometimes. Thank God I live alone, right?! Don't get me wrong - if you were to drop by unannounced, my apartment would still be presentable. A small one bedroom isn't that difficult to keep clean, as long as you don't look too closely. The dishwasher, however, will remain unemptied until I have no clean coffee cups or utensils, and laundry sits in the hamper until - you guessed it - I'm out of underwear.

I wish I could blame COVID for all this, but at this point we're talking about years of avoidance. The pandemic certainly hasn't helped, but I have no one thing in particular to blame. It's just life, and life does not give us a heads up that things are about to go down the crapper. What's the saying? - It's not what life throws at you, it's how you deal with it? Well, I did not deal with it very well. Not any of it. And that's disappointing. That young woman who got so much joy out of walking the neighborhood every day would not even recognize the shell of my former self that I have become.

But there is hope. There has to be, otherwise why are we still here? Walking is good for mind, body, and soul. One could even say it's the healthy equivalent of a gateway drug. Walking leads to weight loss, increased metabolism, and increased serotonin levels; it calms the mind and spirit, and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. A little sweat never hurt anyone, either (or a lot, in my case).

As with most actors, though, I need to find my motivation. That is what I'm struggling with right now. I knew back in January that my son was going to be getting married in August, but that apparently wasn't enough. I became a grandmother in December, and even that didn't do it. At the risk of beating a (very) dead horse, my health is in a shame spiral, and I'm STILL sitting on my ass playing the victim.

So what is it going to take?! I turn 54 in less than a month, and there is no valid reason why I couldn't have another 50 years if I really worked at it. I realize that it's not all in my hands, but if I die at 58 I don't want it to be because of the way I treated my own body. I want people to say, "Oh, Cindy? She died from injuries sustained in a shark attack while vacationing in Aruba with her 24 year old scuba instructor."

Come to think of it, where IS that Sony Walkman?

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