A friend once commented he couldn’t believe how many people just let themselves go, referring to all the lazy unfit people in the world. His words have clunked around in my head longer than I’m sure either of us imagined they would, when he uttered them to me twenty-some years ago. We were workout partners and had just ridden some crazy long-ass ride in the Marin Headlands. Standing there next to our bikes overlooking the Golden Gate bridge, feeling invigorated and proud of our hard sweaty bodies, he said that. Like most people, I like to be in control, but I also have this Midwest voice in my head that says you’re a bad person if you’re lazy. So, when he said that, I remember thinking to myself, I’ll never ever be one of those people who just “lets themselves go”.
Well, right now, I’m sitting here wondering how terrible it would be if I let myself let myself go? I mean not completely of course, just a little. Would it be so bad to sit around in the sunshine on my deck and luxuriate over the Arts and Leisure section of the New York Times and maybe skip yoga for like a month or two or six? At what point of “letting myself go” would that idea change from good to bad… would there be a point where it would mean risking it all…would I get too smart-mouthed (I tend to get crabby and mean and depressed when I don’t exercise) and/or too curvy that nobody, including myself, would love me anymore?
It has been exactly six days since I got any real exercise other than walking my dog, which frankly doesn’t count, but I have no desire to move from this spot I’m in at all and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I guess what I’m really wondering is whether I will instinctively know when it’s time to move again? or will I have to wait until my favorite jeans are too tight or someone tells me I’m acting like a complete jerk? Or I’m crying? And maybe most importantly, either way, will I still be lovable?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sick. I’m not depressed. I don’t need someone to lift me up and drag me to do anything. I’m just tired, damn it. It feels like I carried around a heavy rock (okay a few) for years and I finally put them down for good. And now it’s like I’m sitting at a vista point looking out, pondering my desire to simply sit still with myself and read, write, listen to music and soak it all in (for an unknown period of time) which may mean, God forbid, I “let myself go” for a bit.
Funny, as I write this, John Legend is on Pandora singing “All of Me”. The lyrics make me long to be with someone who loves all of me… all my curves and all my edges. You know someone who doesn’t care if I go to yoga every single day to maintain my flat abs. Someone who thinks I’m beautiful even if I’m crying, around through every mood. Maybe someone who says I’m their downfall and their muse, their one desire, their worst distraction, their rhythm and blues. Someone who will love my perfect imperfections. I swore I’d never say this again, but I’d totally put all my heart cards on the table for someone who thinks like that….
Conveniently, as if on cue in some sappy movie, the beautiful vantage point of being a middle age, post-divorce woman becomes crystal clear. Ha! Suddenly sitting here on my deck I can see that this someone is already right here. That someone I desperately want to do all that loving of me with all my perfect imperfections… is me. That’s so awesome. And so, then I say, yes, let yourself go a little Julie. Enjoy the sunshine. I’ll always love you no matter what.
And don’t worry, you’ll know when it’s time to move again… probably when the fog rolls in (it never is this nice for longer than a day or two anyway). Then the only place for refuge from the damp chill that will go straight to your bones, is the hot yoga studio where your friends will welcome you back with open arms like they always do, even if it turns out to be six months or six years from now.
Maybe instead of thinking of it as letting myself go, I can think of it as letting myself be, here in the sunshine without worry or judgment, at least until the fog rolls in again.