Thoughts while walking at dawn

I have been easing back into my walking routine this week. Now that Anya isn’t getting up at 4 a.m. to poo (which means I have to get up to wipe her, which of course wakes Kai), I am able to rise, dress, and slip out before anyone wakes. I’m still working out a routine, but it feels like it could become a routine. Which is exactly what I am going for — I want exercise to be non-negotiable, as much a part of my day as eating and brushing my teeth.

Which is why I have been going even though I don’t feel that great. I’m not sick sick, but definitely have a mild sinus infection. Some days I feel like I am on the brink of requiring medical intervention. Others I feel like I am on the brink of recovery. I don’t feel well enough to go all out, but am not sick enough to stay in bed. So I carry on, hoping that if I pretend I feel good I can fool my body into getting better all on its own.

I’m not a very good liar. But I am also pretty gullible.

I don’t like getting out of bed at dawn, but I like being awake at dawn. This morning, the sky looked exactly like a painting — if I had seen a photo of it, I wouldn’t have believed it was real. At best, I’d have assumed that it had received the Prisma treatment. It was a simple overcast sky; no fiery hues, just soft gray, shell pink, lilac, and watery blue. But still beautiful. The breeze was cool but soft, the air quiet (except for a tree full of exuberant starlings). It was a nice way to ease into my day, walking in that dawn.

If you had told me at 20 that when I was 40 I would rise at dawn and exercise before caffeine, on purpose, I’d have laughed at you. Dawn was when I went to bed, not when I left it. And exercise made you sweaty. I hated being sweaty, and avoided it at all costs.

If you’d told me the same at 30, I’d have assumed you had me confused with someone with an exercise addiction. I couldn’t walk to the couch without a mug of coffee in my hand. And I considered rising at 10 a.m. getting up early. Not that I never exercised; I did. I tried to, at least. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it often enough for it to become a habit. And then there was that whole sweatiness issue.

But if you’d told 10-year-old me that I would prefer to exercise at dawn? I’d have believed you, without question. I planned on being the sort of person who rises early and exercises daily. Just because I couldn’t pull it off quite yet didn’t mean I’d given up hope of ever doing so. (I was not an early riser as a child. I admired those who were, though.)

The older I get, the more I am beginning to see my childhood self as my true self. Not that I haven’t learned and grown along the way — of course I have. But the things I wanted back then, the things I aspired to…those things represent my nature. My best self.

Makes me look at my own kids in a whole new light.

And also makes me wonder how I will see my 40-year-old self in 10, 20, or 30 years.

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