@postaday 94; #postaday2011
Of course if the alarm doesn’t go off at 5 a.m., which is a work-day sleeping-in time for me, then it would be easy to blame the clock. I blame myself. When my eyes opened on their own at 5:25 this morning it meant I had 30 minutes to get out the door. It took 40. But something made up for it. Despite having scooped up a colleague at a bus stop, dropping him off near the HMSA Mothership and my driving up into the Ross parking lot, I got to the office probably two minutes later than usual. I was still walking toward my cube when my phone rang, for my daily conversation with the girls as they are being taken to their schools by John.
I checked the clock. It looks like it was set for 5 a.m. and not 5 p.m. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I didn’t hear the lovely voices of NPR talk of world disasters and conflicts. Time to consider a backup?
Because our weekends are spent with some serious physical training, I no longer haul my butt out of bed at 3:30 a.m. on Mondays to go to 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai. After being sick earlier this year for five weeks with an upper respiratory infection, I’ve decided that rest is as important as being active, especially as we age. I used to burn the candle at both ends. I used to be under 40, too. After a while you realize that your mind might be willing but your body requires, in fact demands, respect.
Make a choice: Eat, drink and be merry. Work out to make up for it. Repeat. I have friends who do that. I wonder if they ever really feel good. Not have-a-li-hing-mui-mojito-during-happy-hour good, but, wake up from a sound sleep and feel rested good. The kind of sleep unhindered by rich foods, too much alcohol, dehydration and bad dreams. After a while your body says WTPho? Why are you doing this? I cannot take another gravy-all-over plate lunch, drive-thru super meal, or 32-ounces of soda!
When you get to that point where your body brings you to your knees, when you look in the mirror and don’t like how worn out you look, how soft you are, how unhealthy you appear, what will you do? Because even an emergency set of hot-box yoga sessions, week-long lemon-chili-pepper-water fasts and torturous kick-boxing is not the answer. It might provide some short-term results, but they are hardly remedial.
I restarted the grandfather clock in the dining room this weekend. I opened the cabinet and got a whiff of the oil that keeps the parts from rusting. I slowly pulled each of the three chains to raise the weights high within the cavity. I gently gave the pendulum a nudge and stood by, watching as it steadied itself and swung from side to side, two seconds to complete every tick-tock. When you bump into a grandfather clock, it makes a glorious sound. It startles the family and we all pause to be sure it is OK. When we first moved into the house, I felt as though I were sleeping with it. Every 15 minutes it chimes, and it took a while before I got used to it. Now I don’t even hear it. Sometimes I have to take a look at it to be sure it’s keeping time, and its weights aren’t notched all the way down. As long as we have a routine where we gently pull its weights up, the clock will continue to mark time.
After a while you realize that your body responds as well to simplicity. It wants rest, water, nutritious foods and exercise. It will tolerate rich meals and desserts on occasion, but when we have an exercise routine, it bounces back better from periodic indulgences.
Unfortunately, I’ve come to this realization in the second half of my life. I know that during my youth, I wouldn’t have listened to the present older and wiser me. We all have our pendulums, and how long they work for us depends upon how well we treat our bodies, maintain our weight, and pay attention to our tickers.