Our bodies, ourselves.

At 29, I am in the best physical shape of my life. Wait. Don’t go. I’m not being a vain jerk when I say this (well, maybe a little). I’m saying this because when I was in my oh-so-young early 20s, people would to tell me that as we approach 30, we start to fall apart. But I can do things now that I could never imagine doing at 22 or even 18. More to the point though, I realized that about a year ago at this time was when I started training hard for judo. I can’t believe how much I’ve changed in that year.

I realized all this when I woke up this morning and made the commitment to take a day off from any kind of conditioning or training.  I thought this was funny because a year ago I had to wake up and say, “You’re going to practice no matter what.” So once upon a time, I had to force myself to train; now I have to force myself to rest.

And I need to rest because, yes, my hip could use it, but also I’m certain I’m coming down with a cold. I hacked up phlegm during kettlebells last night and could barely clean and press on my right, which is my dominate side. BJJ was not much better. When I sat out of the live training sessions to give my hip a break, I nearly feel asleep while keeping time for my clubmates. Then during judo, my clubmate and I went through five sets of Kata so she could prepare for a promotion. Practicing Kata, you might not end up dripping with sweat, but it can be  mentally taxing, especially if you don’t practice it regularly. Which I and my clubmate do not. We both struggled. I almost lost it.  So after training last night, I felt both physically and mentally broken. However, I still planned on getting up, going at my circuits, going to yoga, then later in the day going to the gym for some lifting and cardio. And then I thought, “Hmmm. I almost feel asleep during class. Maybe I should listen to my body for once.” I digress.

Back to a year ago. From March 2010 leading up to June 2010, I was going to practice once a week. At this time, I was working two jobs and with the commute, I had about a 12 hour work day. So there were days that even though I lugged my gi around with me, it would come time to leave work and go to judo and I’d say, “Oh, I’m tired. I just want to go home and relax with my boyfriend.” So that’s what I’d do.  (Well, I’m single now, so that solves half that problem).

Then at the next class I went to, I would look around and feel ashamed of myself. My clubmates had tiring jobs. They had relationships. But they were at the last class. And they were at this class, and would be at the next one. As I began to marvel at their commitment, something inside me woke up. I realized that’s what I wanted for myself. When June 2010 rolled around, I went down to one job. I decided now was the time. I was going to go balls out and throw myself into judo, no matter how hard it got. As the weeks went by, as cheesy as it sounds to say out loud, I felt alive again, like my true self.

Last summer, I already made the decision to go to grad school. I decided to pursue a Master’s in Social Work. I knew I was starting at UPenn in the fall. I was aware of these decisions as simple facts though, and had not deeply considered what they could mean for me and what I was going to make of my life.  I realized that I had become complacent, letting things happen around me instead of making things happen for myself. I used to not be like that. I didn’t want to stay like that.

I made some massive changes last summer that resulted in a hellish fall. I have no regrets though. When I think of what I am capable of now that I was not capable of then, I can’t help but feel a little proud of myself. Judo reignited that spark for me. As I approach my 30th birthday in November, I get excited thinking of all the possibilities that are still ahead of me.

Hmm. All that from a little phlegm and narcolepsy.

  1. Miles
    June 18, 2011 at 00:54

    Go Lori! That’s awesome that the changes you’ve made are having such a positive effect on you. Especially since – at least from a male perspective – “to go balls out and throw oneself into judo” sounds really, really risky.

    • June 18, 2011 at 12:09

      Miles, I’m that glad that of the four people who read my bog, you are always willing to make such encouraging comments!

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