In our book we talk a lot about meaningful activities – those events and actions in which we are energized, focused and happy. I love Suzanne’s definition and it really made me question how I was spending my time – I do a lot of things just because they are on my schedule or because that is “what I do”. And I do love my little routines, so this evaluation was hard to do! I decided to take one activity about myself, one for my family and one for the community at large and see how they measured up to those terms.
Water Aerobics. I do this for myself, 2 or 3 times a week. And I have to tell you right off the bat I am not an exerciser, more of a couch potato. I like to walk and hike – and do water aerobics. Period. I don’t have great coordination or balance. The first thing that occurred to me in questioning this activity was simply how good it feels to be in the water. I swam before I walked and see water as our natural habitat – we are, after all, made up more of water than anything else! So this class and I have a natural affinity for each other. I also like the timing of the class – it meets at 8am so my day is still before me when I get home and get dressed. Raising my kids and working I was always a morning person but not so much anymore – one of my favorite ways to start the day is with a cup of coffee in bed, checking my email. So it takes something to pry me out of bed and it is excellent that this hour of exercise doesn’t take up my whole morning or really break into my day. And then there is the sense of community. This class is an amazing group of women (and one man!). Many of them have been coming for over 20 years and some are in their 80’s. I enjoy them tremendously and appreciate how willing they have been to welcome a newcomer. For years I went to regular workouts at a gym, purely (and grumpily) out of a sense of duty, and have been delighted to discover how much more I enjoy exercising in a group. I am focused in this class and work hard – even though I am often relieved that the instructor cannot see what’s going on underwater! And I am energized by how much easier it is to move in water than on land. I’ve realized that exercise, to be worthwhile for me, has to have all these peripheral perks.
There will be more blogs coming on how I’ve evaluated family and community activities with this criteria – some I’ve tossed, some I’ve retooled, some I’ve kept! What’s been your experience?