Smile Politely

My parents did some stuff right

I wasn’t brought up to be a couch potato.

From as far back as I can remember, my parents took a walk every night after dinner. They always invited me, and didn’t force me to go, and since we usually had a dog, I viewed these walks as a treat. My parents were also runners and bikers, and I would occasionally join them for a run, but that was really never my thing. We grew up across the street from a great park, and my dad and I would go play tennis, but we would just hit the ball back and forth, not taking score. I was never into competitive sports. Now my husband and I go and hit the tennis ball around. It’s great.

We also had a pool in the backyard — not big enough for doing laps, but big enough to get a lot of activity splashing around. My dad would go to the Y most mornings to get his lap swims in. In the summer, we would put up a combination badminton/volleyball net. Badminton was my favorite activity! Tonight I am going to the gym with my best friend and we are going to play badminton. I also asked my mom to get me and the hubby a badminton net for our second anniversary.

My parents are really into hiking. I was lucky to grow up in Rockford, Ill., where there are some really great parks. When I was in high school, we lived just a couple of miles away from Rock Cut State Park. My friends and I would drive out to Rock Cut and walk around the lake, which took two or three hours. I remember having some of the best conversations of my adolescent life on those hikes.

Rock Cut is also great for canoeing, kayaking, and other boating. My parents love boating, so we would frequently rent boats for the afternoon. When I was in college, my parents moved to a house on a small man-made lake, so now they can walk out to the backyard and get in their kayak or canoe! I am envious. Being on a boat is my favorite thing in the whole world. A couple of weekends ago some friends visited and we rented a paddleboat at Crystal Lake Park. I was in heaven.

I look back on how active I was as a kid and I am kind of shocked that I managed to gain so much weight in the past couple of years. I know that when you get to be 27, 28 it takes more work to stay trim. I jokingly blame the weight on marriage, and I am sure that was a contributing factor, but I also had a terrible job for the first year and a half of my marriage that obliterated my self-esteem, zapped my energy, and made me want to do nothing more than come home and drink to ease the day-to-day pain of being yelled at and generally not appreciated. My weekday drinking being a coping mechanism, I tried to do fun drinking over the weekend. I shot up two pant sizes within the few first few months of the new bad job/ good marriage.

Now I have a job with a boss who is supportive (not abusive). With energy to work out after work and a slowly mending ego, I am on a good path to getting healthier. And with the active upbringing my parents provided, I highly doubt I will ever get bored with my exercise routine. Reconciling my love of booze and subsequent love of late night La Bamba’s is where my path to success falls off course.

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