I was reminded recently of my past turbo-fit self by a friend who confessed that I helped her to be neurotic like me. I've since gotten over that neurosis, and swung the other way: I keep going back and forth between scary fit and shmushy poo. Calves bulgy enough to put your eye out, or thighs that roll with the wind. So the question is: How fit does one need to be?
I've lifted some weights in my day, and always have to come back to: Why? Why do I need these biceps? It's not like I'm loading 15 tons all day or have a need to rip soup cans open with my bare hands. I'm an editor, and pencils are pretty light. Not like Madonna, who has to carry heavy handbags and cell phones.
What is with women's arms these days, anyway? It's definitely not like they're particularly attractive, as this guy reminded me. It seems to be all the aging stars, poking us along with their wiry appendanges. You don't see nice young things with these terrifying tentacles. It's the Cheryl Crows and Teri Hatchers.
I was already stressed out thinking I had to be a good mom and competent businesswomen and helpful in the kitchen and involved in the community. (Not that I do any of those things.) Now I have to have Alien arms too?
Actually, in my many, many 30 years of searching, I've finally found my own balance, from reading French Women Don't Get Fat. I like them Frenchies. They live for pleasure, and won't do a thing if it's senseless...like developing behemoth muscles to be an editor. They do what they enjoy. This, and a convenient quote from C.S. Lewis, has formed my own approach to fitness.
In The Screwtape Letters, the head demon tells his minion that the most vital thing to capture a man's soul is to get him to do something, like take a walk, not because he enjoys it, but because he thinks he ought to do it. Christians thus get captured in a joyless life of ought tos, rather than a joyful life of enjoying God's pleasures. A joyless legalist is less of a threat to Satan than a joy-filled person enjoying life and God's goodness.
Wait, wasn't I talking about scary arms? Segway.
In my own life, this has translated to mean that I do what I love: I love to hike and walk and be surrounded by nature. Yes, I challenge myself, and believe in discipline. But I do it in ways that enhance me as a person (spending time in nature draws me closer to God), rather than devolve me as a person (running makes me cranky and achy and stinky).
P.S. Mike tells me I already posted on this topic and even Madonna's arms. But I'm 30, I can't be expected to remember these things.