I've been thinking about something a yoga teacher said in class a couple of weeks ago. Quoting a DIFFERENT teacher, she mentioned that we humans like to give ourselves timelines, and also to see our lives that way. Not just forward ("I'm going to lose 20 pound by May!"), but backwards, as well ("I USED to be able to do 30 pull-ups! What happened?!?!")
And I realize that that's EXACTLY what I've been doing.
Especially with yoga, but also...well...everything, apparently.
I compare myself now with who I was/what I could do in my 20's.
And it's a simple fact of life that many of those things just are NOT DOABLE anymore!
I can't teach drama classes from 9 AM until 11 PM. I can't rehearse one show during the day and perform in another at night. At the moment, I can't do the intense, hour-plus workouts I did 10 years ago.
I can't pick up at a moment's notice and take an acting gig in another city (even if one were to be offered, lol!). Heck, I can't even go out at night without more planning than a field marshal in the middle of battle!
I already knew some of this. But when it came to yoga and exercise, I was clinging to the past. To my days as a bendy-wendy, strongy-wongy 20-something.
I'm just not there anymore.
Which is not to say I can't get there again, but it's going to take time, patience, and most of all, compassion.
For this body that, over the intervening years, has been through quite a bit. 2 pregnancies, years of not sleeping through the night, many changes of address, and plain ol' aging.
There's no sense in getting angry at myself for not being able to do the things I could do 15 or 20 years ago. I just have to bite the bullet and start from scratch.
Which is not always a bad thing!
My form wasn't always correct back then. Now I can start at the beginning WITH correct form, and go from there. MUCH better.
I pushed myself too hard. Nowadays I'm much kinder to my sometimes-aching bod. I pay a lot more attention to what's going on internally than to how I look, or whether I can go as deeply into the pose as the Gumby on the may next to mine.
Plus, I have to think about the kind of person I was in my 20's, and if I would really want to go back to that? I was terribly insecure, neurotic, prone to horrible panic attacks, had ZERO confidence in most things, and had a pretty short fuse. I wasn't a bad person I was just...twenty-something.
I'm MUCH wiser, stronger, smarter, happier, and just plain BETTER now. Sure, I'm also rounder, but, if given the choice, would I REALLY go back to my 20's?
(Besides, I didn't have my kids back then!)
So I'll keep struggling through my workouts and using a block in yoga, and I'll try not to get TOO jealous of the skinny young 'uns in their cute little Lululemon outfits and pretzel-like abilities.