Do you remember being a kid and having the ability to improvise with whatever situation you were in? If you were stuck on a long car trip, you would think up a game to play. Or if the weather was bad and you couldn’t go outside, you would invent something fun to do. Or during a power outage, you pretended you were living in ancient times.
As an only child growing up, I was in that situation countless times. Boredom didn’t defeat me; it challenged me to be creative and productive in the moment. There were no limits on what I could think up, imagine, or do. I was fabulous at putting on dance shows for imaginary audiences, creating enough artwork to fill a museum, and pretending that roller skating in my grandmother’s basement was an Olympic sport.
As we get older sometimes we forget what that is like because we get caught up with all the stresses and worries of an overscheduled busy life. And sometimes use those stresses as excuses for not bothering to keep up with healthy intentions. When things don’t go as expected, it is easy to get off track and get flustered.
This past weekend was BUSY. My husband left on Friday for a 6-day business trip, I was at a seminar in New York City all day Saturday, and after picking up my teenage kids Sunday morning from the friend’s house they stayed at all weekend, there was LOTS to do.
Grocery shopping. Laundry. Food prepping for the week. And like a thousand other things.
So much to do, that by evening, the workout I had intended to do, had not yet happened. Not to mention the assignments I wanted to tackle for my graduate school program.
And then the power went out.
Scrambling to find candles, I started to worry about all the food I had bought earlier in the day that would eventually spoil in the refrigerator. Then I started stressing about how having no internet access would mean I couldn’t do my school assignments (which are online). As I rummaged through a bin of flashlights, finding only ONE that actually had batteries, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do the workout DVD I had planned to do with no electricity.
Darkness was setting in outside just as I lit candles in my kid’s rooms. It actually created a kind of cool vibe throughout the house with all the candlelight. And that’s when I decided that I was going to workout anyway. Using the flashlight to see, I stumbled down in the dark basement and grabbed a pair of dumbbells.
Thankfully my phone was charged, so using the “Seconds” app on my phone, I created a “Flashlight Workout” with a simple circuit of exercises and banged out a quick 15-minute workout.
Here’s the workout I did…
Warm-up for 1 minute: combo of jumping jacks and jogging in place with high-knees
5 rounds of each exercises (30 seconds per exercise and 10 second rest between each round):
I won’t bother telling you about how during the push-ups, I almost burned my hair with the candle that I had on the floor.
Shortly after I finished working out, the power was back!
Feeling good that I got some exercise, I realized that I still have my improvisation skills from childhood…they were just getting dusty from letting life get in the way.
Next time things don’t go as they should, or you are stuck in a circumstance that is annoying, don’t let it stop you! That old corny cliché “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” comes to my mind, but it is so true.
Your power comes from within. Even when the lights go out.
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Megan Ántoni Placa, MS, CNS