Andy started begging us to take karate when he was 5. For two years, he begged and pleaded. Finally this past August, after much financial finagling, we got the budget to the point that we could squeak out a YMCA membership, allowing Andy to take TaeKwonDo. He has thoroughly enjoyed it (although he puts up a resistance to going sometimes - he's completely addicted to MarioKart) and has graduated belts once already. He's scheduled to graduate belts again this month. I couldn't be prouder of him...he's really done well.
In September, I was cleared to start exercising. (I had been very ill with a serious, serious kidney infection for the majority of the summer...I was hospitalized twice in July.) So I took advantage of the fact that we as a family had access to the YMCA and started going while Andy was in class. It went well, and I started losing weight. I got ambitious and started Couch-to-5K. I noticed how much better I felt when I worked out, and so in November I sat down with Chris and had a heart-to-heart. We decided that I would start getting up at 5am and going to the gym, working out, taking a shower, then coming home to get the kids ready for school. It's been great, I'm on week 7 of the 8 week program, and I love it.
And let me tell you something else that I love...the anonymity of the Y. THAT, my friends, is awesome. I'm already pretty much anonymous here in my new city. It's only in the past six months that I've started to make some friends and become even remotely recognizable to anyone in the community. ***edit*** I feel like I've been unfair and rude to the few friends I had until a few months ago. I did have a handful of new friends, three or so, and one established friend. But I was essentially a hermit. My loneliness was self-imposed and caused by a combination of kids and chronic depressive states. ***end edit *** Until then, the only people here that knew me were my in-laws, and they avoid me. (Just kidding.) But at the Y, none of my friends or acquaintances are there. So I'm anonymous, and it's wonderful. Why is it so wonderful? Well, I'll tell you.
1) I get some genuine alone time. I never get any alone time. Ever. I spend all of my time talking to someone. Calling them down, explaining something, comforting them, etc. So even just driving to the gym by myself is a treat. Being able to walk in, nod a hello to the strapping young lad behind the counter and then get down to business without further ado is wonderful. Add in the fact that I can put in my earbuds, crank my music up to eleven, and then rock out while I'm working out....ahhhh, paradise.
Speaking of music....
2) I listen to music that most other people don't. I really don't care if my music isn't popular, it's what I like and that's that. One particular song that has become the most motivational to me, and I always put it on in the last 7-8 minutes of my run, when I'm sure I can't go on, is a rock opera-type song. I can kind of get absorbed in the music and forget the fact that I can't feel my legs anymore. The deal with this is that I tend to conduct an invisible band and/or play air drums while I'm jogging. Now, I'm consious that I'm doing it, and I use small movements so as not to look utterly insane. But I still do it. Why? Because the people there don't know me. And even if they do, haters gon' hate. I'm jammin' out.
And as weird as I know that is (and believe me, I know that's pretty out there), this is even weirder. Hang on to yourself.
3) I get to take luxuriant showers at the YMCA. I warned you it was weird. But hear me out. At the Y, I'm not rushed. I'm not constantly listening for one or more of the kids to rush in because "Charlie won't let me play with the tablet!" "Andy hit me!" "Katie has a poop!" "MOOOOM the phone's for you." "Honey, I need to go to the bathroom." Man, shit on that. I just want to wash the important parts. I'm not even trying to shave. But at the Y, I CAN SHAVE IF I WANT TO AND NOBODY IS GOING TO STOP ME.
I also don't have to worry about using too much hot water. As far as I'm concerned, IT'S ALL MINE. What's more, I don't have to worry about my hair clogging the drain. I don't have to worry about washing the towels. I honestly don't have to worry about much of anything, except bringing my own shampoo and conditioner. And frankly, for a woman who goes days without a shower at home because she can't find the time around her kids, it's freaking heavenly.
So yes. It's fun to stay at the YMCA. I absolutely love the YMCA and pay that membership fee gladly every month. I'd pay it gladly every month if it were just for Andy and his TaeKwonDo, but the benefit of me and my workout, showers and music are so wonderful I'd pay for that, too.