One of the pleasures that I have allowed myself now that I have consistent childcare two days a week and I am back to work for Mike's company, is going to the gym. I use "back to work" loosely, as I also sometimes use these days to do "indulgent" things for myself, such as going food shopping, picking up the dry cleaning, showering, and eating a sandwich ALONE while sitting in a CHAIR. I've never exactly been a gym rat or a fitness buff, but after having two children in two years let's just say that it feels like working out is more like a necessity than a luxury. That being said, I've picked up my running shoes again, and I have allowed myself to really start to enjoy this time alone.
Several years ago I made myself a running mix on my iPod - eclectic at best, it was comprised of songs that I sort of knew the words to and were upbeat enough to encourage me not to give up after the first quarter mile. I don't dare listen to this mix when I'm not running; the first notes trigger a winded feeling, and cause me to immediately break into a sweat. Music has that power, doesn't it? It can transform your mood, evoke old feelings and sensations, and it can propel you to do more than you thought you could.
Earlier this week I was on my way to the gym for my bi-weekly routine of running and weightlifting, and made a split-second decision to make a detour into to run around the park. It was far too beautiful out to run indoors, and I had my trusty iPod with my standby running mix all loaded up and ready to go. I parked my car, feigned a few warm-up calf stretches, and plugged in my earbuds. What came next is best described as "Mama's Musical Journey." At least, that's what I called it in my head.
As each song came on, it felt like another track on the soundtrack of my life. Do you ever feel like that? Like life would be so much more entertaining if there was always underlying background music, like you hear in your favorite movies or TV shows? A quiet subtext highlighting what was going on. A carefully scored "sha la la" to your morning shower. A "dun dun dun" to your son's breakfast ritual. A "cha cha cha" to your laundry routine.
That's what my running mix did for me that day. With each song, I transformed into a different facet of myself (or subconscious?). My surroundings and my circumstances seemed to morph and change as the tracks started and stopped. It was invigorating. Here is the playlist and how it all played out in my head. Please don't judge. Seriously. I can't believe I'm sharing the fact that I listen to some of these songs. What I won't do for the sake of transparency and full disclosure...
1. Daylight by Matt & Kim: the plucky notes translated into the pep in my step. There I was, trying to prove myself to the hunky football captain in a Juno-esque, Sundance-nominated, Indie film. Cue footage of me running around the school track, whizzing by the sweaty, dirt-covered team in retro-inspired running shorts and knee-high socks.
2. Tired of Being Sorry by Enrique Iglesias: Inappropriately half-dressed and glowing (read: sweaty) from what must be hours of club-dancing (Hunkabunka? Limelight? When have I ever even been in a club??), I'm in a Latin music video. Dancing in slow motion on the dance floor and in fast forward on some kind of platform, happy people shake their thangs around me as we all smile and laugh.
3. Whatcha Say by Jason DeRulo: In true Disney Channel fashion, I'm winning the 5K in a made-for-TV teen movie. I can taste the Dr. Pepper LipSmackers as I tear through the finish line ribbon, arms raised, straight into the adoring arms of 50 or 100 of my best girlfriends who are cheering and chanting my name.
4. Baptized by Fire by Spinnerette: I'm in a shape-up montage (a la Rocky) kicking some serious butt. Watch out! Conquering a mix of sprints, hurdles, and step-in-the-tire obstacle courses (??), I mean business! This must be a metaphor for something...
5. Viva La Vida by Coldplay: If I had to choose one song to play on repeat indefinitely as the soundtrack of my life, it would be this one. Inexplicably, it has been playing in the background (literally, not figuratively) during several key moments in my life. Ironic, no? As a result, it has a sort of profound effect on me. I feel like I can do anything when it's playing. Cue scenes of SuperMom - changing diapers in 6 seconds or less while using only one wipe, seamlessly transferring a sleeping child from car to crib without a fluttering eyelid, running hand in hand with my kids in the park while the butterflies and birds happily fly around us... you get the picture.
6. Show Me What I'm Looking For by Carolina Liar: Running into the beautiful red- and orange-hued sunset on a near perfect evening... roll the credits, this feel-good movie is over.
I'm so grateful for this hour (ok, hour and a half if you count the post-workout shower) in my "work day." Thankfully I have a great boss who understands my need to take this time. Just another perk of working in the family business...
Now that I've bared it all by divulging my (embarrassing?) playlist, what songs would you put on the soundtrack of your life? Share them in the comments! I'd love to hear what your life would sound like set to music.