My dad's brother, Uncle Jim, told me a great story once about my dad. They grew up on a farm in a small town in Western Kansas. One month into his first year of college, Uncle Jim got a visit from his older brother, my dad, who asked him how things were going. Jim told him he hated school and he was going to quit.
My dad told him bluntly, "It doesn't matter if you hate it. It's just like plowing a field. You don't think about if you hate it or like it -- you don't think about how you feel about it at all. It has to be done -- so you just do it." (I wonder if our family could sue Nike . . )
I think about that story and my father's words of wisdom when I'm swimming laps at the Y. Because I hate swimming laps at the Y. Well, the actual swimming of the laps isn't really that bad. But I hate packing up the towels and suits and what-all, driving to the Y, getting changed (and getting the girls changed), adjusting to the shock of the cold water (OH, how I hate that!!), walking around cold in a wet swimsuit afterwards, changing everyone back into street clothes, drying the hair (since it's so cold out still), washing out the suits, showering, hanging up the wet stuff at home . . . it's the hassle I hate. And it's really a hassle.
Nevertheless, I need the exercise. And the membership is paid for. And when we're at the Y, there's something (the play pool) to keep the girls occupied while I exercise. And swimming is at least better than the treadmill or bikes or something awful like that. Right now, (other than my dance class, which only meets once a week) this is my best option for getting some physical activity into my life.
But I've noticed that once I set a trip to the Y in my schedule, I have to kind of go into auto-mode. If I think too much about what I'm doing and what I'm about to do, I'll talk myself out of it.
What I ponder, as I swim my laps, is how exactly I taught myself to do this -- to stop thinking about how much I hate something and just do it anyway. Because it's something my kids really need to learn to do. Yes, I know some of that just comes with maturity. But it is obviously a learned skill, because we all know people who never learned it. I want to be sure my kids don't fall into that number someday.
I also need to figure out how to apply that skill in other times of my life. I hate walking away from dessert after a meal . . but I need to just do it. I hate to make my kids pick up after themselves when I know how they're going to whine about it . . but I need to just do it. I hate to turn off the computer and go to bed when I know Facebook is there calling to me . . but . .
OK. OK. I'm doing it.