When I was able to opt out of high school P.E. by taking a business co-op class, I thought that the awkwardness of forced athleticism was behind me. Unfortunately, I went to A&M and discovered that the required “core curriculum” included four hours of P.E. credits. The first class I took was step aerobics , which I really enjoyed by pretending that the aerobics routines were actually synchronized dance steps, and that I was in the background of some cool music video. Less enjoyable was a series of physical fitness tests such as a mile run, sit-ups, push-ups, and flexibility.
Yes, flexibility. We had to sit (with the whole class watching) with our feet flat against the side of a wooden box, and reach down past our toes to a mark three inches past the edge. I still remember my embarassment when my instructor K.B. called out to the class-volunteer secretary that I could not even reach my toes. My memories have all come rushing back as I’ve been attending my new Pilates class, which involves lots of stretching and laying with one leg sticking straight (as if!) into the air.
When I shared my experience with my sister Laurashmaura, she said that she also has inflexible muscles, which means I can build my case for the mother of all excuses: genetics.
But as I’ve been complaining to various people about this, I’ve heard my own voice repeatedly declaring “I’m just not flexible!,” and it’s forced me to confront the fact that this is really true of my life in ways that are deeper than hamstrings.
It’s the time of year on the school calendar when we start to look ahead to next year. I’m getting questions like, “Would you be willing to teach a different grade next year? Move to another classroom? Re-organize your class schedule? Take on some new responsibilities?” Stre-e-e-tch.
Or, even worse, with my husband’s professional life in transition, “Would you be willing to sell your new house? Move to a new church? In a new town? Move so far away from your job that you can’t commute? Start your life over somewhere else?” Stre-e-e-e-e-e-e-tch, and at times, snap! Those are the times that you can feel bad for Stephen.
They say that the way to become more flexible is to just stretch a tiny bit further every day. When it comes to touching my toes, consider it done! I’ll be making beautiful large leg circles by spring break. When it comes to flexing my life…well…I’ll have to let you know how that goes.