knitting and the gym: strange bedfellows

I bring you an interruption from the regularly scheduled programming for a short anniversary celebration – and some reflection (what would a blog be without some sort of navel-gazing? Nothing, I tell you).

Two years ago this month, I started two new hobbies – knitting and exercising. One of those hobbies receives a lot of air time on this blog; the other one not so much.  I mostly save stories of my workouts, yoga practices, and gymnastics classes for my boyfriend, who by now has lovingly suffered through more jokes about how “swole” I am than any person should ever endure in a lifetime. As different as they are (and even though I very rarely discuss my fitness-y life with the internet), I love both of these pastimes equally, and over the course of two years they have taught me more about myself than I ever could have imagined since the day I picked up a set of needles and popped a workout video into our DVD player (not at the same time of course – I may not be a doctor yet but I would feel safe betting that that is NOT recommended by any physician). As my grasp of the English language is dwindling to robotic and unconscious utterings of medical acronyms and mnemonics, I’m going to continue this post in list form. Feel free to read on, or roll your eyes at another blog about self-discovery written by a 20-something and click back over to Twitter.
  • After 21 years of allowing myself to think that I am incapable of waiting, it turns out I have a level of patience most saints would envy.  (Okay, maybe not saints, but the beatified probably wish they could tap into my reserves of composure.)  If I could spend hours upon hours untangling knots without being driven to insanity, or do hundreds of crunches and not immediately look like a Bowflex ad, then I could definitely not fly off the handle for minor inconveniences.
  • I have limits. But I learned how to push them safely.  Due to some overly complicated medical history stuff, I always assumed that I would never be able to do things like run long distances or do long workout classes without getting sick, so I just didn’t do them for fear of being the “wimp” who took too many water breaks or passed out in public.  Now, I’m better at deciding what I can and can’t handle, and finding safe ways to push myself.  The same goes for knitting! I used to think that I was just afraid of trying new things, but it turns out that’s my absolutely favorite part of knitting – picking up a new and confusing pattern and gaining a new skill.
  • In that same vein, I learned when to walk away. This was a particularly hard lesson for me, and one on which I need to take a refresher course from time to time.  Nothing is to be gained by pounding yourself into the ground (whether that is a literal pounding, with countless numbers of power squats because you feel lazy and slow, or figurative, with a freaking sweater that will not freaking unfrog itself without becoming tangled eight freaking million times – ahem). Things will still be there when you come back in a better frame of mind.
  • You can always find a way to express yourself, regardless of the medium or situation.  When I first started working out and knitting, both of my forays into those worlds were pretty cookie cutter. I ran a couple times a week and then did weird stuff on top of an exercise ball; I knitted a scarf. I liked both of those things, but when I really started to get excited about both of my hobbies was when I found a way to bring my other interests into the equation.  This has helped me a couple of times in medical school – I get to do my anatomy doodles, and sometimes I even throw in a really cool powerpoint.

In some ways, I know that I’ve got a long way to go when it comes to being well-adjusted and normal, but hey – at least I’ll squat and knit my way toward it. (:

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