It was pretty easy to describe myself when I was seven years old. Favorite animal? Whales. Favorite colors? Black and white, like Shamu. Favorite food? Shrimp, since that’s what whales eat. What did I want to be when I grow up? I wanted to be a marine biologist or I wanted to work at Sea World. For a few years I had wanted to either be a whale or marry one, but I think that by age seven I had figured out that this plan would not work. I spent most of my early childhood obsessed with whales; I read books about them and memorized facts about them that I shared with everyone, whether they wanted me to or not (did you know that killer whales are actually a type of dolphin?) We lived in Southern California for most of my childhood so I had plenty of opportunities to go to Sea World to visit my friend Shamu.
Six years ago, I had a routine: get all the kids ready, drop the two oldest off at the elementary school, then head over to the gym, where I’d put the baby and the preschooler in kid care, and I’d go off to spend the next two hours doing whatever I wanted. Usually, I wanted to take a spin class. I was pretty fanatical about my spin classes. I had teachers I loved and teachers I barely tolerated. Some songs were great for spinning (Latin dance music– who knew?), while some songs made the class almost unendurable– and if you asked (and even if you didn’t), I’d be happy to expound on which was which. In class, I’d sit in the back, right under the fan, with my water bottle full and my game face on. I was the annoying girl who grunted and sweated and tried to race you. It was awesome. If you had asked me what I was passionate about back in those days, spinning classes surely would have been on my list.
Five and a half years ago, we moved, and I can probably count on one hand the number of spin classes I’ve taken since. I haven’t even been on a bike.
Looking back, it’s obvious that spin classes were, for me, just a fad. An enjoyable fad, to be sure. My butt looked amazing, and my abs were much tighter than they’ve ever been before or since. But when we relocated, there wasn’t a gym that had classes at a time that worked, and my kids were old enough that I didn’t need my daily interaction with the girls at the gym (as competitive as it may have been on my part) to save my sanity.
First it was Elizabeth Strout. A thorough reading and rereading of Olive Kitteridge wasn’t enough and I delved back into her other novels with abandon: jealous and thirsty. Then it was an inordinate amount of chick lit, the best of which (probably Jennifer Weiner?) I’m even almost too embarrassed to admit. Right now it is …