Quit Before You Try?

When do you step out there, extend yourself and try something new? Something that you know isn’t your thing but you acknowledge that it might be good for you, extend yourself in some way and may indeed help you overcome a few of your weaknesses?

Alternatively, when do quit while you’re ahead? Leave the door shut and dash the other way?

Let yourself off with one of the usual excuses:

A)      “I can’t do it!”

B)      “I’m too busy!”

C)      “It’s not my thing!”

D)     All of the above.

This is my dilemma. Today, our daughter issued me with my next challenge.

We were baking ANZAC Biscuits when she almost knocked my socks off. “Mummy,” she says in her very cutest, 6 year old, high-pitched squeaky voice: “I want you to do physie.” (Physie is short for physical culture  and involves a combination of marching, dance and gymnastics).

I would have been laughing hysterically if she wasn’t so completely serious…deadpan even.

“Why do you think I should do physie?” I asked. I was rather curious. She had seen some other mums competing at her physie competition that morning and it must have given her ideas… ideas well beyond my station!!

“You’re a good dancer,” she replied.

I could have died laughing. Only a few days ago, both kids had told me I was “clumsy” in no uncertain terms. Neither of them stood up for me at all. It’s a pretty apt description. I was not only born with two left feet but they are usually heading the wrong direction. I’m sure I’ve also broken a few toes in my time. On top of that, there’s my muscle disease. It takes a crane to get me out of bed most mornings.

I’ve never heard of someone who is clumsy being a good dancer before and you can’t blame me for feeling confused.

When it comes to physie, I’m quite happy to drive the taxi instead of taking to the floor.



If the idea of me taking up physie is so ridiculous, why didn’t I just dismiss it outright?

I suspect that the idea was so far left of left field that I couldn’t ignore it. Why physie? Why physie of all things? I could understand something more sedentary but physie is pretty physically active. I mean you need to learn to do the splits. That’s usually something I only do when my ankle gives way…which it does pretty often by the way.

There’s also the matter of wearing a leotard in public.


Sometimes somebody else can see things in you which you can’t see in yourself and they can lead you onto an entirely new path of self-discovery. Is this one of those things? Should I just dip my toe  in the water and give physie a go? Is it something I need to do like going to the dentist or going on a diet? You do it because know it’s going to be good for you. I’ve had root canal before. Even though going public in a leotard could be painful, it isn’t root canal. We all need to work on our weaknesses and besides, I might actually have fun, meet new people and extend myself.

All this positive, motivational talk stuff is great. However, there are some serious downsides to taking up physie.

Top of the list has to be strutting around a crowded room in a leotard flaunting my six pack. Nobody 40+ really wants to be doing that without some serious camouflage and there is none. At least at the beach, you can wear a sarong or hide beneath your towel.

Then, there’s the matter of the hair and make-up. My hair is usually a very neglected after-thought and I’m certainly not up on hair styles of any sort or using curlers or applying hair spray through a fire hose. Make-up isn’t my thing either. These days, lipstick is usually reserved for exceptionally formal occasions and I usually struggle to find one anyway.

But surely physie is more than leotards, hair and make-up? I’ve looked into all of this for my daughter. Physie builds up all those all-important mind, body, spirit connections that somehow come together to enhance brain plasticity. I could use a bit of brain enhancement.

Then again, I don’t know why I’m even considering taking up physie. We only got into physie because:

1)      Her friends were doing it.

2)      It was convenient.

3)      They offered two free lessons and I didn’t expect her to take it up.

4)      My daughter thought physie actually meant fizzy drinks.

Who am I kidding? I know I’ll never take up physie. I know that I shouldn’t call myself defective but it feels like there isn’t much of this body which really works anymore. That doesn’t hugely bother me most of the time because I’ve never been sporty. In fact, I’ve always had quite an allergy to sport. But what with all this personal development stuff and trying to maximise my health, I am seriously wondering whether I should be extending myself? Work on my weakness! By putting myself in this “bad at sport” pigeon-hole, am I in fact selling myself short? Could I actually do it? Or, should I just  have a go and do what I can? Surely, something is better than nothing? I know stretching is good for my muscles and Tai Chi has been recommended before.

Perhaps, I could just test the waters doing physie with my daughter at home in secret. That would mean no leotards, so fancy hairstyles or make-up and if I have a nasty accident, I could just quietly call the ambulance in private instead of winding up in the local paper or even on the news! Physie Mum Breaks Neck…I can just see the headlines now!

I’m also not sure whether someone who uses a walking stick now can actually do physie. It does give a new slant on twirling the baton.

Perhaps, taking on physie is a bit beyond me…certainly at the moment when my muscle disease has flared up. Maybe, it’s okay to explain to my daughter that Mummy isn’t super human and I can’t do everything. Just like anybody else, there are things that I can do and things which I can’t. That’s no big deal but…

How can I tell my kids not only to have a go but to persevere at things when I won’t have a go myself? I’ve taken up the violin and practiced almost daily for the last six months initially to encourage our daughter. Provide an example. Show her how to persevere through the squeaks, playing two strings at the same time, and then being able to play beautiful music.

A few years ago, I reluctantly did a very basic Aussie Rules Football (AFL) coaching course to help our son with his AFL. Every year, they have the annual parents versus kids’ game at the end of season and I got way ahead of myself and the next thing I knew, one of the kids had tackled me. AFL was something I needed to watch from the sidelines.

I am open to possibility, trying new things, extending myself but…

I should just learn to say no. I really am too busy, over-extended and I really need to focus. As it is, I am being split in so many different directions that I don’t know where I’m going. No, I definitely do not have the time, mental space or energy for any new activities right now.

Besides, last night my husband suggested I learn the basics of the guitar to help our son with his guitar practice. Since I took up the violin to help our daughter, I feel I should support our son even if my husband is already helping him. He really seems quite keen and he may have found his thing. We have been looking for his thing and I really want to encourage him along. The thing is I just can’t get my head around the guitar with chords and things. I grew up playing piano and the guitar seems a very different beast. But I have decided to have a go. I’ll at least try to look like I understand what he’s talking about. I’ll get him to teach me. He’ll like that!!

I also wonder whether I am taking things too far. Just because my kids are interested something, that doesn’t mean I have to take it up as well. But I don’t like the idea of just being Mum’s taxi either. I’d prefer a much more interactive, proactive role…not just passive. I also want to be involved in their lives and do things together. Take an interest. That doesn’t mean, however, that I have to live their lives. Become them. I don’t have to take up their each and every interest just listen, observer and gently encourage.

I am also wondering whether suggesting physie was a serious suggestion or was it nothing more profound than wanting to spend more time with Mummy?

I might just ask her teacher about adult classes for beginners tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m hoping our daughter will forget all about it and I might just get off the hook.

Being extended is all very good but nobody wants to snap!

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