Friday, December 18, 2009

Who Can Do It All?

Last weekend I played "Barbie at the Symphony". It was an educational presentation in which Barbie appeared on a big video screen and interacted with our conductor and spoke about classical music and about the orchestra - all as they related to her and her various movies and products. That I didn't mind. Barbie has a right to promote herself. And I don't basically mind Barbie as a concept. I never played with Barbie dolls as a child - I was more of a tomboy - but I like any toy that promotes imagination and independent play and making up stories. The unrealistic body image thing is fine by me, too - everyone looks different and I think little girls probably understand that a doll is pretend and no two people look alike and that a little girl isn't going to look like a grown-up lady supermodel anytime soon. And if they don't understand that then they can learn.

Here's what bothered me, though. Barbie kept reappearing between pieces in her own persona - not as an actress but as Barbie - always in a different glamorous place doing something glamorous. She was in Montreal in a figure-skating event, she was in Tokyo with her band, she was giving a speech in Geneva. she was in a Paris ballet studio preparing for a role. I may have the details skewed (I was working, and also very very tired) but over time we saw Barbie herself doing an enormous number of creative and high-profile professional activities at a very high level. That did hit close to home. What I am learning most recently in my own life is that there really are only so many things you can pursue at any one time. Don't get me wrong - I do think girls can do anything they want and be anything they want. I just increasingly realize that a person can't do EVERYTHING, and I'm a little insulted that Barbie can. Bad message.

After the last crazy couple of weeks of my life, I have decided to reprioritize sleep over exercise, and I could not be happier. Honestly my actions aren't that different, as I've found it impossible to get out for a week or so, but my attitude sure is. Now instead of lying in bed from 6:30 until 8 hitting the snooze button and hating myself for not running, I sleep until 8 and get up without beating myself up. It's been four days since my decision and I'm glowing with renewed vigor. This is definitely temporary - once Zoe sleeps better and I have a few earlier nights under my belt and maybe it gets a little less COLD out I will hit the streets again. Fitness IS important to me, and my body is important to me, and I know I feel better and more energetic day to day when I run regularly. But I can't do everything, and I can't be a great player and a great mom and a great teacher when I'm trying to cram too many things into my day and holding it all together with caffeine. I have to still be a runner, but I don't have to be hard-core about it at this precise moment in time.

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