Taking the first step

Season 2 Episode 3 special edition during COVID-19 pandemic

Saya anak ketiga dari empat bersaudara. Perbedaan umur dengan kedua kakak laki-laki saya tidak jauh sedangkan jarak umur dengan adik perempuan saya terpaut 8 tahun. Karena perbedaan umur yang lumayan dekat, saya dan kakak laki-laki selalu main bersama-sama dan mempunyai segudang aktivitas di luar rumah seperti bersepeda, main layangan, manjat pohon, manjat genteng rumah, dan lain-lain. Selain itu, kami juga melakukan berbagai macam kegiatan olahraga secara rutin.

Kedua orang tua kami hobi main tenis. Saat kami kecil, mereka mengharuskan kami belajar main tenis secara serius. Kami kemudian dilatih oleh mantan pemain tenis profesional sedikitnya dua kali dalam seminggu. Di sekolah, saya sendiri suka main basket, lari, bulutangkis, voli, dan kasti sedangkan di luar jam sekolah, selain tenis, saya ikut les senam ritmik dan berenang. Awalnya saya kesal dengan banyaknya kegiatan saat itu namun sejalan dengan proses yang saya lalui, lambat laun, saya menjadi terbiasa dan bahkan senang menjalani ini semua.

Saat memasuki sekolah menengah, kegemaran berolahraga saya berkurang. Saya lebih tertarik melakukan berbagai macam kegiatan bersama teman-teman seperti pergi makan dan nonton film di bioskop. Dinamika masa Anak Baru Gede (ABG) inilah yang lambat laun menghilangkan nilai kedisiplinan yang sudah susah payah orang tua saya tanamkan sebelumnya. Di masa ABG ini justru rasa malas yang mendominasi.

Berdekade-dekade berikutnya, saat saya sudah menikah dan mempunyai anak, saya masih saja suka malas untuk bergerak. Banyak sekali alasannya seperti “ah, lagi nggak enak badan”, “udara lagi nggak mendukung nih”, atau “males deh olahraga sendirian” dan segudang alasan lainnya.

Dinamika keluarga pun saya jadikan alasan. Saat ini, karena pekerjaan suami, kami berpindah-pindah tempat tinggal lintas negara setiap 1 sampai 3 tahun. Terakhir kami ditempatkan di suatu negara di Amerika Selatan selama 3 tahun. Saya membutuhkan waktu yang tidak singkat untuk menjalani penyesuaian di berbagai aspek kehidupan di sana karena perbedaan kultur dan bahasa. Singkat cerita, hanya di tahun terakhirlah saya bisa berolahraga rutin. Saya pikir, lebih baik terlambat daripada tidak sama sekali!

Saya memutuskan untuk memulai berolahraga dengan kegiatan yang sederhana, berjalan kaki. Setiap hari saya jalan kaki sejauh 5 kilometer di taman terbuka yang jaraknya tidak jauh dari rumah. Setelah beberapa bulan, saya menantang diri sendiri untuk melakukan sesuatu yang lebih intensif lagi. Saya kemudian memilih kegiatan fisik High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Bergabunglah saya dengan grup HIIT yang dipimpin oleh tim pelatih profesional di taman terbuka yang sama.

Mayoritas peserta di grup HIIT ini adalah para manula! Ada seorang figur bapak berumur 70 tahun yang semangatnya luar biasa. Tidak peduli hari lagi mendung, hujan, atau terik, dia selalu ada! Setiap hari saya selalu menemukan motivasi baru dari beliau maupun dari peserta-peserta lainnya. Sayang sekali, rutinitas yang saya coba lakukan ini tidak berumur panjang karena waktunya sudah tiba bagi kami saat itu untuk pindah ke Amerika Serikat. Sedih rasanya harus meninggalkan rutinitas HIIT ini dan berpisah dengan komunitas yang menyenangkan.

Kami kemudian melakukan perjalanan ke negara bagian California, Amerika Serikat, daerah asal suami saya, untuk menghabiskan liburan musim panas. Kami tinggal bersama keluarga suami saya selama 2 bulan. Di sini, kami lebih sering menikmati waktu di rumah, berkumpul bersama keluarga besar, makan bersama, dan berbincang-bincang. Kegiatan olahraga sangat minimal, nyaris tidak ada.

Setelah dua bulan masa transisi di California, kami pindah ke negara bagian Virginia untuk memulai kehidupan baru kami selama 1 tahun. Dinamika yang kami jalani berbeda lagi. Anak saya mulai sekolah, suami mulai bekerja, dan saya kembali menjalankan runitinas sebagai ibu rumah tangga. Satu tahun adalah waktu yang relatif singkat, saya tahu bahwa saya tidak bisa menunda-nunda untuk berolahraga. Saya langsung mendaftarkan diri menjadi anggota sanggar hot yoga di daerah tempat kami tinggal.

Di bulan pertama, bulan September, saya latihan yoga 3 kali dalam seminggu. Di bulan berikutnya, saya tingkatkan frekuensi latihan menjadi 4 sampai 5 kali dalam seminggu. Dari sisi teknis tentunya tidak mudah menjalankan latihan hot yoga terutama bagi seorang pemula seperti saya. Karena suhu ruangan yang panas dan dinamika yang intens, latihan ini sangat menguras tenaga. Namun, saya berusaha untuk fokus pada tujuan. Dan di saat kemalasan melanda saya semakin sadar bahwa rasa malas inilah yang justru harus saya lawan, saat itu juga.

Sampai pada bulan November di mana sanggar yoga tersebut memperkenalkan tantangan bertema “30 Hari Bersyukur”. Partisipan ditantang untuk melakukan latihan sebanyak 30 kali dalam 30 hari. Tentunya saya tidak punya niat untuk berpartisipasi karena saya tidak yakin saya mampu. Namun, entah bagaimana, akhirnya saya memberanikan diri dan bergabung bersama 45 partisipan lainnya.

Latihan di minggu-minggu pertama di bulan November saat itu rasanya berat sekali. Bayangkan, saya berlatih hot yoga setiap hari! Dan jika ada hari-hari di mana saya berhalangan hadir, saya menggantikannya dengan latihan 2 kali dalam sehari. Ya, 2 kali dalam sehari! Di 2 minggu terakhir saya mulai bisa menyesuaikan diri walaupun secara mental saya masih merasa perlu untuk memotivasi diri saya sendiri secara terus menerus.

Perjuangan saya pun membuahkan hasil. Dari total 46 partisipan, hanya 6 orang yang berhasil menyelesaikan tantangan tersebut termasuk saya. Tentunya pencapaian ini bukan merupakan inti dari latihan yoga itu sendiri namun bagi saya hal ini merupakan suatu pencapaian yang layak masuk ke dalam catatan pribadi saya. Menyelesaikan 30 kali latihan dalam 30 hari itu mempunyai arti yang lebih dari sekedar menjawab tantangan fisik. Tiga puluh hari tersebut merupakan proses pengenalan dan perbaikan diri secara menyeluruh. Bagi saya, ini adalah proses yang sangat bermakna!

Inilah intinya, segala sesuatu pencapaian yang bermakna pasti akan melalui proses panjang dan saya baru saja memulainya. Prosesnya bukan harian, bukan mingguan atau bulanan, tapi tahunan! Dan di dalam proses panjang inipun ada berbagai macam tantangan yang, jika kita tidak hati-hati, akan memukul mundur mental kita. Apapun tantangannya, saya mencoba untuk menjalani ini semua tanpa beban, selangkah demi selangkah, hari demi hari dan tetap berpikir positif.

Berdasarkan ini semua, saya pun menolak untuk menyerah di tengah mewabahnya penyakit COVID-19 dan ditutupnya pusat-pusat kebugaran sampai waktu yang tidak bisa ditentukan sebagai konsekwensi. Ditambah lagi, pemerintah-pemerintah di berbagai negara di belahan dunia sudah mengeluarkan anjuran keras agar kita semua melakukan karantina mandiri. Alhasil, kita semua terpaksa harus beradaptasi dengan realita yang ada.

Tidak apa-apa, ini semua demi kebaikan bersama. COVID-19 cepat atau lambat akan berlalu dan saya akan terus berolaraga secara rutin. Latihan yoga saya lanjutkan di rumah mengikuti video dari Youtube, demikian juga olahraga HIIT. Dinamika yang sangat amat berbeda namun tidak mustahil untuk dijalani.

Kemauan saya ternyata masih kuat, mungkin karena saya percaya sepenuhnya bahwa proses perawatan diri tidak boleh berhenti.

Mudah-mudahan semangat inilah yang justru menular (bukan penyakit COVID-19) dan semangat inilah yang bisa memotivasi kita semua untuk menguatkan niat, komitmen dan disiplin, langkah pertama, menikmati proses, dan berdamai dengan apapun dinamika yang hadir di dalam proses tersebut.

Semoga kita semua sehat selalu dan positif di dalam menghadapi tantangan-tantangan yang ada.

Tetap semangat ya!

ENGLISH VERSION

Devyandra is the third child of four siblings. She is quite close in age with her two older brothers while her sister is eight years younger. Because of the close age gap, she and her older brothers had always played together and had many outdoor activities such as cycling, kite-flying, tree-climbing, rooftop-climbing and many more. They also did sports activities routinely. 

Both of their parents played tennis as a hobby. When the kids were young, their parents insisted that all of them learned to play tennis seriously. They were trained by an ex-professional tennis player at least two times a week. At school, she also ran track, played basketball, badminton, volleyball and baseball; while outside school hours, besides tennis, she also took rhythmic gymnastics and swimming. Initially she was annoyed with so many activities at that time, but as she went through it, later on she finally got used to it and actually enjoyed doing all of them.

When she entered junior and senior high, her interest in sports faded. She was more interested in doing group activities with her friends such as going out to eat and watching movies at the theater. The dynamics of teenage life slowly eroded the disciplinary values painstakingly set by her parents. During her teenage years, laziness dominated instead.

Decades later, after she was married and already had her child, she was still in that lazy state. It was very difficult to take that first step towards exercising again. Too many excuses such as, I don’t feel too well today, or the weather is not so good today or it’s not fun exercising alone and many other excuses. 

Family dynamics were also used as an excuse. Currently, due to her husband’s work, they have often moved around across different countries every one to three years. Their last assignment in a country in South America was for about three years. She needed quite some time to adapt to the different aspects of life in that country due to the different culture and language.  In short, she only managed to do routine exercise during her last year there. But better late than never, right?

She decided to start exercising in the simplest form, walking. Everyday she walked five kilometers around an open park which was not too far from her house. After a few months, she challenged herself to do something else which was more intensive. She then chose to join High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). She joined a HIIT group, which was led by a team of professional trainers in the same open park.

The majority of the HIIT participants turned out to be the elderlies! There was one gentleman who was seventy years old who had the most excellent spirit. Rain or shine he was always there. Everyday she discovered new motivations from him and the other members of the training group. Too bad that this new routine of hers did not last long as she and her family had to move back to the United States. It was very sad for her to leave that HIIT routine with the fun community.

Her family and her then took a trip to the state of California, United States of America, where her husband was from. They stayed with her husband’s family for two months. There, they mostly enjoyed time at home, hanging out with the big family, spending time eating together and catching up. Sports activities were minimal, almost non-existent.

After two months of transition in California, they moved to the state of Virginia to start their new life there for one year. It was a different dynamic again. Her child started school and her husband worked, while she resumed her role as a stay-at-home mom. One year was relatively a short time, and she knew she could not put off exercising any longer. Almost immediately, she enrolled herself at a hot yoga studio in her neighborhood. 

In the first month, September, she practiced yoga three times a week. In the following month, she increased her practice frequency to four and then five times a week. Technically, it was not easy for her as a beginner to undergo the hot yoga practice. The hot studio temperature and the intense dynamics of the practice really drained her energy. But she tried to always focus on her goals. And at the time where laziness came knocking, that’s when she realized that she needed to fight that off completely and immediately.

Came November, when the yoga studio held the “Thirty Days of Gratitude” challenge. Participants were challenged to do thirty practices within the thirty days in the month of November. Initially she did not have any intention to participate as she was not sure that she could do it. However, she managed to muster up her courage and joined the other forty five participants to try to complete the challenge.

The first few weeks of practice in that November felt very hard. Imagine, she practiced hot yoga every single day! If there were days where she had to miss practice, she would make it up by doing two sessions within one day. Yes two times a day! In the last two weeks, she started to adapt although mentally she felt that she needed to keep motivating herself continuously. 

Her efforts did bring results. From a total of forty six participants, only six managed to complete the challenge, including her. Of course this achievement was not the core meaning of the yoga practice itself but for her this was an achievement worthy of her personal best record. Completing 30 practices within 30 days had a deeper meaning than just completing a physical challenge.  Those thirty days were part of a complete self-discovery and self-improvement journey. For her this was a very meaningful process!

The point was that any meaningful achievement for sure had to undergo a long process and she had just started it. The process would not take days, weeks or even months, but years! And during this long process, there would be many challenges where if we were not careful, would undermine our mentality. Whatever the challenge, she would try to continue the process without viewing it as a burden, step by step, day by day and by keeping a positive attitude. 

Based on all of this, she refused to give up in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic and the closing of many fitness centers until an unknown date as the consequence. To add to that, governments from various countries all over the world have strongly mandated all to do self quarantine.  As a result of that, everyone had to adapt with the current reality. 

Nevertheless, this was for the good of everyone. CoVID 19 sooner or later would pass and she would keep exercising routinely. She continued her yoga practice at home through videos from YouTube, as well as her HIIT routine. The dynamics were very different again but not impossible to do. Her will was apparently still strong, maybe because she fully believed that self-caring should not stop.

Hopefully this spirit can be infectious (instead of the COVID 19 disease) and this spirit could help motivate us all to strengthen our will, commitment, discipline, to take that first step, enjoy the process and make peace with whatever dynamic presented itself in that process. 

May we all stay healthy and positive in facing any challenges that might come.

Keep up the spirit! 

This is a story from Devyandra, she’s originally from Jakarta, Indonesia and currently she lives in Virginia as a housewife.

VOCABULARIES

Terpaut: about

Anak Baru Gede: adolescence

Terik: blazing / intense

The Indonesian language used here is in the daily-conversation format, that has influences from the local culture and custom. Should you have questions on the more formal version, please consult with your guru Bahasa Indonesia.