A few weeks ago, I decided to get my YMCA membership back and start making an effort to go to the gym during the winter months. I added Carter to my membership, knowing I could drop him off in the YPlay area while I worked out on the wellness floor.
I followed the YPlay instructions and packed all of his necessary items for the visit. I packed my own gym bag and got myself ready. I was a little nervous about leaving him, but only because it was his first time there. After all, the YMCA is a place I know and love and trust—not to mention worked at for over a decade!
When I got to the gym, I checked us in and took him down to the play area. There were several teachers there and a few other kids. I took my tag and made sure they had everything they needed. I told them where I would be on the wellness floor and left my cell phone number in case they needed me. Then I told Carter bye and headed up to the gym. I got on a treadmill, put my headphones in, and started running.
Within one minute of being on the treadmill, my mind was louder than my music and my imagination was running faster than my legs ever would.
What if he’s scared and doesn’t like this new place? What if he starts crying and they don’t call me? Will they just let him cry his head off until I come back?
I imagined him crying. I imagined him staring out the windows looking for me. I imagined him scared. I imagined, and imagined, and imagined.
Then I looked down . . . and I had only been on the treadmill three minutes.
This is going to be a miserable run.
Then, in that moment, I realized something. I thought,
No. I don’t have to think about that. I am imagining this terrible heart-wrenching scenario going on downstairs (based on nothing, by the way). But I can imagine anything I want to. So I’m going to imagine something different.
I imagined him playing with all of the new toys and meeting new friends. I imagined him laughing and playing with the teachers. I imagined him running around wearing himself out for a great nap when we got home. I imagined, and imagined, and imagined.
It may sound silly, but that trick worked for me.
Not only did I have a great run and some time away to take care of me for an hour, but I enjoyed it without worrying. And when you’re a mom, that’s a gift.
And of course when I went back to pick up my son, he had been having fun just like I had hoped he would.
So the next time your thoughts are getting away from you and you’re imagining the worst, just remember: Your imagination is yours.
You can imagine anything you want, so imagine something beautiful, wonderful, exciting and awesome instead. That’s when you can truly let your imagination run.