Oh the dreaded plateau. No matter the context, a plateau usually means more work is ahead of you. I mean, it makes sense right? When hiking you have to leave your resting place and start climbing again if you want to reach the summit. Sometimes that rest area just feels so good it’s tough not to pop open a bottle of wine, take out the charcuterie board and head back home.
Don’t get me wrong, at least 3 times out of 10 I’m choosing the wine, but there’s a reason for that (and it’s not just because I feel like being lazy). Ultimately, it’s up to us to decide where the true reward is. Here are a few real life plateaus that commonly come across the paths of thirty-somethings and the struggle to decide whether the extra effort is worth it.
Fitness level– Since this is a fitness-centric blog, I don’t feel the need to explain this one too much as I’m sure several posts have covered it. Basically, when you can’t seem to get a new PR or move to the next set of weights, you need to make a change. That change could include increasing your distance, changing your diet or switching up your workout. Or not, and you decide whether or not reaching your pre-baby weight is worth it or placing in the top of your age group is truly the moment you’ve been waiting for. Sometimes those goals lose value, and I think that’s OK as long as you’re able to look yourself in the mirror and feel happy about your body and health.
Relationship– You’ve found your love, feel settled in your living space, have the family you’ve always wanted…so now what? Sometimes the thought of “so this is it” can be overwhelming. This isn’t because you’re not thankful for what you have or because you want your life to be different, but because it is a finale of sorts, and that can be scary. You can continue the climb by making an effort to bolster your connection to your significant other. Go on more dates, have more sex, remind each other of why you fell in love…just try something beyond saying I love you and calling it a night. Or you live on the plateau, and find comfort in the safety of your life because you never know what’s around the corner. Either way, staying true to yourself and your family is essential to making it work.
Job– If you work outside of the home, you may have reached a point where your upward mobility opportunities are limited. You’ve put in the time and the skill set is there, but taking the next step means your flexibility, and time at home would be compromised. This is the crux of being a working mom- finding the balance between meeting your needs as a family and achieving a sense of personal fulfillment. So you put in the longer hours, take on the additional responsibility and experience increased financial stability, and maybe even open doors to possibilities you didn’t realize were there. Or you make the most of the freedom your current position allows and find other ways to challenge yourself and feel accomplished. This is one case where I truly wish we could say, “Change the rules, you can do both!” but we all know we’re not there yet. Maybe our daughters will live in a reasonable world where being a parent isn’t seen as a detriment to higher-level jobs, but until then trade-offs and choices are part of the reality.
To plateau or to continue the climb, that is the question.
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