Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So what's my problem?

Last summer I was active, hopping on my bike most days, or going to the Y to work out.

I planned to do that this summer, too-- make up for my relative inactivity during the school year. When I got home from school each afternoon, my choice was: read the paper in a prone position on the couch, or go to the gym.


I told myself I'd make up for it this summer. I'd firm up, trim down and . . .. Oh, the best laid plans.

The thing is, I like to exercise; working up a sweat feels good, and makes me feel that I've done myself some good besides. I like being in shape.

So what is my problem?

David, soon to be off to college, has himself on a program to get ready for basketball season. "Just exercise when I do, Mom," he says when I complain about my slump.

But that's his schedule; the timing is not right for me. Or is that an excuse?

"Will you write me out a list of exercises to do?" I ask.

"Mom." He's stern. "You didn't follow the other list I gave you."

"I just can't seem to get motivated," I say. "I just don't have the desire."

"You just have to do it, Mom," he tell me. "Set a time and stick to it. It doesn't take that much time."

I know this. I use to tell him the same thing a couple of years ago. He's right.

So what, exactly, is my problem?

I've been restless this summer. Sleep is elusive. I wake early, my mind already in gear. This isn't me. Or it is me, some strange new me that I'm not used to yet, not sure I like as much.

My exercise this summer is fingers flying across the keyboard as I write, and walking with my camera, exercising my shutter finger.

This is not without benefits, just more mental ones than physical.

I walk, and drink in images that go straight from my eyes to my soul, and I need to capture them in more than my memory. So I snap picture after picture-- sheer digital gluttony-- until I have filled some well inside of me. Then I walk home, "writing" my thoughts in my head to be recorded later, maybe.

And why do I complain about doing something that is so fulfilling, so pleasurable? Maybe because it doesn't make me sweat? Maybe because it is what I want to do, not what I think I should do? Maybe because something inside says I should be doing something "constructive."

I need to find the balance point-- pure pleasure balanced against the "shoulds." Right now my scale is tilted in pleasure's favor. Maybe I'm just lucky and don't know it yet.


Anonymous said...

The answer: Jalepeno Ice Cream. Sweat and sweet at once. ;-)

-Detective Roger Stark
"There are limits to negotiation."

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh Ruth this is spot on - and something I relate to so well. I do Tai Chi but sometimes life seems to get in the way - or at least I allow it to. I love Tai Chi but admit I love painting more so for me it is a matter of forcing myself to do it...because I need it so much. Thank goodness I at least do a 35 minute walk each day with the dog...

Ruth D~ said...

Okay Detective~ If I can find any Jalepeno Ice cream, I'll kill two birds with one stone-- which is my style anyway-- figuratively speaking. Is there such a thing as JIC? Probably. Or there at least should be.

Janice~ When I dog sat a couple of weeks ago, I saw how having a dog could have it's benefits, apart from the love of course. And then I pictured myself walking him out of duty and necessity in the New England winter . . . and I was glad I have a cat.

Anonymous said...

I think Ben & Jerry's use to have Jalapeno Ice Cream. If not, make your own http://www.recipegoldmine.com/swdessG/swdess40.html .

Bon Appetit

-Detective Roger Stark
"There are limits to negotiation."

Ruth D~ said...

Umm . . . Detective,

Nine egg yolks?

I am kind of put off by the idea of raw frozen yolk in my otherwise sweet sweat inducing dessert. One yolk maybe, but nine?

My fried eggs have to be flipped and "cooked hard." No oozy ovaries for me.

Josie said...

Ruth, sweating is highly over rated. You are probably getting lots of exercise, walking with your camera. Apparently walking is the best exercise anyway...

...followed by a big bowl of Cherry Garcia, of course. But I have been advised by someone who knows, that a bowl of Cherry Garcia serves as one serving of fruit :-)

Dave said...

Get yourself in a quiet place and ask yourself what you want. Stay quiet for as long as you can and keep the question formost in your thoughts. Ask for somethig to show or guide you. Then keep your eyes and ears and feelings wide open and see what happens. Sounds weird but it works.
I know the feeling of wanting to do all things at once and still not getting to what I want.
You have to be patient and trusting in yourself and eventually the answer comes.

Barbara said...

I can so identify with an exercise-phobia. Every morning I wake up intending to go down to the "home gym" we installed in our basement and burn some calories while stretching my poor body out. But I have become a pro at crafting excuses for either postponing or reducing my daily workout. Let's face it -- I really don't like exercise, even though I know it's good for me and makes me feel better. I would much rather pursue the things you mention and do in fact find myself enjoying those things immensely. So maybe by 11:30 today when I have run out of excuses I will huff and puff on the elliptical machine and do my yoga and pilates exercises to justify the big lunch I will inevitably eat.