I was never a natural athlete. Growing up I would have much preferred a pencil and a pad of paper to doodle in. A quiet corner of the house and a book. A bike and a Queen of Hearts through the spokes. Imagine and creativity and learning, things of the mind, those were my things. Exercise, not so much.

It’s not that I didn’t like sports, I simply didn’t like team sports. I know a lot of that started out in first and second grade, me nearly always being chosen last to be on one of two teams even if my best friend was one of the team leaders (I spent a large part of my first grade recess periods walking around the edges of the playground crying). When I was forced to engage in team sports, either as part of Physical Education classes or something my parents had signed my brother and me up for (i.e. every summer = baseball) I found myself thrown out to right field (yeah, you heard that right, I wasn’t even good enough to play short stop). And when I did find myself better than average at a team sport I likewise found myself uninterested in the animal nature of the team as it morphed based on popularity, ability, looks, wealth, and the like. Nah, as with my intellectual pursuits where I could improve at my own speed and was only accountable to outperform myself, individual sports such as sprinting or tennis were things that I could enjoy in some manner regardless of whether I was particularly talented in comparison to my peers.

My parents weren’t altogether sporty either. Sure, they always had the Monday night football game on the television (pissing me off to no end given it always supplanted episodes of Classic Star Trek), and during the summers we went water skiing, but generally speaking they were both sedentary people who read books, watched tv, and did things around the “farm” (yes, technically we were on a farm, but at 3.3 acres it was little more than an alf-alfa surrounded ranch house—my “Rose Bud”). I followed suit and in my twenties I rarely dallied in physical pursuits. Luckily, I’d inherited my dad’s genes and was fit and a mere 5’10”, 130 or so lbs, when I was twenty five, thirty.

And then naturally enough poor diet and age and depression and stress and anxiety and a decade of Lyme and the shared trauma we all experienced in one way or another during the pandemic and whoop, there I was a whopping 200 pounds again. Sure, I’d ended up at that milestone when I was 38 or so, a bi-product on undiagnosed Lyme disease, but living through COVID, Trump, the death of my father, and other things I don’t care to share tonight, I’d allowed myself to go south in mind, spirit, and ultimately, body.

One things I’ve found to be true. You can’t be high of spirits if you’re not sound of mind. And you can’t be sound of mind if you’ve not taken care of its physical foundations.

So a couple of months ago, while my wife was away to the Netherlands for her father’s funeral (he passed nearly a year after mind) , I spent a couple of weeks examining myself and going between a bout at the bar (after which I’d come home and sing and dance for the cats—something I’d never do around other human beans) and getting daily three to file mile walks. I changed my diet. I cut down significantly on smoking. Aching, I started to feeling human again. Aching, I found myself more focused at work, even able to work ten or twelve hour days again (if and when I found something stimulating enough to continue whittling on). And so on and so forth.

And so, put more simply, it was more a choice between life and death. I’m at that age where everything’s caught up with me and my body will, at times, and in plain English, say, “Either get your shit together or you’ll be, well, shit.” So I take breaks during work to lift weights, a few more reps every week. Every other day I head to the nearby gym where I do 30 minutes of walking/running on the treadmill followed by a myriad of weight and strength training. I eat smaller portions fewer times a day. Sugar is only part of my diet as a rare treat. And of course, I make sure to get regular, quality sleep (ironically this is the one thing I’ve been fairly good about over the last couple of years—most of my life I struggled with insanity-making insomnia and so as I fought and earned the ability to sleep regularly I simply won’t give it up—again, another example of the health pyramid, i.e. sleep then body then mind then spirit).

That’s it for now. I’ve committed to start writing again even if in every way, shape, and form, I struggle with imposter syndrome any time I set out to write or share parts of myself with any other being of the human variety. But fuck, I just need to be a bit more compassionate with myself even if it’s just to shrug and say I can write for the sake of writing, I still won’t be Shakespeare when I’m dead!



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