I’ve leveled out on my Fitbit activities and achievements. I’m averaging almost nine miles a day and twenty-three flights, which is where I’ve been for a while.
I’ve settled into this, but I looked at the whys and wherefores behind this leveling.
Weather (and smoke). We’re into summer. I love the weather, except, you know, it gets a little hot. This year is more comfortable in Ashland. We’re cruising along between the mid-eighties and the mid-nineties. Temperatures usually drop below sixty at night, so it gets cool. However, walking during the day is still a sweaty endeavor. I stay well-hydrated and push myself on some days, but after achieving ten miles, I think, “Again?” Then I permit myself to back off (see #3).
Smoke is also a factor. We’ve been fortunate this year in Ashland this year. Smoke from only one wildfire blanketed us for a few days. Last year, it was worse, with fires all around us smothering the valley. I toughed it out on many days, wearing masks when the pollution levels became a health hazard. This year, I asked, why? What am I proving, and to whom am I proving it? So when the smoke was demoralizing thick earlier this month, I curtailed walking outside and did other activities.
In all of this, I’ll share my inherent liability (for this) that I don’t like exercising at the gym. I’ve never gotten into that scene. My wife loves it, and that’s good for her. But being a stereotypical reclusive writer, I don’t go to the gym. When I was in the military, I ran a few miles a week, and played racquetball and handball three or four times a week. Once I went through a hernia and blew out a knee at the end of my military career, forcing me to moderate activities, I stopped doing those things. The end.
Time Management. There are finite hours available. More importantly, my energy levels are finite. Wrestling with where fitness piece fits into my life puzzle required priorities.
- Number one, my writing time.
- Personal commitments involving my spouse.
- Socializing with my wife and friends
- Exercising, yardwork, reading, and everything else.
My writing time is almost sacrosanct. I put it off a lot while I was in the military and then working as a civilian so that we could pay the bills. Not that I quit working, I’m pursuing my dream.
That fourth one, above, is a catchall. Yardwork must be done, in my mind. Otherwise, it bothers me. Sure, I can shrug it off for one day…a week…maybe two, but then it becomes an irritation. Besides that, with the fire threats of our area, keeping weeds down and everything trimmed back is precaution.
And I like to read. I want to read. I read. Sometimes it’s a choice: do I want to read, or walk? Well, am I doing yardwork? Cleaning the house? Washing the cars? Going shopping? What can I shuffle off for another day?
I Don’t Wanna Laziness. Sometimes I just tell myself, you deserve a break, Michael. You’re writing and doing all these things. You’re sixty-two years old, retired from two careers and working on a third. Chill for a while.
Yes, it’s a rationalization. I came to grudgingly accept it. Number one, I grew up believing you are your clean house, your neat yard, your shiny car, and your job and appearance. That’s how I was socialized. Those of you who grew up in America in the last century probably know what I’m talking about. Now I know that, no, all those things are mostly superficial. As with a lot of living and activities, there’s a balance to be found and kept.
Part of my rationalization was also recognition that I was getting a little obsessive about my Fitbit activities, trying to push myself to higher and higher levels to the detriment of other activities. I’d tell myself, you did sixty-five miles this week; do sixty-six next week. I also realized that house-cleaning, yardwork, and other chores are perpetual, never-ending activities. Cut the grass this week, and you’ll need to cut it again two weeks later. Vacuum now, and the floor will have things on it again tomorrow after people and cats go through the house (especially cats!).
So it goes.