Terry's adventures in self-improvement.
Second part of three-part Resolution for Self, after DIET and before MORE SLEEP.
Fetch fresh pad paper, write “Use-it-or-Lose-It, Just-Do-It, Better-to-Wear-Out-Than-Rust-Out.”
Put pen down, stretching out on couch to ponder motivating strategies. Whistle. Hum. Search ceiling corners for spider webs.
Thirty minutes later, sit up, print following words:
“WHAT GOT SELF TO EXERCISE IN PAST?” Easy enough:
One, School System. Exercised because school forced self to. In Junior High, ancient gym teacher with tight grey perm and eyes like rabid husky yelled at self, struck self’s calves with old-lady cane, merely to get self and self’s pals to stand and uncross arms.
Two, Cute Outfits, though these not in play in high school years when self was made to wear inmate-style gym suit with name stitched on back. To avoid this fate, self learns to fake low-level seizure activity every Tuesday and Friday. Works like charm.
Time travel past matriculation at women’s college with gym clothes from WWI: rough cotton tunics with, God help self, bloomers underneath. Wear for all freshman and sophomore sports ‘til Student Revolution sweeps country, causing Phys Ed requirement and so much more to go down like Titanic.
Three, Adulthood and the need to a earn living, requiring self to look presentable, display basic levels energy. Exercise methods in these years include (a) Standing All Day at Work, (b) Labor and Delivery, (c) Child care.
Four, Fact That Running for Running’s Sake Appears On Scene. Jogging invented! Self is out of house at 6am, alone for 25 whole minutes. Self thinks died, went Heaven.
Five, Exercise Morphs into National Obsession: Nautilus invented! People pay to push/pull/lift objects not in any way needing to be pushed/pulled/lifted. Also tossed up from same vast change: Aerobics. Cute outfits in play at last! Self gives both resistance training AND aerobics a try in get-ups of the day: high-cut leotards and tights-with-leg-warmers, short-shorts and muscle shirts, giantly ballooning workout pants cinched at ankles with elastic. (M.C. Hammer green with envy!)
Self goes full tilt at various modalities. Runs for six months, collapses arch. Aerobicizes for 12 months, turns ankle. Weight-trains for 12 years, working muscles to failure, but more than muscles fail.
Tired of so much me-focus, self spends six months doing no exercise at all, has annual checkup with young doc who delivers stern lecture, mentioning his own daily soccer game.
Self nods head, pities guy’s wife.
Then one day self sees old friend, tells her she looks great, what’s her secret? “Pilates three times a week at the Y,” friend answers.
Self joins Y where self does Pilates, too. Also Nia, Zumba, Yoga, Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop - not alone but with 20 to 30 others dressed any old way. When woman on right says she is 91 real goal of exercise dawns on self: to get there, too.
Later, in Locker Room of Honesty, self looks around at women of all shapes and sizes, ages and degrees of able-bodiedness. Smiles big at dawning enlightenment. Never mind “died and went to heaven,” let self live and live, right here on Earth.
Write Terry at TerryMarotta@Verizon.net or c/o Ravenscroft Press, P.O. Box 270, Winchester, MA 01890. More tales and photos online at her blog Exit Only.