I had my hands over my face and everything.
“How do people do this?” I wonder as I peek through my fingers.
There lies the world of Reality.
“Did I seriously just schedule an hour of exercise with a personal trainer?” I mentally grumble. “There are better things to do with this body — like becoming a human couch potato.”
Except, the hour is free compliments of a two-week trial with The Rush.
And I am insane.
What better way to celebrate making it through the mentally draining work-day than to physically exert my body.
I just might cry if he makes me do squats.
Word from the fitness herd is the exercise does wonders for toning muscles. There was a time when I enjoyed squats, but now the exercise is a trial: feet shoulder width apart, back straight, hips back, glueteous maximus out. Remember, knees should not go over the toes.
Note to self: while they suggest being near a mirror to check form, let’s not.
Sometimes the act of living is just so durn difficult. You know what I mean. Living is more than inhaling and exhaling. There are expectations, commitments, goals, questions, challenges in the midst of doing, wanting, pondering, praying.
Stresses, late nights, early mornings and everything in between give me tunnel vision. Before long I find myself racing, sprinting, accelerating forward, forward, forward, ever onward, and yet all I am covering is time.
My goal is to excel in my job. “Jobs are important,” Society supportively responds. “They provide food, money for vacations, security, improvement.”
Agreed, agreed, but —
“At least you have a job,” continues the clamoring response. “Some are without steady pay. Many are without health insurance.”
I agree, and I am so thankful for a job surrounded by great coworkers and health insurance to boot. Except a job does not provide everything.
My goal is to visit my family more often, to make more time for friends, to create new memories.
It’s important to —
“Art is long, and time is fleeting,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reminds. “And our hearts, though stout and brave, still, like muffled drums, are beating funeral marches to the grave.”
What a cheerful thought. Thank you, Longfellow. While I would not have phrased it in such a frank and morbid way, I agree.
However, I also agree with another friend of mine. He should be here any minu—
“Time goes by fast,” Ralph Waldo Emerson exclaims. “And people go in and out of your life so quickly, so you should never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you.”
However, spending too much time socializing will have an impact on my job.
“Huzzah,” Society shouts. “She sees the light!”
And spending too much time at work instead of play, will make me a sour puss any day.
My goal is to improve myself physically, mentally, spiritually — even socially.
“Be yourself,” Oscar Wilde chastises. “Everyone else is already taken.”
Yes, but if I am going to be with myself all the time, I would rather like for myself to be a little, well, better.
Wait, Emerson! You’ve already had your tur—
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else,” puffs Emerson, “is the greatest accomplishment.”
OK, all of you hush. Hush just a minute. I am trying to talk to the Readers and you are making it impossible. Plus, if I improve myself then it makes me better at my job—
“Right on,” cries Society.
“ —and it helps me to become a more caring daughter, loving sister, considerate friend, kind neighbor—”
“Indubitably,” Everyone agrees.
“—but it makes me so tired. And now we are back at square one.”
When I’m tired I don’t much feel like doing anything.
And now Reality is out there. I can sense it behind my closed hands. I can glimpse it through the gaps between my fingers. It is waiting for me and I am using my fragile flesh to bar it from my mind.
Reality holds laughter though; joy, adventure, golden memories, roadtrips to be had, dreams to make, great feats of strength, blockbuster movies, music to make your blood jump, the Harry Potter series, long walks along the beach with old friends and the deepest, brightest blue skies.
So intermingled in the stress, in the worry, anxiety and guilt is something far sweeter. If I bar out Reality, then I’m losing far more than the responsibilities and tears of this world.
What is the key then in enjoying these fine aspects of life? How do I excel in my job, grow with my friends and family, improve myself and fend off the fearsome dampeners?
Maybe. Maybe it has something to do with—
“It’s all about quality of life,” Phillip Green helpfully interrupts. “And finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.”
“There is no such thing as work-life balance,” Alain de Botton scoffs. “Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
Readers, their input is about to drive me insane.
These are all great points, but I realize something important: the best person I know is me. The best person you know is you. This hopefully means, if we are being completely honest with ourselves, you know what you need.
I’m going to be tired tomorrow. Both mentally and physically (the trainer convinced me to do squats). I’m also a 20-something adult. Part of being an adult is learning to care for myself. This means understanding what I need, and what is too much.
I hope to excel in every area mentioned, but with time.
And remember these words (which only loosely relate to this column, but sure are a good reminder):
“A day,” Charlie Chaplin reminds us in conclusion, “without a laugh is a wasted day.”