I hate to exercise.
I mean, I really hate to exercise. I hate it more than life itself.
But you got to do it. If you want to live a long life and accomplish great things (or even if you want to be a humor writer, like me), you’ve got to maintain your body.
A healthy body promotes a sharp and healthy mind. (It also discourages fellow beachgoers from laughing at your Speedo.)
I realized today that I need to exercise more.
And by that, I mean I need to exercise, period. As in, performing some sort of enhanced physical activity — something beyond my current regimen of rising from the couch to find the taquito that slipped between the seat cushions. (If it’s fuzz-free, it’s still good. Just got to brush off the cat hair and any loose change.)
It dawned on me that I’m tired. I sat down this evening to hammer out a post, and I was dismayed because I had nothing. My brain was dead. Static. Foggy.
I was tired. I’m always tired.
And I’m tired of always being tired.
I work hard all day, and when I come home, there’s nothing left. No energy to write. No energy to read and comment on other blogs (and sorry for that, by the way). No energy to cook.
I mean, I barely have enough energy to microwave a couple of taquitos. (That’s why I spend so much time searching between the couch cushions.)
Granted, I have some digestive issues that sap my strength. Apparently, I don’t process protein well. (And we’ve discussed in length my penchant for taquitos.)
But that’s no excuse. Too many people have overcome obstacles far greater than mine, and they’ve gone on to reach their full potential. (Of course, they actually had potential to reach for, whereas I’m brushing cat hair off of microwaved meals. But I’m not here to focus on the negative.)
I promised myself this evening that I’m going to exercise for 15 minutes each day.
That’s a commitment … for me.
And actually, it seemed sort of daunting, at first.
But then I realized: Fifteen minutes was the length of my morning and afternoon recesses back in fifth and sixth grade.
I loved recess. My friends and I would play handball — lots of handball. Or else we’d dangle from the jungle gym and throw pebbles at the girls. (And really, what better way for a boy to express his affection than by chucking a marble-sized rock at a girl’s head?)
And like those rocks, a thought struck me:
I’m miserable in my adult life because I no longer have recess.
My friends and I always looked forward to recess. Recess made life worth living. No matter what assignment we were doing or even if it was Movie Day, we always watched the clock with fervid anticipation, counting the seconds until recess.
Why did we ever give that up?
The school district snuck it away — a sort of bureaucratic death by a thousand cuts.
In seventh grade, they took away morning and afternoon recess, leaving us with only an abbreviated break after lunch.
And by ninth grade, even lunch recess was gone.
But it didn’t matter, because by then we were hustling off campus to chain-smoke cigarettes and pick up chicks — which, for me, still meant throwing pebbles at them. (I never did quite grow out of that phase. Of course, I never did get a date, either.)
I need recess in my adult life. I go to work, but there’s no longer that frenzied yearning as I stare at the clock, waiting for the bell. Now I just stare at the clock and wait for my demise. (Or for my retirement; whichever comes first.)
But I’m bringing recess back — even if it’s in the evening, on my own time. I need that frantic, physical activity to keep me young.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be playing handball, or — heaven forbid — throwing rocks at chicks. (I vowed last weekend to give that up, after an awkward experience at a nightclub.)
But it does mean I’m going to hustle on the elliptical for 15 minutes straight, reliving the glory of my youth and recapturing the sprightly essence that makes life exciting.
In terms of recess, 15 minutes isn’t that long.
As a kid, in fact, it seemed much too short.
So that’s how I’m going to keep this commitment. I’m not going to consider my promise as “exercise.”
“Exercise” implies drudgery and pain and internal self-judgement.
Instead, I’m going to consider it “recess,” which means letting loose, forgetting life — flailing around with reckless abandon.
Because isn’t that what life is, anyway? We’re all just flailing around, searching for a purpose, a reason — a deeper, more profound meaning to it all.
If you’re going to flail around, you might as well do so with reckless abandon. Many of us flail around, but it’s the “reckless abandon” part we let go of.
So yes, I still hate exercise. I really hate exercise.
But as for life itself … well, let’s say I’m brushing off the cat hair and all the loose change.