Life is all about choices, you make them, and you live with the choices you make.
This sentence is stretched above the mirrored wall in the upstairs workout room at Prodigy Wellness Center. You can clearly see it every time you look up to see if you are using proper form for an exercise or you want to see how good your muscles look. The picture above was also taken from that room exactly one year ago to this day.
I took that picture as I was leaving cycle class that night because I knew I had made a choice that I was going to have to live with. I posted the picture on my social media and didn’t post any caption with it. I knew what it meant and maybe a couple of other people, at most. I know that because it got very little response other than the ones I expected.
I had chosen to walk away from the gym because I decided to try my hand at coaching again while I was also continuing to work on calling Magnolia basketball games on the radio and still teach school during the day. This is one of the few ways a teacher can work “overtime” and make extra money. Sarah had to reorganize some things at the gym, so it seemed like the best time to step aside since she was taking on more classes and adjusting the schedule. I also thought I had learned enough at the gym and would be able to workout on my own.
Here is how I started to live with the choices I made.
Basketball started out great. I’ve always enjoyed coaching, especially the beginning of the season. I was a coach who actually liked practice. I liked getting to the know the players on a more personal level and watching them improve by learning from me. The girls seemed to like it, too.
The schedules of coaching and radio meshed well early, except I was often on the road and had to hit some drive-thrus for dinner a few times. I was also tired. Too tired to keep up with school work or things at home and too tired to exercise. You can probably see where this is going.
Everything built to a crescendo in January when my father suddenly became ill and passed away. It was a surprise how quickly he went downhill, but he had been preparing for this day for years. It made it easier to handle, but it also meant my duties as the executor of his estate had begun.
It also started snowing. Games were rescheduled. My dates didn’t line up anymore. I had to have coverage to coach for me a couple times and a Magnolia game didn’t get on the radio because I was already supposed to coach that night and I didn’t have a backup on the radio. Things were unraveling.
I’m just about to finish up both radio and coaching and the teacher’s strike hits. That tends to soak up all your focus and energy for awhile. When I wasn’t on the picket line, attending meetings or rallies, and watching the legislative session, I was knee deep in doing the paperwork to settle my dad’s estate. At least I didn’t need to do lesson plans or grade papers.
Did I mention the abcessed tooth needing a root canal? Those are fun while you wait to see the dentist and then endodontist.
Now back to cycle for a minute. I taught Tuesday (and sometimes Friday) cycle at Prodigy for three years. I filled in when Bri, the original instructor left, because I had subbed in her absence before. I enjoyed it. It was fun making themed playlists and workouts that would get them sweating. The class grew in the beginning as some people were turned away that wanted in.
Eventually, attendance leveled off then started to fall. Some is attrition that happens at gyms when people become less motivated and quit exercising. The other problem was me. I wasn’t as serious about my diet as I needed to be and I was still about the same size I was at the end of my time as I was at the beginning. Nobody ever said this to me, but I’m sure having a chubby guy leading an exercise class discouraged some from attending. I can’t blame them. How could I help them if it didn’t help me?
Back to the picture. I took it because I thought when I left I might not be back. I was already having trouble getting to the gym regularly and it was going to get worse. I was reflecting back on all that I had accomplished there, but left knowing I hadn’t done enough. I tried to convince myself that I could do it on my own, but I don’t think I bought it.
The result of all those choices? Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and over 300 pounds. It was time for some new choices.
My last two blog posts share all you need to know about most of those new choices. I won’t repeat them here, but there was another choice I’ve made that I will share. Me. I chose me.
I have decided to take better care of myself and I’ve learned to say no. I use to do lots of things that I knew would benefit others. I still believe in that, but I’m not tying myself down to things that are going to interfere with taking care of myself. It better be important if I’m going to miss my workouts now. I’ve quit or turned down most committees at school. I fit other things in when it is convenient for me. I don’t consider this selfish, I consider this survival.
I’m back in that cycle class again, only now I’m in bike #7 on the end of the first row, right in front of Sarah. I’m happy to be burning my calories and toning my muscles alongside some of the hardest workers in the gym. I’m content to let Sarah pick the music and the format while I try to keep up and be a model to anyone starting out.
I had a flashback during cycle class last night. Sarah made a 90’s playlist (her decade) and three of the songs were ones I had used sometime in the past. It brought back memories of me watching people respond when I played those songs. It also encouraged me to pedal faster when I realized it’s a heck of a lot easier to go fast without 60 plus pounds getting in the way. The heart rate monitor on my fitness watch agreed. And with all Sarah’s singing and dancing in the lead bike, I’m sure she couldn’t tell sometimes I was singing along, too.
It’s good to be back.
This was originally supposed to be a blog about my writing. I’m going to get back to it soon. I promise.