Sunday, June 4, 2017

Keeping On Not Doing What I Should Not Be Doing

About a month ago I decided to make yet another effort to peel off a few pounds toward a goal of improving my overall health. Each time I go through this process, I’m less successful than on the previous attempt. This round led me to one of those “aha!” moments as to what seems to be happening. That in turn revealed a truism about my broader behavior.

My fitness attempts consist of two behavioral categories—things I should do, and ones I should not do. For example, I should exercise, and I should not eat sweets or a lot of cheese. I’ve discovered that I’m much better at the “not doing” than I am at the “doing.”

Other than my morning sit-ups and stretching on the floor, I’ve had very little exercise over the past months. (I use the term sit-ups loosely.) Oh sure, I walked a mile or two about once a week. Maybe twice somewhere along the way. But if I want to get fit, I need to be walking about three miles at least three times a week. What’s worse, I’ve missed those daily stretches a few times. I used to do them religiously.

On the other hand, I’ve been quite good at avoiding sweets and cutting down on cheese. I simply don’t bring it into the house in the first place, or I bring very little. I no longer eat ice cream right out of the container.

What about other things I’m not doing that I should be doing? Practicing my saxophone for one. Jazz band practice has been canceled three weeks in a row, giving me a good excuse to skip my own preparation. And you may have noticed that what used to be my weekly blogging schedule shifted to bi-weekly some months back. I posted only once in the entire month of April. Then there’s the pile of mending waiting for me to tackle it.

To be fair, there’s a psychological impediment to the mending. Last September, I went to fetch another sock whose toe had a hole. By the time I walked to the bedroom and back, my cat Kallie got at the needle and thread and swallowed it. When I couldn’t find the needle and saw her making funny movements with her mouth, I knew what had happened. (She tried this once when I was still in the middle of darning.) A rushed visit to two vets and $2,100 of endoscopy later, Kallie was fine but I remained traumatized.

As you can see, I’m not highly accomplished at performing any number of tasks on my to-do list. On the other hand, I perform better at avoiding the interdictions I’ve put upon myself. At least I used to be. I’ve already mentioned the sweets and the cheese, but there have been non-gastronomical no-noes as well.

In particular, I’m thinking of my decision to avoid baiting Trump lovers with my blog and Facebook posts. I took the high road sometime last summer. Not long after, I switched to the bi-weekly posting schedule. It seems once I couldn’t post political satire, the well began to run dry. I stayed high for many months, unrewarding though it was, thus proving that I’m quite good at not doing what I should not be doing.

I have absolutely no idea what these proclivities say about me. Perhaps they reveal a tendency toward laziness, something buried for many decades that has been released via the freedom of being retired. More likely, they’re just random connections without even a metaphysical explanation. After all, I came down off the high road in February with barely a second thought.

I decided I was missing out on altogether too much fun by not jumping on the political satire humor train. That’s when I wrote the post: “Post-Election Mental Disorders” and submitted it to Reader Supported News. They picked it up, the first of six in a row that I’ve sent to them that they’ve accepted.

I guess that means I’m actually doing something, rather than not doing it. I’m staying off the high road. I’ll drink to that. Actually, no I won’t. Cutting back on wine was another item on my “not do” fitness list. Darn! Oops. Not darn. Too dangerous around Kallie. On that note, I’m going to stop writing this now.

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