The Gym Can Wait (But Not for Long)

Dearest Rachel –

January is the month for resolutions, and as everybody know, although in all honesty, we were never much for them ourselves. Not because we thought we had everything together – far from it – but that we were realistic enough to know that we’d end up breaking them in the same month we’d made them (basically, like everybody else in the world who does this; essentially, we saw it as a waste of time, money and effort for something we would likely give up on within twenty or thirty days, at best). That, and we weren’t exactly the best at holding each other to account on any such resolutions either of us might have made, so as not to be held to account ourselves for our own self-improvement plans.

But some of that also had to do with being content with each other as we were, faults and all. It’s the stuff of a good and happy marriage, if not a perfect one, perhaps; after all, a better couple might have striven for constant improvement, helping each other up the various mountains they had set for themselves to climb, be that metaphorically or even literally. Regardless, I won’t deny that I was quite satisfied by what we had; apart from the kitchen (the oven, in particular), I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

But now, I’m left without much say in the matter. I can make those changes to the house – and have; would that you could have seen them – but in order to get back that same dynamic of husband and wife living in contentment together, I need to be able to be appealing to that woman who might be. Granted, I can’t do much about a face only a mother could love, but I certainly could stand to lose weight (even my doctor thinks so, although he might say that even if I were a hundred pounds lighter than I am, for all I know); which means eating less and exercising.

So I’d made a point of asking for a membership renewal at the local park district gym as a Christmas present; if nothing else, it’s a convenient stop right along the short path I drive from the house to the ‘office,’ so on the days I’m not walking through the downtown area of our village, I could stop there and do some working out. Indeed, if I’m to get my money’s worth out of it, I had better do so at least twice a week going forward. And I had actually planned to do so this morning, just to get started.

And then, last night after club, Lars called.

I’d already demurred on him on Sunday, when he asked to walk yesterday; given the significance of the day, he thought I could use the company. It was well meant, but I sometimes wonder if all the well-wishes I received throughout the day don’t simply exacerbate the fact that you’re gone, much like that praise song “Yes I Will” serves as much as an unwanted reminder that I’m still in that ‘lowest valley’ (despite my best efforts to ignore it and just make my way through, as I must) as it is a pledge to praise Him while I’m there. That, and I wanted to do something a little more notable for yesterday’s letter (and before you ask, yes, I’m aware that, by writing to you every single day like I do, I’m also reminding myself of having lost you, so I shouldn’t be so upset by external reminders when I’m doing this to myself at the same time), and that would take longer than the hour or so I would be able to ‘work’ at the ‘office’ on the project. So his call last night was expected.

What I hadn’t expected was that, as he went through both of our schedules (I’d already told him that I had an appointment elsewhere on Thursday, and he has his own commitments, despite being officially retired himself) and the weather forecast, today was the best day (apart from Monday, but that ship had already sailed) to get together. “I know it’s short notice,” he admitted.

Of course, when you come down to it, it wasn’t any shorter than his request Sunday night to meet yesterday (granted, I turned that down, but not because of the short notice). And that’s supposed to be the beauty of being retired; your schedule is supposed to be free enough to do things like this on a moment’s notice. The only thing that gets in the way are our internal plans – like mine to go to the gym and work out.

Still, one form of exercise is as good as any. And sometimes, the company you keep is more important than the effort you put into whatever it is you’re doing. Basically, what I’m saying is that the gym can wait; there will be other days and other times that will work out better for working out.

The fear is that, if I do this too often (and, in this case, too early in my plans), I might find myself losing my resolve entirely, and that would be a Bad Thing. Not only would I have wasted my money, but in losing that motivation, I’d be doing myself a disservice by constantly finding excuses, however valid, to not get started on this new regimen. I’m well aware that this isn’t something I truly want to do as much as I know it’s something I need to do for myself, which doesn’t make getting started on it easy. Erin discovered she liked running, and so continues to do it; I found it difficult and painful and gave it up. It won’t do me any good if the same thing happens here.

Then again, to defer one form of exercise for another isn’t quite the same as blowing off exercise entirely, so maybe I’m being a little hard on myself. At the same time, I know what I’m likely to do. And while you’re in no position to hold me to account now any more than back in the day, putting it out here on the internet where other people can do so might just spur me on.

After all, the gym can wait for today, but it can’t wait for long.

Anyway, keep an eye on me, honey, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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