The day that I cancelled my gym membership – a good 15 years ago – was one of the most joyous days of my life. My daughter insists that every single time she goes to a gym – any gym in any city – she walks through the front door and has an immediate sense that something really, really good is going to happen. I love my daughter passionately; but this strikes me as very nearly psychotic.
My ex-husband and I joined our local gym towing along an infant. We dutifully went three times a week, doing a prescribed combination of strength training and cardio. Now that I am facing down my 60th birthday later this year, this strikes me as hilarious and disheartening. A high point of each week is my Sunday, wherein I putatively help my kids out by “babysitting” my adored foster grandson, and thereby get a strong dose of the miraculous wonder that comprises the world of a two-year-old. However, going out of my way to locate any additional exercise on these days is a preposterous idea. Taking care of him for a six-hour stretch is my workout, and I spend much of the day hoping I will have enough remaining strength to carry him up the long flight of stairs that ends my stint. In fact, when I first began taking care of him, I came home early Sunday evening, sat in my favorite chair with my Sunday paper, and was absolutely sure that I was dying. Terminally ill. A goner. There could be no other possible explanation for the level of my exhaustion, the depth of which was awesome and terrifying. Must. Get. Food. Important. To. Brush. Teeth.
Through sheer force of will I remained nearly-awake until 9:00.
The thought of doing anything on Sunday evening – even though I was invariably back home no later than six o’clock – was entirely out of the question. And to think there was a time when I did this all day long, every day, and sought out MORE exercise!?
For the ensuing 15 years since I gleefully snipped my old gym membership card into little teeny pieces, I have been a runner, of sorts. But a vast array of medical appointments involving all kids of thumping noises, radioactive dyes, extraordinarily unnatural body positions, little cameras being put in little orifices – you get the idea – have resulted in me having a high degree of technology to verify that I am in excellent health. Except for one thing: a significant amount of “wear and tear” degeneration, strange bone growth, and good old-fashioned arthritis, that sprawls through my back and hips.
My running days are over.
Two weeks ago, I joined a gym. Watch for the stories to prove it.