Please to enjoy some Sunday motivation from my friend, Stephanie.
Author of MY FORMERLY HOT LIFE: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young.
THE BONFIRE OF MY VANITY OR HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE THE GYM
Weekends, getting to the gym is always a struggle. Today, Sunday, is no exception.
Back before I was an adult tween—no longer a young person, but definitely not old, either–I was pretty good about it.
I’d go four, five times a week, even when I was feeling a little logy.
No, especially when I felt a little logy, because I chose to believe what all the women’s magazines I write for have said: working out gives you energy, even as you expend energy climbing endlessly to nowhere on a machine made by someone who must have had a terrible childhood. The theory defies everything I learned in Mr. Budin’s physics class at in high school, but then, I was never very good at physics, and I needed as many reasons as I could muster to get my fanny on the cardio machine.
I worked out as much as the masochists experts say you should not because I’m so virtuous or an athlete or find the “scene” scintillating or enjoy watching striving macho men do things with weights that are only going to make our health care crisis worse.
No, I went to the gym for two simple reasons.
1) I was just vain enough (I look better when I exercise) and 2) just mentally unstable enough (I’m in a better mood after I’ve worked out ) to know that if I don’t, I will become someone I can’t be around. Which is a problem considering I’m stuck with myself, and so are my kids and arguably, my husband.
I went to the gym in the same spirit in which I brush my teeth: There is little enjoyment but not doing it wasn’t an option, either. I felt gross when I didn’t go.
Hence my dilemma.
I’m becoming less vain as I get older—overall, an excellent development, one I that gives me a sense of peace and relief, but one which is nonetheless significantly reducing my desire to exercise.
I no longer feel terribly gross when I skip the gym for a day, two, or even three.
In fact, it feels like the natural order of things—why would I go to the gym, really, when it’s not going to make as much of a difference in my appearance as it used to? My second reason for going to the gym is still there (I’m still plenty depressive) but now that I care a bit less about how I look, the ratio of vain to blue is off.
Does this mean I need to become more depressed and emotionally off-balance to compensate for caring less about my looks, to ensure I get a healthy amount of exercise?
I hope not, because then I’m just a hop and a skip and a deep global recession away from bag-lady city.
For all I know, that woman who wears everything she’s ever owned and mutters to herself on the street was a 43-year-old mom of two who simply lost her vanity, upped her mental instability, saw her 401-K go down the crapper and now gets her exercise by wandering from homeless shelter to homeless shelter.
Sorry, I have to go.
To the gym.
And I cannot wait to get there.