Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I hate exercising. I hate everything about it. I hate being out of breath, hot, sweaty, smelly, and sore. I hate the beeping noise the elliptical makes whenever I fall under the pace of whatever fitness program I’m struggling to keep up with. I hate the “calming,” “soothing” voice of the woman who narrates the yoga DVD I sometimes subject myself to. (Really, lady, your voice is more irritating than anything. I don’t want to breathe through the soles of my feet, thank you.) And I really hate the guilt trip I give myself when I skip a workout. However, I consider myself a pretty practical person and I realize that unless I want to be one of those gigantic people who has to be cut out of her house and weighed at a truck stop, I need to exercise. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Unfortunately for my arguments against exercising, I do almost always feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally after it’s over. I begrudgingly acknowledge that fact and use it to remind myself why I should get on the treadmill when I’m hem-hawing around, trying to come up with excuses as to why I can’t work out that day. There’s usually a running dialogue in my brain when my work day is over and it’s time to go to the gym. It goes something like this:

“God, I’m so tired. I can’t exercise tonight.”
“You need to do it.”
“But I just worked out yesterday. It won’t matter if I skip just one day.”
“If you skip today, it will be easier for you to skip tomorrow. Just go and do it.”
“But I don’t wanna do it! (super whiny inflection here) I hate exercising!”
“Seriously, you sound like a first-grader. Suck it up, get on the elliptical, and be done with it. Then you don’t have to worry about it again until tomorrow.”
“Oh, GAWD, I have to do this again tomorrow? I hate you, responsible part of myself.”
“I know. Now go to the gym.”

It really shouldn’t be that hard to convince myself to do something that I know I have to do for my own health and my own good. I don’t have an argument with myself about paying my bills or going to the grocery store. I just do those things, even though I don’t especially enjoy them. There’s just something about exercise that makes me want to throw myself on the floor, kicking and screaming in a spectacular temper tantrum, to get out of it. That might work when you’re 2 or 3 years old. Not so much when you’re 32.

In any case, I have been better lately about making myself exercise and I’ve started to push myself to do more, keep at it longer, and work harder than I usually do. I’ve found the key for me to be able to do that is music. Put me on a treadmill in front of a TV with the news or some other show on, and all I can think about is how much longer I have to walk. Put me on a treadmill with earbuds in my ears and a good playlist blaring from my iPod, and I can work harder for longer and not focus on how much misery I am in. Instead, I focus on the awesome songs that I breathlessly mouth the words to as they play. If I could figure out how to dance on the treadmill or elliptical while exercising without breaking my neck, I’d do it just because of the music pounding in my ears. 

Now, I can’t just have any old tunes going on in the background while I’m working out. It just wouldn’t motivate me like a good upbeat song with a solid beat and fast pace does. When I’m listening to music, it’s hard for me to go faster or slower than the beat so I know I have to pick songs fast enough for me to stick to it and actually burn some calories. Bruce Hornsby’s “Mandolin Rain” isn’t gonna cut it. The songs that I recycle over and over on my current exercise mix include ones like “What Doesn’t Kill You” by Kelly Clarkson, “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida, “Part of Me” by Katy Perry, “Tonight is the Night” by Outasight, “You Make me Feel…” by Cobra Starship, “Ready to Go” by Panic at the Disco, and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. These aren’t songs that I would necessarily listen to in other situations, but man, are they fun to hear when your feet are pounding the belt of a treadmill. Perfectly mindless, bubblegum pop songs that make me want to walk farther or stay on the elliptical longer. Instead of whining, “I can’t do it anymore,” I actually say to myself, “Just one more song.” If I do that just four or five times, I’ve added 20-25 minutes to my workout. I’ve always known that music is a powerful force, but if it can get me to extend a workout and even kind of enjoy it? Well, that’s down right miraculous.

Here we go!

I’ve finally decided to throw my hat into the blogging ring. I’ve thought about writing my own blog for a while, but never gave it any real consideration. Blogs these days are like opinions, and you know the saying about those – everybody has one. A blog always seemed just out of my reach, for whatever reason, which is strange considering the fact I’ve loved writing most of my life. For a while, it was even my occupation. I started writing when I was just a kid, probably around 7 or 8 years old, coming up with silly stories about talking animals with visions of grandeur to be the next Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume.

As I grew up, my writing morphed into more of an obligation, taking on the form of research papers and essays in high school and college. But what was a burden to some of my classmates was an opportunity to me and I did a little happy dance in my desk chair every time we received a new writing assignment. I found a home at my college’s student newspaper and managed to work my way up the ranks from reporter to news editor, all the while engaging in my favorite part about the job – writing a weekly opinion column about anything I wanted. I was in heaven. After college, my writing continued when I got a job as a reporter at my local newspaper. Welcome to the real world. As a professional reporter, I saw the emphasis shift to the doom and gloom, tragedy and terror that most newspapers focus on. I covered a lot of fun, interesting, and moving topics, but those were scattered among fatal car accidents, house fires, trials for animal killers and child abusers. I wasn’t able to separate those tragedies from my work life and my non-work life, and I took it all home with me every single day. After five years, it was too much and I realized that a career switch was in order. I chose to become a paralegal, which is a great fit for me and one of the best decisions I’ve managed to make in my life. But it has left me with somewhat of a writing deficit, which brings me here.

Between the end of my journalistic career and my current state, I have managed to fill the void by combining two of my favorite things – writing and Disney World. I’m a certified Disney addict, been to Disney World around 15 to 20 times, and would live in the Magic Kingdom if I could. I’ve taken the Disney knowledge I’ve soaked up over the years and put it to good use by writing guides of sorts for friends and family members who are traveling to the most magical place on earth. It fills the writing void, but unfortunately those guides come in waves and I really only get to write them when someone I know is planning a trip. And so the deficit continues.

This blog will not be dedicated to one topic or theme, but instead, as the name suggests, to whatever I might feel like rambling on about at any given time. I’m no academic, scholar, philosopher, and I’m no Pulitzer winner. I can put a sentence, heck, even a paragraph together, but I have never considered myself to be a great writer. I don’t expect to really accomplish anything through writing here. Will anyone read this blog? Probably not. Does that bother me? Not really. I see this blog space more as a brain dump for me. I was blessed with one of those brains that just doesn’t ever shut off. Ever. There’s always something swirling up there, usually multiple things, and usually very inconsequential things. My brain doesn’t even stop churning when I’m asleep, it just manifests my swirling thoughts into, usually, very strange dreams. Recently it concocted a dream about my dentist dying in a plane crash. Yeah, don’t ask me.

I’m hoping this blog will accomplish two things for me: 1) Satiate my need to write something, anything; and 2) Act as a catchall for some of my random thoughts so I can clear a space in my brain, which will more likely than not be filled with more random thoughts. But at least I’m making room! Maybe if I can clear some things out, my brain won’t feel the need to create dreams about my dentist’s ultimate demise or other strange scenarios that leave me saying, “What the hell was that?” when I wake up every morning. Who knows, maybe I’ll even solve some problems and start to figure myself out a bit by getting things onto the page. We’ll see, I guess.

So, if anyone is reading this, welcome to my blog! It could be an exciting adventure, or more likely, a boring look into my sometimes strange way of seeing the world around me. Whatever the case, it’s sure to be a lot of random ramblings.