Sometimes motivation is in short supply.
It’s 5.30am and it’s definitely one of those times. The house is cold and it’s pouring down with rain outside.
Today I’ve got to travel by car and therefore whether I like walking in the rain or not I simply don’t have the option – unless I feel up to strolling to Banbury and back (which I don’t.).
This means that my only option is really to get my cardio in before I leave the house – and that means I have to use my exercise bike.
I’ve come to the conclusion over the last couple of years that whilst I can definitely be someone that’s very driven in a lot of respects one of the things that I still don’t do very well is working out alone.
I can happily walk for miles and miles without anyone around – but I don’t really see that as exercise because I’m going somewhere – whereas in contrast lifting weights or sitting on a static bike just seems a bit… pointless.
Don’t get me wrong – I know there’s definitely a point to doing this kind of thing – but it seems like such a waste of time when I could instead be outdoors.
I guess when I reflect upon it this is probably the key differentiator between the two. Most of my love of walking is probably a reaction to not being able to go out and about for so long.
Nevertheless – the situation is what it is and I’m actually glad I have the option to use my exercise bike. If I look at the plusses it’s a moment where I can just listen to some music, do some thinking and write for a while as well.
I’m currently pedalling and listening to The Sound of the Smiths.
I never used to like them as a band very much – and oddly back when they were popular I genuinely hated Morrisey’s voice.
I still find it mildly objectionable – but Johnny Marr’s guitar somehow makes him a bit more palatable now I’m older and I can appreciate the lyrics a little more – despite completely failing to get on board with his rather drab take on life.
The period when I first heard these songs was grim for the most part – and maybe that also has a bearing on the way I view the music. I rarely look back on when I grew up with a sense of rose tinted fondness.
Someone that I shared that period with recently said to me that he’d been chatting in a forum on the topic and a contributor had commented ‘if you enjoyed the 80’s then you weren’t there.’
The miner’s strikes. The Falklands. Maggie Thatcher. Poll tax. Greenham Common.
The list of grim crap is pretty long.
I like being alive now. For all its problems to me the world has never seemed so vibrant and open.
Maybe it’s just my current mindset however because you’d have to be blind and dumb to think that the world doesn’t still have its fair share of issues.
Back in the 80’s though I grew up with a sense that the future held little to no promise – but now I’m of a different opinion because it seems to contain endless possibilities.
I’ve always thought in the past that when people said ‘life begins at 40’ that they were just doing their level best to try and find a way of coming to terms with getting really really old.
Perspective is a wonderful thing though – and now I’m (ahem) ‘over 40’ I have to say that a phrase never rang more true to me.
By the time you get to this stage of life things start to make more sense. You begin to lose the need to be a people pleaser, and you become more aware of who you are and what you want from life.
Furthermore you’ve probably made some progress already and you’re not desperate to get on a property ladder, pay for university or take out car loans.
You’re now also at the time of life (hopefully) where the world is open for exploration and you can see it with the eyes of someone that understands not only their motivations but those of people that they meet too.
It’s (at least in my case) a good time to be alive.
As I’m following this train of thought my attention drifts and I find myself staring at my arm – which looks odd, and my pedalling momentarily slows. It’s definitely my arm though, and there’s nothing wrong with it.
It’s just that I sometimes no longer recognise the parts of my body that seemed so familiar to me a couple of years ago, and often I still do double takes when I look in the mirror or get dressed.
As I cycle it looks like parts of me are alien landscapes.
I’m still not used to seeing my muscles and veins so prominently under my skin and when I do it genuinely takes me by surprise.
I’m not sure I really like the way my arms look – but there’s no denying that they show evidence of a level of fitness that’s never been there before. I suspect that even when they were covered in fat that my veins and arteries were never so big previously.
I know that even though I’m undecided about how they appear I prefer their current state to the previous one.
Sometimes being in my head is hard – and being comfortable with how I look is (at times) even harder.
Today I’m going out feeling good about myself – but I’m still going to be wearing long sleeves. Being happy with who I am is sometimes not quite the same as showing everyone I meet exactly what I look like under my clothes.
Thankfully for me being happy doesn’t mean I need to wear a swimsuit or a vest top. It just means feeling good inside, energetic, switched on and full of life.
Anyway – now my exercise program has ended and it’s time to go out, a little bit fitter, still in sleeves.