Maybe not quite this old…
If ever an admission of truth could lose readership, it will be this one. I have been back and forth about whether or not to tell this story, but the comical aspect of it, combined with my pride in a dubious accomplishment, makes the telling of it irresistible.
For years I have had a subscription to People magazine. This has been the source of endless ribbing by some of my “highbrow” friends (quotes are absolutely intentional, thank you very much), because I don’t follow the news very religiously (in fact, under antonym for “news junkie” you would find my picture) so the thinking is that the source of all my current events knowledge stems from this periodical. If I make the mistake of mentioning something in headline news, the comments are predictable, and endless.
Now can you see why I keep these friends around for decades?
Back to me. I developed a rule for this magazine: I will only allow myself to read it at the gym. The reason: It covers up the control panel, and there are pictures to distract my mind while I toil away. I came to think of reading the magazine as a reward, and if I was caught up on the issues, I felt good, because it meant I was exercising regularly, if there was a backlog, it motivated me to get my ass to the gym.
Enter the downward spiral of active addiction. Because I am a stubborn son of a gun, I would not allow myself to look at them unless at the gym. Unfortunately, since other obsessions occupied my time, the pile of People magazines grew as mountainous as my pile of regret and shame.
But throwing them out felt like I was giving up. Oddly, holding on to almost a year’s worth of People magazines was actually a sign of hope, and faith that I could conquer this disease, and get back to normal life (if you consider normal reading about celebs while working out).
So, as most of you know, I bottomed out, and started the process of recovery, and still the pile of People magazines grew. Throughout the year 2012, I worked my ass of in terms of recovery, but not in terms of anything physical. I took the slogan “First things first” and ran with it… straight to the La-Z-Boy. Occasionally I would take the pile, sort through it, and throw out the issues that seemed the least interesting, but still I hung on to the majority of them.
The subscription ended December 2012, and for obvious reasons I could not justify renewing it. So for the next 5 1/2 months while the pile did not grow, it certainly did not diminish in size. I moved them out of sight, but still could not bear to part with them. At one point my husband was in the drawer that housed them and said, “What the hell are you planning to do with all those back issues of People?” Of course, he was unaware of this particular insanity, so I mumbled something and the subject was dropped.
Finally, the time had come, and I signed up to kick-start my fitness over at Running On Sober. Finally, the People magazines will be put to good use!
So I picked one out of the pile, and out the door I went. As I started reading about Tom Cruise‘s idea of the perfect day being spending it with Katie Holmes, I realized a slight problem in my logic: this was old news, really, really old news.
Did I mention that I am stubborn? If I held on to these magazines for this long, by God, I am going to read them.
I watched the pile dwindle, and damned if I didn’t feel just a notch of pride each time I threw out a magazine.
Meanwhile, I got to find out the following hot-off-the-press information:
- Richard Dawson, Phyllis Diller and the guy from Beastie Boys are all dead
- Jessica Simpson had her first baby (apparently already pregnant with number 2?)
- The sit com Go On with Matthew Perry is picked to be a winner (now cancelled); the sit com The Neighbors is picked to be a loser (surprise hit)
Here’s the end of this ridiculous story, and I promise this happened exactly as I am telling it. I got down to the final old issue of People, and I put off reading it for a few days, because it felt like the end of an era. So I swam or took neighborhood walks. Finally, I went to the gym, read my last back issue, and threw it in the trashcan with a smile. I drove home, went to the mailbox, and I swear to you, this was what I found, that day:
Could I even make this stuff up?
Surviving a trip to the mall with 5 kids ranging in age from 13 (with an attitude) to 2 (also with an attitude). If mall employees were also recording miracles, it would be that we left with the building still standing!
Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness. -Earl of Derby
I really hate exercise. There, I said it. I hate dressing for it, fixing my hair for it, planning time in my day for it, driving to it (the gym), and even walking up to the elliptical machine. About the only part I like about the whole process is getting into my car and driving out of the gym parking lot.
But I have been hearing a lot lately about the idea of “mind, body and spirit,” and I know, in my heart, that I am sadly lacking in the body part of it. But man, just writing this post makes me sigh. Yet another stupid mind shift I need to figure out.
So I’ve been thinking about how I can apply recovery to the whole physical fitness gig. And the first thing that came to mind is the title of this post. Act as if you are into physical fitness. Another expression is “fake it ’til you make it.” So, in that regard, I got up this morning, and even though I looked longingly at my jeans and sweater, I instead dressed in gym attire. And I told my son to ask me if I went to the gym when he gets home from school. And I acknowledged to my husband that I have about an hour free in my schedule that I could fill with a trip to the gym. And I’m writing to all of you now.
Accountability. I really hope tomorrow I write with a happy update…
Believe it or not, sharing this inner turmoil is a miracle. I cannot stand talking about the gym before I actually do it, so hopefully this is the mental rearrangement I need!