Sometimes, when I'm feeling wistful, I'll wish that I could get addicted to things that are good for me. I seem to be developing a little problem with Everlasting Gobstoppers, for instance. How come I can't become obsessed with something like hugging trees or exercise?
Speaking of exercise, you may all throw me a little parade because I got up at 5:30am - 5:30am!!! - this morning to go work out. Turns out there is this whole little universe of people who get up early to do healthy things. Who knew?
It began when my friend Jackie sent me a Facebook message a few days ago asking if I'd meet her at the gym this morning at 6am. After nearly choking on my Everlasting Gobstopper, I thought about it. Why not? Why can't I be one of those people who gets up early to go do things? I could think of it like a cultural experiment - who ARE those people and what do they look like? Before I could stop myself I sent her a message back, saying I would meet her. There. Now I was committed. I don't mind letting myself down, but other people are a different story. Jackie was counting on me. Her whole world would crumble if I wasn't there, right?
For the past year Steve has been asking me, with varying degrees of politeness and subtlety, to work out. He can find an opening for this topic in any conversation:
Me: "How bout those Red Sox, huh?"
Steve: "Yeah. They must work out a lot."
Me: "Are you calling me fat?"
Steve: "I've got this situation with a client I really need to work out."
Me: "Are you calling me fat?"
Steve: "I wonder if we'll ever work out the situation in the Middle East and no-I'm-not-calling-you-fat."
I'm a little touchy about the topic of exercise. I know it's good for me. I know it gives me more energy, I'm nicer and more in balance when I'm working out. If sitting around wishing you felt like working out burned calories, I'd be a super model.
I've learned something about myself in the past couple of years, though. If I pressure myself to do something out of obligation, or because I feel like I have to, I simply won't do it. I can make a quiet rebellion out of anything.
Steve figured out a while ago that asking me if I'm going to the gym is a dead end. With him off my back, I started arguing with myself about it: I don't have time, I don't need pressure to do one more thing, nobody tells me what to do, dammit! Not even me!
So I waited. I let myself off the hook completely, told myself I don't have to work out if I don't want to, that I'm fine just the way I am. Pressure's off. Sure enough, the next day I get Jackie's message and I think, "Sure? Why not?"
It was Steve who sealed the deal, though. Last night I nonchalantly asked him to set the alarm clock for 5:30am, like it was no big thing.
"WHAT?!?" he gaped. "5:30am? YOU?"
"Sure, why not?" I replied. "I told Jackie I'd meet her."
"You didn't leave yourself a little trapdoor? A little way out?" he asked.
"Well, I did mention that Greta isn't feeling well, and that if she is worse tomorrow morning I may not be able to go."
"You are SO not going."
"Yes I am."
"I will eat my left eyeball if you go. Seriously."
"Get out the knife and fork, baby, because I'm going."
Nobody tells me what I can't do, either.
Well played, Steve. Well played.