Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Motivationally challenged

It’s hard to be a goal-driven overachiever when you’re also a lazy procrastinator. Which probably explains why it has taken me three months to put my one and only New Year’s resolution ("do less") into action.

My extracurricular activities (swimming, cycling, racing in triathlons, blogging, freelance writing, volunteering, learning French, watching television -- just to name a few) have been pushing me to the edge of exhaustion.

So I made a list of everything that was eating up my spare time and decided to drop the thing I liked the least. This turned out to be "doing laundry and cleaning." But because living in filth was not an option, I ended up dropping my second most hated activity -- going to the gym -- instead.

I’m excited about this decision. Not going to the gym will free up two nights a week to do other things, like feed my newly acquired MTV addiction.

I’m not sure if I will permanently stop going to the gym or just give it up for a few months. The only reason I started going to the gym in the first place was to make my shoulders stronger for swimming. But I’m not sure it made a difference. I still have the upper body strength of a kitten.

I also thought the gym might be a good place to meet guys. This turned out to be true. I met lots of guys. Guys like Perry, for example.

Perry was a heavy drinking, chain smoking, overweight, ex-rower from Romania in his 50s. Perry told me the only reason he went to the gym was because he was trying to kill himself. Literally. He would eat and drink and smoke and then bench-press twice his weight in the hopes of having a heart attack. He was tired of living and wanted to die but was too afraid to commit suicide in a traditional manner. So Perry was fixated on having a heart attack. He seemed disappointed to find himself still alive after every punishing workout.

This might sound depressing but it wasn’t. Perry was actually quite funny about his death mission. I think he may have accomplished his goal because I haven’t seen him in about a year. It’s too bad because Perry was the most interesting guy I met at the gym.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll miss the place. Going to the gym was a chore. The only exercise I really liked doing was chin-ups (even though I can only do two in a row).

Still, I can’t help but feel conflicted about my decision to "do less." Like most New Year’s resolutions, it probably won’t last long. I suck.

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