Whenever I go to the gym for a run there is a period of time between when I quit working for the day and when I arrive, during which my mind engages in relatively unproductive thought. It provides ample time to dwell on negatives, as I rapidly begin to unravel for the day. Upon pulling into the parking lot, I’ll turn off the car engine, put my head on the steering wheel, sigh deeply, wish I could take a nap, and as I review the facts of my life, a voice whispers into my ear all the reasons I should turn around and go back home.
In the span of a minute all the worries, the cares, the frustrations, the pain, and the crushing agony of daily life envelop me and proceed to suck all the wanna out of me. I am reminded that no matter what it is that I choose to be doing at any given time, there is also something else that I could and should be doing; at that time running seems to be of comparative insignificance.
Then I remember that years ago I made a deliberate decision. As difficult as working out can be some days, I’ve promised myself to opt for minor discomfort on the road or track, daily muscle pain, and tiredness over doctor bills, continual day-to-day illness and early death.
There are no guarantees it will work out that way, but the odds for better physical and emotional health and enjoyment of life are far better for one who exercises faithfully than for one who does not. So far doing so has brought me nothing but benefits, so why should I stop or even pause?
“Get behind me, you cursèd unmentionable orifice!” I say to the voice. Whereupon I drag my discouraged vessel of life from the car — between May and October stepping into oppressive heat — pull my gym bag from the trunk, and slowly drag my carcass toward the building, calulating ways I can cut today’s workout short, usually with plans to make up the effort Tomorrow.
Anywhere from forty-five minutes to several hours later I reemerge from the building a different person. In most cases I have conquered the voice, I feel wonderful, and am ready to tackle whatever may come for the rest of the day.