I start off the day shoveling my walk and clearing the snow and ice off my pickup. Why? Because it's fun? Because I like it? No. Because I have to get to work. Because I have to make a living. Because if I don't do those two things...I'll have to do other things that I like far less. I may not like going to work on a cold winter morning but I sure do like getting a paycheck.
Kinda the same goes for exercise. Do I like to exercise? Well, yes and no. I like the effects of exercise but I'm not really wild about the application. And, like going to work, it seems I can't get one without the other.
It is starting to seem that this winter will never end. Every day off that I've had from work....every one of them since mid December...it's either snowed or I've had to deal with snow. I've got things to do! One thing I would really like to do is drive to the gym without feeling like I'm risking my life on the roads. There is only so much you can do at home. I need iron! I need to run!
But here I sit, watching big fat snowflakes fall hour after hour, with myself getting fat as well.
I think that snowstorms suck but, like many things in my life, I don't really have any control over events...just how I react to them. I can sit moaning and groaning about the weather all winter long; it's not going to change a thing. The snow is still on the ground. It's still cold. The cosmos doesn't care about my comfort or convenience. All I can do is try to stay warm and wait patiently until Spring.
I can't control other people. Oh sure, I can manipulate a little but it's very temporary and entirely dependent upon another in allowing themselves to be swayed. I can't even get my cat to do what I want. She will blithely claw up the furniture no matter how much I yell at her. About the only thing I have a modicum of control is my own body.
Even that is selective.
I can't control getting a cold. I can't control aches and pains after working out. I can't control all the effects of steadily getting older.
I can control my weight. Wow! I really do get the total decision on what I put in my mouth and how often. I get to decide if the food I do eat is stored as fat or if my body moves around enough to build muscle and burn calories as fuel. Right now I'm losing about one to two pounds a week. That's not something that is happening to me, it's something I'm doing to myself.
I've never had to struggle with anything like I have in giving up smoking. As a little background about myself, I use to do drugs....lotsa them. I never really got into alcohol but I tried and liked just about everything else that was out there. How I managed not to wind up dead or in prison is a testament to luck of the stupid rather than any skill on my part. I did reach a point in my life where pretty much everybody that was important to me didn't really like me, so I made some changes, starting with giving up drugs and the lifestyle that went with it. It wasn't all that difficult. I just didn't do drugs anymore. No 12-step. No intervention. I just became tired of who I was and started doing things differently. I stopped my addictions.
Well...almost. I'm having a fight with smoking. Have been for quite a while. Sometimes I win. Most times the cigarettes win. I've held them off for today. Tomorrow....who knows?
Snow would be okay if I didn't have to go outside for anything more than checking the mailbox or building a snowman. I wouldn't try making snow angels for fear that my neighbors might think I was having a siezure and call 911. Snow is great to look at and play in. When I was a kid, snow was a cause for celebration because it carried with it the possibility of a canceled school day. I remember listening intently to the TV or radio as they listed school closings after a heavy snowstorm....crossing my fingers and thinking "c'mon, c'mon, c'mon" until the announcer called out the name of my town's school. A snow day is like an unexpected Christmas.
Alas, I no longer get snow days. When I stagger to the coffee pot in the morning and look out the window to see everything blanketed in white, I no longer light up with joy and anticipation. My thoughts are "oh shit, look at that mess out there" and I consider that I will have to leave for work a bit earlier in order to scrape off my pick-up and then navigate un-plowed roads across the city.
Driving is always a puckering experience. Most people take it nice and slow, but weather like this always brings out those with SUV's who think that 4-wheel drive will somehow prevent the laws of physics being applied to their tires on ice....so they whip in and around traffic about twenty mph over the speed limit, usually with a cell phone crammed to the side of their faces. I often see one or two of them on the side of the road on my way to work; crumpled around a light pole or some other car that they managed to take out upon discovering that it is difficult to go from 50 to zero on a patch of black ice.
Work all day. Watch the snow continue to fall. Repeat the harrowing driving process getting home in the evening.
It's no easy thing...walking that line between obligation and desire, between work and play, between what one must do to make a living and how one wants to live. It's tough to find a balance.
I love my job. I don't love having a job but I derive great satisfaction in what my job allows me to accomplish. I get to put into practice many of my values around serving people. I do good. I make a difference. Still, in order to be permitted to work on my job, I have to devote an extraordinary amount of time and effort on things that have nothing to do with actually doing what I perceive as my job. So much, in fact, that it threatens to overwhelm my life outside of the allotted forty hours out of each and every week.
This is probably the way of the world now days, with the increasing demand that workers do more for less, though it doesn't make it right or necessarily a good way of operating any business. What happens when you squeeze workers, whether in an manufacturing industry or social service agency, is that the product is compromised. In industry, product quality is sacrificed and goods become shoddy. In social service, people are sacrificed and lives likewise become less and less.
And at the core...the workers...who tread water every day, fearful of losing everything at the whim of management which threatens extinction of careers for those who do not provide their ever increasing demands of carrots; the value of their lives becomes irrelevant.