Sunday, June 10, 2012

What If...

What if I just didn't work out anymore? I mean ever?

What if I didn't have to get out of bed on weekends even earlier than on week days? I can imagine: my internal alarm clock would go off before the real one, and that dread feeling that comes as soon as I open my eyes every morning because I know I have to go to work would start, but then I would realize, with a huge wash of relief, that it's a WEEKEND and I don't have to go anywhere except back into the blankets and back into sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep, as in actually get enough sleep and be well-rested, and not have to choose between sleeping and going out and being social like I do now. I don't know if it's because I'm getting old or what, but I am getting to love my bed more and more all the time.

What if I had time to write? I've been writing my whole life. I was supposed to have books published by now! I have tons of half-written books that I don't finish because I just don't have the time to write or the energy after two hours on the bike and one hour of running and one hour of P90X. Oh, I know it is hard to get published at first but I am persistent when I want to be and I know I could find a publisher if I wasn't spending all this time exercising.

What if I had time to spend with my dogs? I mean quality time, not just 20 minutes at lunch and maybe a half-hour after work and the night time, where they're stuck lying at my feet while I pay bills and catch up on email and otherwise unwind by wasting time on the Internet. Then maybe Frieda wouldn't be growing up totally undersocialized and unfriendly to all other people and dogs. Or maybe she would grow up that way anyway because that is just her temperament but at least then she would be unfriendly and well-trained. And then I could spend my free time taking the dogs for long walks in that giant open patch of desert right across the road from me like I did this morning. The desert is heart-stoppingly beautiful when you move through it at a leisurely pace and have time to watch things like birds picking at saguaro fruits and road runners hiding under palo verdes and (OK, this is South Tucson after all) stray pit bulls watching you from on top of ripped-up couches that people have dumped in the wash. When I run on trails I miss all of that, plus Frieda can't come because she's too young to run without worrying about it wrecking her bones. I could also have foster dogs that actually need exercise and training, not just the boring lumps on a log I have now. (No offense, Coco; you're a nice little lump, really.)

What if I could read as much as I want? I've always said, if there was one single activity I would spend the entire day doing if I could, it would be reading. The thought of all the great books I haven't read... well, it doesn't exactly keep me up at night, but it does bother me. How nice would it be to finish reading the New York Times of the hundred best books of the 19th century? Plus all the wild, interesting contemporary fiction? Plus the hundreds of blogs that I'd love to follow but don't have time to.

What if I get fat? I'm starting to think, so what. America is fat. Who cares. Haven't I had enough of being fit, enjoying bathing suit shopping, intimidating people by telling them the kind of races I do for fun? When do I just get to settle down and be lazy and fat? Of course I have no intention of changing my eating habits, so I would get fat in a hurry, but doesn't hiking with dogs burn calories too? And, okay, I will probably still bike commute, just because I'm cheap about gas. Those two things would probably be enough, combined, to keep me from getting horribly fat, right?

I am seriously tired of spending so much time doing something I hate, and I have no one to blame for it but myself. No one is making me do any of this; no one cares if I get fat and lazy, and even I barely care anymore. I'm two weeks behind on P90X and today will be the day when I officially decide to resume it or give it up. What happened is, after two months of doing it, I realized my body already looks exactly like the bodies of the women in the P90X videos, so what exactly am I doing it for? The ability to do 15 pull-ups instead of 12? Who gives a shit, really? Is that worth dreading doing it every day? I don't think so!

And running -- if I hadn't already signed up for Pikes Peak, I would not be running at all either. I can safely say that after Pikes Peak there will be NO more races for me, for a long time. I don't want the pressure on myself of having to do reasonably well, and also I'm trying to save money and figure out whether I could live on the salary of a teacher if I change jobs and go work in the schools. (So far, the answer is a big, resounding NO, but eliminating travel expenses for out of town marathons would definitely be a first and completely necessary step.)

Really, the obvious thing I want is not just to replace workouts with more fun activities, but to replace everything in my life that I don't enjoy with things that I do enjoy. Truthfully, what I would really like to do is get rid of work. Work is the obvious thing to hate, and it takes up way more time than workouts. OK, work pays the bills, i know that, but I am starting to think that being middle-class and comfortable is overrated. (Let me point out that I do not just hate MY job, which is okay as jobs go -- helping people, not too difficult, etc --I hate the very idea of work, of having to be somewhere at a certain time and having to do something other than exactly what I want to do.) I accept the fact that I can't just not work, but switching to being a teacher would at least give me big chunks of time when I don't have to be at work, and that is looking like the biggest and best prize of all.