I am a paragon of nothing, let’s be clear. And I don’t think I ever was. I’m pretty serene about my mediocrity, too.
Like I have a choice.
What I do have is some sort of discipline, which is actually a tendency toward compulsive behavior, which is like most human behaviors: There’s a spectrum, at least from my perspective, ranging from random to rigid. I don’t brush my teeth compulsively, or bathe or anything else along those lines. I exercise because it makes me feel better, but I don’t feel worse if I don’t.
In fact, I’d be tempted to look at my life in general as falling toward the less-compulsive side of that spectrum, except we know. We know. So, I try to keep my eyes open.
But stepping on the scale in the morning? Tricky, maybe. It’s a matter of hygiene, I guess, and it’s hard to argue that this is aberrant behavior, any more than combing my hair. I get up, step on the scale, note the weight. I don’t hop on and off multiple times. I’ve been writing my weight down for years, but even that feels less compulsive than just a little fussy. And the price I pay for having let that sort of thing slide, for a lot of years.
Still, it would gnaw at me if I couldn’t. I have no problem leaving home for a week or more and skipping my weigh-ins, mostly because I have no choice but also because I eat less when I travel, for some reason. I haven’t gained weight on a trip since before I started paying attention.
My scale has been erratic for a while now, showing different figures every time I stepped on it, sometimes in a row to check. Nothing drastic, just buggy. And the other day I knocked it around, moving stuff, and then it insisted on telling me I’d suddenly dropped 15 pounds and refused to budge.
So I ran up to BestBuy and bought a fancy one, because of course I did. It hooks up to my network and automatically uploads the numbers to my Fitbit app, saving me precious seconds of time. There’s no discounting the cool factor, though.
It’s not that cool, actually. I feel sort of dumb, in fact. But it’s solid and consistent, and apparently so am I. I’ve had it for a week, and I haven’t strayed more than a tenth or three. 168.5, pretty much, and pretty much I’m satisfied with that. Aside from those few months in 2015 and early 2016 when it slid down 15 pounds and convinced me I was dying, I’ve been sitting here for a couple of years.
I’ve also reached the point where I think, meh. Two years ago, at roughly 30 pounds heavier, I walked 30 miles one day. Maybe now I’d walk it slightly faster. Maybe now more people on the street would stop me mid-walk to comment on my sleek figure, you think? Yeah, me neither. I can’t get as excited about it as I once might have.
Self-esteem, whatever that is? I guess. I don’t avoid my reflection, and I remember doing that. I don’t stress about what I can wear and what I can’t, so take that off my plate. But if I assume I was pretty fit, and I think I was, when I did that marathon hike at 195+ pounds, I’m left with…what? Is my wife, whom I still ogle like a lech, suddenly inspired to rip my shirt off and admire my slim self? I’ve been with this woman for 35 years and I speak from authority when I say, I don’t see it happening in this lifetime.
So I’m left with happy numbers, I suppose, and just shut up and be happy.
The advantages of being fitter than I was, though, are real. I can play with my grandson without entertaining thoughts of clogged arteries and embarrassing sudden cardiac death. And today it will come in handy, in a different way.
Today I’m helping an old friend move, and old is operative. He’s five years older than I, but we’re both securely in the are you crazy arena when it comes to lifting boxes. This is what professional movers and credit cards were made for.
But he doesn’t have a lot, stuff or money, and it just makes sense anyway: I’m moving him into my house.
This is a sad story, in a way, although it’s not hard to find the silver lining. Medical issues, sudden loss of employment (company folded), and the staggering rise in housing costs in Seattle all conspired to put him in the position he’s at, with little to fault him for except being in the wrong place at the wrong time of life. After months of worrying alongside him, hoping for the best but seeing the future clearly, I finally said what needed to be said. He had to move, and I have a basement. Let’s regroup afterward, but $1800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment across the street from a methadone clinic is not a hard equation to solve.
Also, I get to clean my basement, always a good idea.
So this will be different. Years ago, we had a friend live in our basement for a long time, in fact. It was designed as sort of a mother-in-law space, with a bedroom and plumbing laid out like a small apartment, although we’ve never installed a bathroom or kitchen-like features, and functionally it’s been an attic, a place to store stuff. After three decades here, we have stuff.
He’s never been a homebody, or lived outside of a big city other than his hometown, so I suspect the biggest difference will be felt by him, not us. And his eyes are focused on getting a job and getting a new, cheaper place to live; he surely sees this as temporary, and he may be right. I hope he is.
In the meantime, though, my Saturday is going to be spent in manual labor, tempting fate and muscles that aren’t used all that often, meaning at all. I suspect we’ll survive, but for the time being? I’d rather be lean and fit. I can always get fat tomorrow.
Or the next day, actually. Tomorrow’s my 34th wedding anniversary. If my lovely bride is going to rip my shirt off, it’ll be tomorrow. Yeah. Me neither.