I figured out how to exercise. Not that I never exercise, or even just barely exercise–I am a randomly consistent exerciser. It’s just something I must make myself do, like the dishes or the laundry. A real chore. Even when it’s enjoyable it’s a chore. I think it’s because it’s something I should be doing, and my inner Revolutionary War Heroine resents being told what to do.
It’s true that there’s a multitude of characters in my closet, and let me assure you they don’t all get along. So it’s nice when I can get some of them to line up in agreement about something as health-giving as exercise. Because usually there is some conflict. Closets are, after all, tight spaces.
Anyway. I was inspired by Diana Nyad. Specifically this talk she gave, and even more specifically by her firm and glowing presence on the stage. When she accomplished her life’s dream last year of swimming from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64 (Sixty-four!) I was in the hospital recovering from a mysterious and unknown virus. I wept when I read the news, because I was also finding a way. Out of that damn hospital. So when I saw her talk it kind of took me back to that space of being trapped in the hospital, something I hope never ever ever happens again, and if it takes exercise to do it, by god, that’s what I should be doing.
My inner Revolutionary War Heroine (we can call her Josephine, she is not unlike Nancy Morgan Hart, only she worked as a laundress for the Tories and smuggled information out via buttons) once again balks at the reappearance of the word should. But I found a way to get Josephine on board.
We are in training.
We are in training for a big dream, a long walk. The AT, aka the Appalachian Trail. Two thousand miles of old mountains, big grandmother mountains, on foot. Josephine is very old-fashioned so you can imagine she likes the foot part, she just thinks I should wear a long skirt and apron and use a mule to carry my stuff.
Anyway, it’s a walk that’s at least five years off. There are numerous people who may join me for some or all of the journey, but it’s a dream of mine, and the time is slowly approaching when I can go for it. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. And building my wish list on REI.
No wait. This is not a wish list. It’s my list of supplies.
So when I’m bouncing on my little trampoline with my weights in hand and getting bored with it (which only takes about three minutes), I think about climbing Mount Washington or Clingman’s Dome. Or trudging on some random section of the trail in horrible weather with blisters and mosquito bites and boring food while missing my family and my bed. And I say to my future self, “I’m doing this today for you. You can make it through. You can do this. Find a way!” The sense of drama appeals to Josephine.
Besides, studies have shown that vacation planning boosts your happiness more than the actual vacation. Not that a two thousand mile walk is exactly a vacation. Unless, like me, you have a Joan Muir in your closet who gets along really well with Josephine, the Revolutionary War Heroine.