Life in Slow-Mo

Just ripped another page off the calendar as a new month begins. I tell myself the start of each new month provides opportunities. Still, my benchmarks seem to hover around Perfection. Self-care and Perfectionism. Hmmmm.

After joining a gym almost 3 weeks ago, I’ve been twice. My self-care plan dictates at least three visits a week (though I imagined 4 or 5), leaving me with a growing net deficit that I avoid calculating. The question I ask myself is: Why is it so hard to pull into the parking lot, park the vehicle, and walk inside?

Initially I came up with excuses. The staff I encountered seemed abrupt. The classes I want don’t fit the inflexible pieces of my schedule. The promised tour of the facility never materialized and after some solo-exploration, it still isn’t clear what’s what. One day I pulled into the parking lot and realized I sported mules (against the rules) instead of sneakers.

After struggling to get a membership I can barely afford, why can’t I suck it up and (assuming proper footwear) walk in the door?

Really. It’s not the first time I’ve walked into a new-to-me environment alone. I’ve moved half-way across the Pacific alone. I’ve traveled for both work and vacation as a single mom and, later, a single woman. I’ve changed jobs. Moved to new homes. Been through a hurricane, a small tsunami, a flood, gale force winds. I’ve survived many uncomfortable, and a few life-threatening, situations. It amazes me that something so simple has me confounded.

Since my days lack moping-time, though I admit to a talent for finding ways to distract myself, I decided some action is in order. What can I do? Push myself to suck-it-up and go daily? (Hasn’t worked so far.) Cancel my membership or just not-go? (Also hasn’t worked for me.)  How about figuring out why the building feels so intimidating?

After brief consideration, I decided to create a simply-easy plan to test whether exposure to the environment makes it feel less intimidating/more comfortable.

Since there are two days a week when I have a 4-hour block of alone/unscheduled-time, instead of pushing for perfect attendance at perfect classes or a specific workout for a specific length of time, I’ll keep those two time slots open and commit to making a trip to the gym on each of those two days during this month. No big plans. No worrying about the mismatched class schedule. Just showing up, going inside, asking some human there a question to learn my way around, hanging out for 10 or 20 or 200 minutes, and trying on the place as if it were a potential new pair of jeans.

By the end of the month I’ll know if the gym feels like worn, comfy jeans or something else entirely. Either way, I can make an informed decision. Who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with the place.

Week One Update: Tried the gym floor (got help with the treadmill) one day; the second gym day I attended a beginner-level aerobics class (survived + instructor invited me to return even though I’ll start late because of other obligations).

Week Two Update: Thought I’d enjoy the classes in the water best, so tried two different classes on two different days with two different instructors.


Graphic thanks to Creative Commons and this link: <a href=””>Surprised Sneaker (PDF)</a>

Find other work by jkstrib here:

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