I think if I had to name the one thing in my life that constantly defeats my best laid plans it would have to be procrastination. I'm not sure exactly why this is. Possibly an advanced case of laziness on my part. Maybe fear of the unknown. Possibly forgetfullness. Whatever the underlying reason, it is a decades old character flaw. And every now and again, I awake in the morning with fire in my gut, eyes blazing, determined to change the pattern. Like this morning. "That's it," I say to myself. "No more procrastination."
I think procrastination for the single person is one thing, but procrastination for someone part of a couple, a team, a civil union, a marriage...quite another. Because then my character flaw not only effects my own life but my wife's life, too. And then it becomes not just a character flaw but a 'thing.' And a 'thing' has to eventually be dragged into the light and 'talked about.' And once it's 'talked about' then it becomes an ongoing 'incident' that has been identified and labeled and listed as 'something to be fixed.' At that point it is a problem.
My ongoing procrastination has become a problem.
I've decided to join a gym. In fact, we went gym shopping yesterday. It is down to two. One is in downtown Burbank and has a pool, yoga classes, up-to-date weight machines, pilate classes (whatever that means), and a host of other self-improvement stuff. The other gym is closer but all it has are some weights and a big bag (in the 'boxing room'). I decided to go with that one.
But it was a long time coming, this whole 'joining a gym' thing.
For one thing, I've been very lucky my entire life when it comes to 'working out.' I didn't need to, really. At least not outwardly so. I have always had the kind of metabolism or genetic make-up or whatever that insured I didn't get an unsightly premature gut or saggy 'man breasts' or any of the other countless ills that aging brings (the balding and greying thing is an entirely different story, however). And fortunately, I didn't have to work out to fend them off. But now, at 50, this is changing. My body is betraying me. After decades of abuse it has decided this is the year to pay me back. Thus, the gym decision.
At first my wife and I were discussing joining the gym with all the bells and whistles. They have a 'family plan' that we were going to subscribe to. But then I decided the other gym had all I needed and I probably wouldn't use all the bells and whistles anyway. Plus my wife has never been a gym person herself. She prefers running in the morning and doing yoga in a separate and individual class.
The other thing that came to mind is that I don't have any gym clothes. I have to get some today. You know, gym shorts, shoes, etc. I have a lot of old t-shirts so that's covered. But I don't have the other obligatory apparel.
When we visited the gym to look it over yesterday I asked the girl at the counter if someone could show me how to use some of the more 'new fangled' machinery. I'm prehistoric when it comes to being in a gym. The last time I joined one all they had were heavy rocks to carry around. She gave me an odd look and said, 'Well, sure, I guess.' I'm sure she was thinking that this gym already featured old equipment, how is it I wouldn't know how to work them? I didn't want to tell her that the last time I joined a gym people were still doing jumping jacks.
I have never met, not once in my entire life, an interesting person that works out. Oh, I've met people I consider smart and fascinating that work out now and then. But people that obsess over it? Never. Not once. They have been, to the man, pretty boring and dumb. Part of that, I'm sure, has to do with the whole narcissism thing. But I don't know. So I've been rationalizing by telling myself I'm only going to try and get rid of the gut and the upper body deterioration. Just sort of combat the aging process a little bit. Just pop in to the gym a few times a week and keep the wolves at bay.
But then I think of my lifelong history of procrastination. And I hear myself saying, 'I'll work out tomorrow.' In addition, I see myself working out like a madman for a little while and then deciding not to do it anymore. I'm childish that way. For one thing, I don't really care for pain.
So, I'm at an impasse. I have to decide whether or not to join this gym, to put some hard cash on the counter, to disrupt my lazy, life-of-the-mind existence, to get off my fifty year old ass and do something productive.
I think I'll make a decision tomorrow.
At which point I'll see you.