just doing it (my way)

There are a couple of people in my neighbourhood who don special outfits to go walking or running or cycling—bodysuits, skinny tops, colour-coordinated shoes and shorts and shades. I’m torn between thinking they’re making a bit of exercise way too complicated, and envying their whole dashing I-take-every-damn-thing-I-do-seriously “look”. 

I”m aware, of course, that there’s a multi-trillion dollar industry behind The Look—possibly men, possibly unfit—wielding extraordinary powers, convincing folk they need accoutrements to be fit. Even so, it doesn’t stop me occasionally thinking maybe I should get some spandex of my own, a tank top with wicking, one of those all-weather jackets that comes to a saucy little point at the back. A pedometre, a headband. I’d wear a water-bottle-belt (say that three times), read running magazines, get reflecting tape, strap a radio to my arm and groove to the beat as I thundered dashingly about town.

If people still groove to beats, that is…

It’s a colourful fantasy. Short-lived though. Fact is, I’d laugh if I wore spandex—it would crack me right up to see myself in The Correct Walking Outfit. This is for Other People. Not me. Despite illusions of being part of the active-wear set, the whole culture is counterintuitive to my DNA. Always was. As a kid I tried out for things, field hockey, for instance; I was so proud of my shin pads, walked around with them strung over my shoulder even when there wasn’t practice, hoping people would notice that I was an athlete. First time on the field though, when some big girl shoved me—which I didn’t know was part of the game—I found it so alarming I handed  my pads in right then and there. My parents signed me up for tennis lessons one summer but I preferred cherry popsicles and comics in the shade of a nearby tree. The instructor didn’t care, he’d been paid whether I played or not.  I was the last kid picked for the baseball team and I kind of liked it that way.  More time for hopscotch and skipping and walking in ditches after it rained.

I’m not made for organized activity. I’m made for writing postcards and taking them to the mailbox in my regular shoes, which are often sandals. And riding my bike to the grocery store and the library. I walk downtown and to the creek and along the beach, and I watch things—the way tall grass moves in the wind, geese land on water, a kid with a silver tinsel wig runs to catch up with friends. I hike and I cross-country and snowshoe in winter. I jump on a trampoline to work out plot points. I swim as a meditation. I work in the garden because it needs it, and so do I, and do yoga daily to bring myself back to the centre of my own life. I wash floors and windows and sort out closets because order helps me think. Sometimes before lunch, I dance.

So, yes, I think I’m finally old enough to admit that, despite the not-to-be-denied allure of the dashing active-wear crowd… that’s one club I’m never going to join.

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4 thoughts on “just doing it (my way)

  1. I was in the “athletic club.” But hell, we grow older and if we have half a brain, we find something like writing to anchor us, and now I’m in your club and loving it more than the run and jump of the old days.

  2. All my running/power walking/elliptical trainer gear is decidedly shapeless. It’s often windy on my outside route so I have to dress in unsexy layers (sweat pants, tee shirt, sweat hoodie, fleece vest, jacket, bandana, baseball cap with hood tied tightly over my head to keep wind off and of course iPod). I look like someone you’d steer clear from in any park or gym. If I’m in my basement its almost the same gear (give a layer or two) because it’s cold down there. Not a health nut, just tend to spend so much of my time in my office or on the couch that some activity seems necessary at my age…

    1. Ha! Definitely getting that ‘steer clear’ vibe! Love it. Sounds like the duds worn by somebody just into what they’re doing. (And not being a health nut may be one of the healthiest things anyone can do… it’s about moderation and the long game, right?)

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