I’m sore and I’m running out of sweaters.
I started with a personal trainer two nights ago. Everything from my rib cage to my collarbone hurts. My arms refuse to lift above my head. I’ve never been successful at strength training for very long. This is my first attempt with a trainer and my last idea on how to motivate myself. I’ve tried everything else.
At the same time, it’s cold in Florida. The temperature dipped into the 30s last night. This misery started two days ago. I own four sweaters. I can repeat them, but it is early for our cold spell. Are we going to get four more months of this? Ugh. I’m spending too much on getting swole to buy clothes. And my job requires me to look nice. Otherwise, I would spend my life in sweatshirts.
Yes, first world problems. No, it’s worse than that. First world, middle class, white person problems. Even worse yet, is I can still think of hundreds of things I need to make my life easier. These little impulses to buy hit me at all times of the day. Yesterday, I was hanging up clothes and I thought, “I need a different kind of hanger for my pants.” I’ve had the thought a few times lately that I need more workout clothes. I have plenty. Some are a little out of date or not perfect for weight training, but they fit and cover me. I could also use more sheet pans. New dishes. Some sort of container to organize a drawer in my office. The list of little stuff I need is endless.
Last year, I read, Buddhism is True by Robert Wright. He writes about how buddhists believe that it is human nature to always be wanting. Luckily, I’m naturally frugal, so I have some control over my buying actions. Not as much as I’d like, but some. Maybe I should buy a budgeting app.
All of this wanting comes from a place where I believe I can make my life so easy I glide from one moment to the next. I imagine that I will re-organize the closets and drawers and will never misplace anything again. I’ll never have to search once it is all perfect. All the minutes I use to look for those pants can be used for genius things. Look at Steve Jobs, he had one outfit on repeat. Maybe I need to clean out my clothes and buy more of the same.
The problem is I’ve had this list of Things I Need to Make Life Simple forever. I knock one item off and another appears. You can decide whether buddhism is true for yourself, but you must admit, they’re right about the endless wanting.
Wanting as an Excuse For Not Doing
There is nothing like gear to an endurance athlete. If you’ve ever trained for a half marathon or more, you know what I’m talking about. When you think your legs might fail you, your gear will hold you up. Anything from the right shorts to the best watch will drag you across the finish line. At least, that’s what you tell yourself on a bad training day. Bad training days almost always come from something external. You ate the wrong food, played the wrong music, wore the wrong clothes for the weather; it’s better than they come from something inexplicable and than something internal. That’s stuff’s harder to fix. There must be a simple remedy for your problem. For many of us, it is easier to consume, or even imagine consuming, than it is to practice more.
I’ve found myself lately looking at writing classes online. I’ve taken a few before. Some are decent. I can’t think of one that taught me more than picking up a few books on writing. I took one with a feedback portion of the class which should have been helpful, but everyone said basically nice things about every piece. It was a waste. Still, I look at these classes like they will do more for me than writing. I can watch or read instead of think and create. I’m so much more comfortable with reading advice than I am writing it’s sad and unproductive.
I have everything I need to improve. My home contains a surplus of pens and paper, a computer, and a library card. I could hire another coach. (I’ve tried this before. too.) I could take a class. I can always find a way to spend money and put the blame somewhere else. But I can’t pretend that I’m missing something. I have everything I need to become a better writer. I simply have to do it.