Dec 3, 2020

In Which I Cancel My Gym Membership.

I didn't expect myself to be as emotional as I was but it was what it was.

After almost eight years, I ended things with my gym.  For all the usual excuses and reasons.  Variations on the theme of basically not being there enough in recent months:
- the mum / work / life balancing act has only increased in complexity despite my naive thinking that it would all get easier once I had a toilet trained child who slept through the night having survived the back to back illness years of long daycare.  
- my days at work increased two years ago and with that, the luxury of that second week day off over which to spread all my life admin and housekeeping duties disappeared - so it was goodbye to those languid Tuesday and Thursday mornings spent at the gym before stopping off for a coffee on the way home.
- outside of that one day off, I really had no other block of time within which I could take myself off for a workout and still make it in time for school and activity pick up.

The practical solution was, obviously, to cancel my membership.  I've adapted the way I exercise to my new routine (and dodgy body parts), taking up various activities I can do from the comfort of home or in the great outdoors.

But I hadn't up until now because I just couldn't.

We've had quite a journey, my gym membership and I.  

I first joined up as a new mum coming to terms with her perfect but unpredictable new baby and her less than perfect post partum body.  The 24/7, multi location nature of the gym I joined enabled me to squeeze in some 'me time' in those early months in the intense, bewildering world bubble of a first time mother and her child.  As time went on and I re-entered the real world, the gym was a stop on the way home from work or the first commitment of the day if said sleeping child showed signs of both being able to sleep beyond sunrise and be content in the company of caregivers who were not me.  Those were rare mornings, for the record.

And so the years have passed.  Somehow, up until now, there was always time to get to the gym once or twice a week.  The solitude, no nonsense decor (and fellow gym patrons) and plentiful equipment were all I needed to get there and get the job done.  

It's been as much a mental journey as a physical one.  Through life's ups and downs, the gym and going to it was a constant and reassuring presence.  I've learned persistence, patience and the power of just showing up.  I've gone beyond having goals relating to numbers. Numbers relating to weight lost, weight lifted, speeds run on a treadmill or calories burned on an elliptical. 

My goals now is quite simple.  Each opportunity to exercise is a gift and no two days' exercise are ever the same.  It's a privilege to be able to wake up each morning, get out of bed and move.  It isn't always fast, strong and graceful but I can and both my mind and body allow me to.  I marvel at what I can do and how that affects how I feel and think.  

Considering I wrote the essay above, is it any wonder I might have nearly teared up when I surrendered my membership this week?

Fear not, dear reader.  This is the world of SSG so of course the door closing on a gym membership lead to the door opening on a new fitness passion.  iFit on my new treadmill.

Who knew you could travel the world from the comfort of your loungeroom treadmill?  Who knew that the experience could be even more fun, educational and immersive than using similar programs on those fancy hotel treadmills.  I've been running in Salzburg, Austria one day, around lakes in Hawaii the next and also New Jersey the day after.  I've walked the cobblestones of Brasov, Romania and climbed historic (and steep) flights of wooden stairs in Sighisoara, Romania.  And I've not tripped even once.  Or found myself stranded because of the pandemic.  My current goal is to complete the 12 Days of Christmas series which will take my ears and eyes to the best of the world's holiday celebrations while my lungs and legs do their best to keep up with the super fit trainers who manage to deliver so much information while running tempo.

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