We went to the gym!
Some of you might be wondering what the gym is doing on the list and for me it goes something like this.
There are big global things as well as cool personal ones going on that I want to engage with fully this year, so I want to be fit, both physically and in other ways. It's kind of like getting your house in order so you can interact to the best of your ability with the rest of the world.
I also spend a lot of time caring for things in the world, and this lends itself to noticing the neglected areas. I think one of them is me - at least, my health and fitness.
I put on a lot of weight in the last year or two, and I want to feel good in my body again. Exercise and relaxation are such obvious tools for self-sustainable behaviour but the effort to start them up and maintain them feels like a giant road-block (until you actually do it).
I joined up at the North Adelaide Aquatic Centre's gym with my friend Taryn last year. We'd been swimming semi-regularly since winter, and then we saw that they had a Christmas special offer where you got 3 months membership to the gym and pool for about $130 concession.
But since joining I hadn't braved the gym, and had only been for one swim.
The day last year that I was all set to go, John and I received a call-out from 350.org to take part in a 24 hour fast for Climate Justice. Absurdly, not eating for a day and a night seemed easier than exercising for an hour; I happily put off the gym for another day.
There's something about passive self-denial that is easier for me than actively doing stuff. When we were thinking of ideas for our Sustainable Communities challenge, I was seriously advocating spending no money for the month of January, but John found the idea depressing and I think he's right. Doing something, 31 things in fact, is much more of a challenge for me, because it's active rather than passive.
But like exercise, once you get into it, it's much more rewarding and fun.
We went this morning and it was great.
I really like having a "thing" to get done each day. It feels like being on a journey in the geographical sense, or rather, it incorporates some of the elements I love about travelling - the idea that it's your "job" to get up and go and do something new every day throughout the trip.
This feels like that. Even the boring double bus ride to the Aquatic Centre this morning was "fresher" than usual, as if being on the list made the activity more mindful and interesting; we were noticing the architecture opposite the bus stop and the characters walking along King William Street. We talked all the way.
When we arrived I realised that wearing crocs instead of the sneakers I don't have felt a little too daggy. But I was with friends - John, our friend Taryn, and her daughter Annise (who spent the first part of the excursion colouring in animals at the creche).
We braved the entrance (via the weights room, full of giant men) and posed for cheesy pics.
Looking good Taryn!
A fairly relaxed John.
I was heartened that there were a couple of middle-aged, unglamorous, overweight women in the changeroom. It was by no means a gym of beautiful bodies, just ordinary people. A nice staff member showed us around and then we were let loose on the cardio machines.
Somewhat discouraged to realise that exercising felt effortful (don't the machines do the exercise for you?) we kept going and soon started to sweat and feel good.
We tried something that was like walking uphill through heavy snow, the cross-trainer and the speed walker. Then we rowed (collectively) about 3.5 km up on the rowing machines and then somehow it was already time to swim.
The pool was packed with teenagers and families and had a really nice sort of communal vibe. There was even a family having a barbeque in an outside area. You could live here!
Maybe it was the endorphins from working out and if so, great! But everyone seemed to be having a good time. We swam a little and had a quick sauna where we made plans to reconvene on Friday for our new members' fitness assessment. Making a date to come back seems to be the way to go. John gets to join us free for a week after which they obviously hope he'll sign up. I think he's seriously considering it.
John and I had to head home so we left the Water Baby and Mermaid in the kid's pool.