Sunday, March 9, 2014

Really, it's OK to set different priorities

I got as far as getting my cycling clothing on today before I stepped outside and got hit in the face by the wind. At the time, it was 22 MPH from the west, gusting to 29. Three hours later we're under a high wind warning and up to 41MPH with gusts of 60.

I'm still wearing my mismatched lycra. I had planned on hopping on our bike trainer and watching the auto race (NASCAR fan. Surprises a lot of people when they learn that about me.) Never did it. What happened was I got sucked into a writing project. I have two pieces -- a short story and an essay -- that I want to enter in the Wyoming Writers contest. I'm taking a break between the two to write this blog post.

I love to exercise. I'm not particularly strong or fast, but I love to move. This doesn't mean I have to make exercise my top priority every single day of my life. Lately, I've been realizing that if I want to make time and energy to write more, I may need to scale back on exercise. In this society, that's heresy since I'm not BMI 24.9 or lower. Until I get an acceptable body, I must do my penance at the gym.

Screw that. Fornicate that audio.

One of my writing heroes is Ted Kooser. He's a funny, unassuming man from Nebraska who is a past National Poet Laureate. He spent his working life in the insurance industry. Every morning, he woke up at 4:30 a.m. to write poetry before he went to work. He writes beautiful poetry, and he is a kind and insightful teacher when I have seen him at workshops. I do not believe the world would have been better served had he spent all those mornings at the gym.

I might still jump on the trainer tonight when Cosmos comes on. I am (sigh) old enough to remember Carl Sagan repeating "billions and billions" in the original when it came out. Exercise is still a priority, but today it's not my top one.

We carve out time for what matters. What matters varies from person to person and even day to day. It's OK to choose something that matters other than exercise.


  1. It's so frustrating, when you're always told you must do this thing, and you're not valid if you don't, never mind if you win a Pulitzer prize or something, no you should have exercised more. That's not a legacy worth leaving - a legacy of lost inches!

  2. Thanks, Chris! It's the reason why the word "excuses" sets me off a lot of times.

    1. Oh my God yes. "What's my excuse?" I've got an incredibly long list full of legitimate reasons you've never even heard of. But do I want to spend my time, convincing bigots to not be prejudiced? Maybe not.