It’s been over two months since my last blog post. One might think by now that I would be out of the habit of keeping the blog. And most days, they would be right. I often think I won’t update the blog again. It’s a waste of time. As Willie would sing, “You cain’t make a record if you ain’t got nuthin’ to say.” But if I am truthful with myself, I miss writing so much it hurts. Like so many things in my life, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. I have always preferred it that way. Anything but lukewarm mediocrity. So the mood swings from “Never again!” to “How could I possibly not?
It has taken me about a month to finally suppress the urge to photograph everything. But I can’t stop myself from looking at every situation as a potential blog post. So the question always comes back to “Would I still be writing if no one but me was reading?” Without any doubt.
There has been so much I have wanted to say over the last 60 days, but none of it appropriate for public display. I won’t sugar coat it. It has been a House of Pain here. Forgive the cliche, but I have gotten by “with a little help from my friends.” I don’t have enough words to adequately thank my friends and followers who have reached out via email, posted moving and comforting comments, sent messages via Facebook. Since my Mom is my Number One Blog Fan, your words of comfort have also helped to soothe her. I have reaped many rewards from this blog, the greatest of which is friendship.
Although I have lost friends and lovers in the past, this was my first time losing a member of my immediate family. We are a family of five, down to four now. That’s significant for anyone, but when one is single with no kids of their own, I think even more so. Although we do not always see eye to eye, we are what many consider to be a “close knit” family. One tends to do a mental scan around the dinner table of life and wonder “Which one of us will be the first to go?” No one wants to consider it could ever be the youngest.
Most days, I have done okay, but everyone has their weak points. For me, it is seeing my brother’s name in print. In needing to help with some of the official business and paperwork, I realize nothing brings me to tears faster than seeing his name via the written word. I can tune out the conversations. Look the other way during the photo displays. But dealing with official paperwork makes it, well, “official.” I have no choice but to face it. It may get easier with time, but it will be forever a “defining moment” in my life which rocked my world.
Upon arrival back in Texas, I went from perpetual motion of hiking or biking every single day to the vacuous flat, hot Texas prairie like a car at 100 mph hitting a tree. Aside from my family, there is nothing whatsoever that feeds my soul here. For the first time in my life, I experienced what it feels like to withdraw from the “runner’s high.” Endorphin withdrawal; that jittery, agitated feeling, almost desperation to get out and move. Since giving up my work addiction last October, exercise had become my drug of choice.But the nearest bike trail is 15 miles away. The nearest hiking trail even further. Moving about in central Texas heat is highly uncommon without an air conditioned bubble. Most even drive their car to the mailbox in these parts. And with the record-breaking May floods of biblical proportions, followed by a June steam bath and a plague of mosquitoes and chiggers, I had only one resort…The Main Street Gym. I walked in and signed up for a membership on the spot.
“Do you have any classes this evening?”
“Well, we have MMH starting in 15 minutes.”
“Okay, please sign me up…..What is MMH?”
“Micah’s Misery Hour. It’s in the room marked ‘House of Pain.”
I am about to find out just how badly I want that endorphin fix. A quick assessment around the House of Pain reveals that I am the oldest participant by at least 20 years. They all look like models from the Nike summer catalog, some even sporting lifting gloves.
I walk up to what is possibly the most stunningly gorgeous example of the human species I have ever seen….tall, muscular yet perfectly proportioned, sandy-blonde pony tail and closely cropped beard, with a gleaming white smile.
“Are you Micah?”
“Yes, how can I help you?”
“I just joined the gym. I am sixty. Do you think I am fit enough to survive your ‘Misery Hour?” (Hoping he does not recommend the “Silver Sneakers” class instead.)
“How long ago did you join?”
“Fifteen minutes ago.”
“Oh, I see. So you’re the type who likes to jump into the deep end of the pool right away, eh? Stick around. I think you’ll be okay.”
This was the beginning of what has turned out to be my favorite gym class of all time. It was a perfect fit, as Micah’s philosophy is “The Good Lord gave us everything we need to stay fit,” meaning utilization of our own body weight as our greatest fitness tool. Given his philosophy toward mind/body strengthening, I later splurged in Micah’s services for some one on one training. We worked together to design a custom fitness plan that can be done in the Winnie while on the road…strength training to round out my “hikers high.”
I have been a “gym rat” off and on throughout my life, but I can never say I really loved it. However the Main Street Gym has been my inner sanctum for the past two months. Who knew one “House of Pain” could be so helpful in easing another…