Wandering thoughts

Disclaimer: this post is about to go down a few rabbit holes that involve the endless stream of nonsense I live with running through my head like the news ticker at the bottom of most cable news networks. Shit’s about to get weird. Turn back, or forever regret pressing onward.

At the age of 30, which is apparently just old enough for people slightly younger than me to now make me feel older than I should feel just yet, I have come to terms with the fact that the inside of my head is a much louder place than I am always comfortable with it being. My inner monologue is often actually a rather argumentative dialogue, and as of late it has been particularly distracting. It likes to remind me that the plausibility of becoming an accomplished, published author isn’t very high. That I am disappointing people who should, under no circumstances, be disappointed. Sometimes it likes to tell me I’m fat, but also suggest I eat an entire bag of popcorn with extra butter and then chase it with some ice cream, because reasonably I should balance hot and cold foods.

Sometimes that dialogue gets particularly dark, and I respond to it by going to bed early or taking a nap, by writing as fiercely as possible, or by temporarily transforming into a really shitty, insufferable person. Sorry for the times I do that third thing – it’s not entirely intentional.

Recently, in a moment of wanting to sort myself out in a way that isn’t entirely unhelpful to myself or others, I decided I was going to get working on getting back in a shape that doesn’t vaguely resemble a bowling pin. This was in part due to me finally starting to read my copy of Furiously Happy. It was part of a conscious decision to stare down the bullshit going on in my head and telling it I was going to smile so hard I may very well end up excreting sunshine and rainbows. Samsung Health, my fitness app of choice as I have tethered myself to it with my Samsung Gear fitness watch, has a Baby Steps to 5k Program that seemed right up my alley. Bonus points: I have a local park with access to a number of trails near enough to my house that I can walk there without getting winded and deciding the whole exercise thing was a bad idea.

On my first day of walking, I approached the entrance to the trails, which are largely through the woods. Something magical happened in the moment I stepped across the threshold, out of the pervasive summer sunlight and into the shade offered by so many trees. The constant, easily distracted stream of conversation that makes up my thoughts went quiet briefly. Birds chirped all around. Somewhere in the distance, a brook babbled (or a stream spoke or a creek chattered – whatever). I continued along at my brisk pace, as recommended by the Samsung Health app, until I noticed there were two hikers ahead of me talking as they walked along the trail.

Given that these trails weave through Pittsburgh, and are by no means near a low-population area, it only makes sense that I would run–figuratively, in this case, and literally when I’m not paying enough attention–into other people who are trying to exercise or just appreciate nature.

And that’s when that little voice in my head suggested that the two young women, conversing intently though occasionally glancing back, ahead of me were definitely plotting my untimely demise and the best way to dispose of my body along the trails. I pointed out how stupid that was as the two hikers continued along, disappearing from view. This line of reasoning was obviously the byproduct of watching entirely too many procedural crime dramas.

Sure. Or, and hear me out, my brain said in response. You’re just being reasonable. See that nice little stream over there? That’s where the police will find you, obviously.

It was a lot funnier to think about this in retrospect than, I think, it’s conveyed in text, because to me it’s all sort of dark humor sitcom, but it reads a bit more like ‘holy shit, have you considered seeing a therapist?’.

So then I found myself thinking about my Fitness Watch, and how it sends me on guilt trips when I don’t achieve my preset goals. I work in an office setting, and I am pretty good about ignoring its suggestions to do torso twists every so often. This is mostly because I don’t feel like drawing more attention to myself, given that my default facial expression is not the friendliest. I like Fitness Watches in theory, but not always in application, and found myself thinking about how other Fitness Things could be way more enjoyable. And less painful on the bank account.

You could have a Fitness Doorstop, which would prevent you from re-entering your home until you’ve reached your step count for the day. This is great in theory, until you’ve left the car keys on your kitchen counter and your house refuses you reentry until you find it in you to complete 10k steps. Next thing you know, you’re being detained by the police because you weren’t about to be late for work and so you tried to climb in the living room windows, only to have some nosy neighbor report you as a suspicious character.

My brain then went to the old chestnut of “I’m into fitness. Fitness whole pizza in my mouth.” I like pizza, but I think the real MVP of Fitness Foods (TM, R, Copyright, etc. – not really, obviously) would be a Fitness Burrito Bowl. Both Fitness Watches and Burrito Bowls tend to be round – a watch face or a bowl of burrito accoutrements (a combination of words I bet you never thought you’d read in a sentence – you’re welcome). Both can be beneficial to your health, in that a Fitness Watch can track exercise, calorie intake, and so on, while a Fitness Burrito Bowl can be filled with all kinds of good, low calorie or high protein or whatever kinds of foods. The tipping point for me would be that a Fitness Burrito Bowl will never judge me for my normally sedentary lifestyle, and you really can’t heap shredded cheese and sour cream on top of a Fitness Watch without getting some seriously judgmental looks.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, which may seem inconsequential but I keep reminding myself that I have to be up early to put in my steps for my Baby Steps to 5k before work. I’m seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp with my daughter, and I’m sure that will be wonderful but I also refuse to shit up the consistent progress I’ve been making. Which means that, though this has been fun, I need to follow the sage advice of the children’s book narrated by Samuel Jackson and go the fuck to sleep.

Take care, all. Goodnight. Or good morning. Good evening and afternoon. I don’t know. There are too many time zones to cover all of them, so good something to you all and to all a good something.

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