Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting Fitter

I accepted the special summer school gig because 1) $ duh, and 2) the hours, 10-2, are vastly superior to the regular summer school gig, 7:30-11:30.

I am at my best, physically and mentally, in the morning. Working regular summer school would force me to squander precious writing/gardening time in a computer lab monitoring unhappy "repeaters" as they slog through a preset online credit recovery program. Instead, I roll in at a very civilized hour and work with small groups of incoming ninth graders who need focused attention on reading skills. How I accomplish this objective is Any Damn Way I Want. Pretty awesome.

But here's the rub: in preparation for my trip to Ireland (oh my god, real soon!) I embarked a few months ago on a physical tune-up, if not overhaul. I’ve never been what anybody would call athletic, but I have been far fitter. The ravages of age and a sedentary avocation have led to issues with knees, feet, and, even more menacing, the lower back. This lower back business had increased in direct proportion to my commitment to my writing. Anyone with back issues knows that sitting for long periods can be much more exhausting and painful than walking.

So. A couple of months ago I thought I’d try acupuncture. After the very first session with Ellen, the veil of pain I’d been wearing was stripped off. The back still hurt, but less. The constant drain on my energy seemed to be gone, enough so that I started thinking I could maybe try getting into a little better condition-- maybe I really could jaunt and caper about Ireland in a holiday way. Maybe a Zumba class, something to loosen up my back. I called the sisters and they were in.

Somehow, in our search for a class, we ended up joining a health club and signing up to work with a trainer who will henceforth be known as KillBill. Ok, so, you’re never too old for transformation, right? And at the club I met a young chiropractor giving out “samples” of a new technique, ART, which works with muscle and tendon injuries, and he is not only taking my back to new levels of heath—he has actually reshaped my feet, which had so many misaligned bones in them that I’d almost given up the hope of walking without pain.

Long story shorter: I’m feeling much better, fitter, less trepidatious about my journey. But? The writing and gardening have been sorely neglected. Every morning for the last few weeks, I either go to the club or to the chiro, and physically that’s a great thing. But my spirit has felt somewhat deprived. Today is the first day I did neither. I felt a little funny about it, but while getting a few things done in the yard—a wee bit of weeding, sprayed the apple trees for rust – I found the writing returning, and thus this long overdue post. Even if nobody reads it, I’m grateful to know that while regaining other physical freedoms, I haven’t lost the ability to type. Sometimes you just have to skip the gym.

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