Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Complacency Sucks!

I've grown lazy, both physically and intellectually.

I swore I would lose the weight I gained back after the wedding, but not only have I not done so, I've made peace with it and kind of like the curves. And I really like the eating, and I love the chocolate. But now my fat jeans--the ones I retired last spring because they were huge--are tight, and I'm starting to feel sort of disappointed in myself. Indulgence is all fine and well, and I believe it is necessary at least once in a while, but maybe the bedtime cup of hot chocolate and dessert pint o'ice cream will have to go.

More to the point, I have to stop being so lazy and get some exercise. And no matter how hard I try to convince myself, the treadling action involved in spinning cannot count as exercise. Believe me, I have that debate with myself every afternoon when I come home from work. Last night I had a wee twinge of guilt when I chose the spinning wheel over the bike--but then I heated up a plate of leftover chocolate bread pudding, sat down at the wheel and conceded defeat.

You know how they say "nothing feels as good as thin"? Chocolate. Chocolate feels as good, if not better.

I'm not saying that to sabotage my dear friends who are steadfastly dieting. I totally support them and know I should be right there with them. But I spent nine months of last year recording every single bite I put in my mouth (thank you, Calorie King!) and every single calorie I expended. Not to mention the year before that, when I tried every bean burger recipe known to man to bring my cholesterol down. I deprived myself to the extent that I haven't been able to face the deprivation again, yet. But I think I'm starting to get there.

I'm not bashing myself. If anything, I'm a little too pleased with myself. When I can look in the mirror and praise the curves that others would call love-handles, maybe it's time to take myself down a notch.

Plus, come September my doctor's going to want to test my cholesterol again, so I might as well start the diet, exercise and bean burgers now.

The intellectual laziness is harder to put my finger on. It's more a feeling than anything else. I read books. I keep up with current events. I'm still learning stuff at work--designing ads with new graphic design software, thinking up radio spots.

But over lunch a few weeks ago, my friend S. asked me if I'd been doing any writing, and I said, no, I don't have the time. And she said, you should, you're a good writer.

Isn't it amazing how a kind and generous compliment can make you feel so terrible?

Until I dropped it last spring, I had a part-time freelance job writing biographies of noteworthy locals for the town newspaper. S. writes for the paper and helped me get the job. The great thing about it was that every interviewee taught me a little something about their profession. Flying, clockmaking, nursing, cakebaking, you name it. Some sent me away with books so I could learn more. Melanie noted my ability to talk to anyone recently, and that's one of the places I learned it.

The bad thing about the job was that every article took a minimum of five hours, by the time I was done interviewing and writing. Much as I enjoyed them, some interviews would last 2-3 hours. I started using shorter tapes because I discovered people would talk until the tape recorder shut off. By the time I was done, I was lucky if I earned $10 an hour. And I was starting to feel like I was in training to write obituaries.

I got too busy at my "real" job to be able to spend hours interviewing and writing. Plus, I was planning a wedding. But the wedding is over and I have a little more time now.

I've just gotten too content to let someone else (an author, a blogger) tell me a story, instead of writing the story myself. It's relaxing, it's easy, it's fun. I haven't wanted to write; I've been perfectly happy letting others do the heavy lifting. I spend my spare time at work reading your stories, and I love it. Thank you all so much for entertaining me!

The only writing I do these days is on my blog, and I think we've all seen how reliant I've become on poorly-lit, blurry photographs to tell the story. There's very little writing there.

While I know I don't want to go back to the local paper, I know I need to do... something. Maybe explore a nice, juicy local history angle. I was working on one two years ago, but the trail ran cold and could only, maybe, be found with a trip to Los Angeles for a copy of an obituary. If the person in question even died in LA. And if the obituary gave surviving family information. And if I could find a surviving relative who knew the story. I have no intentions of flying to LA for a needle in a haystack, but I do think I need to incorporate some research and/or writing back into my life.

And since exercise and research take time, that means less time for knitting and spinning. It's kind of like the fiber arts are my personal Land of the Lotus Eaters. I've forgotten the things I used to do before I had a knit blog. I'd rather just spin and knit (or read about spinning and knitting).

Is that a bad thing?


Beth S. said...

There's an awful lot of I-need-a-change going around blogland at the moment. Sounds like you have a touch of it as well! Could be a normal spring thing, could be something more profound... wait and see, I guess?

mamacate said...

I don't know, but if it is, don't tell me, 'kay?

It's tough--I have a very limited amount of free time, and I constantly find myself deciding between my health and my happiness. It's not a good place to be. I'm trying to keep the rest of it in check so that I can have sleep, exercise, and wool and not lose my job. And I'm trying to choose sleep and exercise over wool a little more often.

And there is NO FREAKIN WAY that thin feels better than chocolate. Please. ;)

Carole said...

It's not bad but you do sound frustrated. You don't have to justify anything to me but if you're missing writing then maybe you do need to try something with it again. As for the local history angle, librarians are quite helpful with research. You need to find a sympathetic librarian in LA to help you!

maryse said...

i hope not because then i'm a big loser too ;) i don't want to do anything but read about playing with yarn, and play with yarn. but i spend 12 hours a day going to work working and coming home from work. i sleep 6 hours a day. that leaves me with 6 hours of living time. doing what makes me happy, spending time with those that make me happy. and just general maintenance -- shower, eating, etc. i struggle all of the time with what you're going through. i feel as if i should be accomplishing more. i should be in better shape, thinner, more successful, stretching my brain more. but all i want to do is play with yarn.

margene said...

Exercise is good for many of life's malaises. It's hard to get to the gym but it feels so good when you're done. That said I do struggle to not over eat chocolate, ice cream or latte' favorite foods. Small portions help and I don't feel that I'm denying myself.
Blogging about knitting and reading blogs about knitting is a life altering experience. It's some what addicting but/and very rewarding. Exploring your options will help you find what is right for you now. Good luck and don't stop searching.

julia fc said...

Two posts, one set of comments:
Fish Blanket is great! What fun. I should knit one instead of the mitered squares: it would be saner.
Yeah! New wheel. It IS the same as Juno's. if you need ips, that is.
And trilliums do best with very rich soil. Give it compost, shade, and then ignore it. I have a huge honking Jack in the pulpit where my c'heap used to be(almost 42 inches tall last year), and trilliums on a shaded shope where we dumped grass clippings for years. They wouldn't grow anywhere else.

Jackie said...

I don't know the answers, but I have a question - what makes the pursuit of knitting/spinning and honing your skills in this craft being complacent vs not so complacent when honing writing skills? Is there an inherent bias in our culture against crafts done with the hands than crafts that involve words? (Non-educated vs educated bias?)

Just thoughts. It's the struggle that's important, not the answers. :)

Laurie said...

I think that the writing focus can be in the blog, and about knitting. Many of us are feeling the same malaise. I can spin, currently, but can't knit. Recognize we are fighting our genetics on weight, and moving when we don't have to.

claudia said...

Soon, the sun will be out, the gentle breezes will blow, the trees and flowers will bud and leaf. Your bicycle will look more inviting then, and perhaps exercise won't be such a chore.

The sad truth (IMHO) is that fitness is more important, yet easier to lose, now than ever.


melanie said...

Um, does this mean I can't offer you chocolate and PBR when you come visit?

PS - I like jackie's question.