In the first line of my first column, I said it’s hard to be skinny. You know what I’ve learned over the last few weeks? It’s hard to want be in shape, too.
Let’s be honest here. My training regimen is more of a schedule of games that involve me moving around at slightly above-average speeds. This worries me, because if I can’t even get myself up to play soccer at 10 a.m. twice a week — I haven’t gone in three classes — how am I going to keep active when my 9 to 5 prevents my afternoon tanning sessions? I don’t think most people have free Division I-level coaches at their disposal, do they?
I’m a champion at following directions. If someone tells me what to do and how to do it, I can handle it. Still, I’m never the one pushing myself to do work. From these classes, I don’t just want to learn how to play tennis or soccer or volleyball, I want to learn how to employ the one concept that those college coaches know better than anyone else: motivation.
It’s not that simple, though. Sometimes I worry motivation isn’t something that can be taught, but is one of those things one either has or doesn’t have. Or maybe it’s like a muscle and you have to work it out until it gets strong. I maintain hope that it’s the latter, but that voice in my head isn’t very loud yet, and I think I know a few of the reasons why.
The first one is easy: drugs and alcohol. Weed has a tricky habit of taking your brain the fuck over. If I’m not out on the playing field, there’s a good chance I’m in the living room taking bong rips. Combined with the standard weekend drinking binge, they create life’s mute button for that voice in my head that keeps my shit together. And when my shit isn’t together, exercise is impossible. Hell, even when my shit is together it’s a bitch to get out there. Luckily for me, I think (read: hope to God) that the ganj intake will take a slight dip when I graduate this year.
Another is vanity. Let’s face it, I look good. Okay, maybe not “good” with italics, but good enough. I tell people that I’m exercising to get back in shape for my own personal well-being, and that’s true. But a big part of it is that I strive to be attractive. Since I’m naturally lanky without effort, I really don’t need to be exercising all the time to maintain my “figure,” so to speak. Until the D-I coach in my head gets a solid hold on me, if I don’t absolutely need to be doing something that’s hard, then I’m not going to be doing it. I would love to say my vanity will go away with the other college-y stuff, but that would probably turn out to be a lie.
A third explanation is that the word “motivated” is simply not part of my personality. This one scares me the most, because that shit goes into mental well-being or something. Let’s not go down that path just yet. In terms of exercise, a lack of motivation means a destiny of dwindling health. My dad — who’s a good way to predict my future for better or worse — was a pretty chubby fellow a few years back. Jolly, even. Then, after his “Zen Awakening” or some bullshit, he turned into an avid road cyclist. He could almost definitely kick my ass. His story provides me some amount of comfort. All I have to do is rely on having an epiphany. Easy.
I realize that narrowing down the reasons for my lack of motivation is a job for a trained psychologist and not for an unmotivated college student. But I think I’ve tapped into something here, and it’s worthwhile to actually sit down and think about the reasons for any kind of self-improvement you’re aiming for. Look closely at everything you can think of and, honestly, be honest.
Despite missing an ESS class here and there, I am confident that I’ve already achieved some of my goals. I’ve looked at where I was and where I wanted to be, and started moving in that direction. I’m still young, and, like Neo in The Matrix (editor’s note: first, but not last reference to those movies in this column), believe strongly in free will. The inner-voice thing is hard, but right now my goal is to use the Kathy Gregories of this world as an example, and do all I can to turn the voice into my own personal Legend of the Dome.