I used to be very active–when I was a LOT younger: swimming, biking, going to theme parks and running all over the place, and just being a whole lot more active than I have been in recent years. I never saw my activities then as “working out.” I just did those things because that’s what we did and we had so much fun doing them. I loved being with friends and family and being active with them. When I was in my early teens, I did put on some extra weight, but I was never FAT. Being short, though, makes someone like me look big when we have any extra weight on us. But I was still able to run, jump, ride my bike, and keep up with the best of them when we’d go to theme parks or other places where we’d do a lot of walking.
Somewhere throughout the years, I have quit being active beyond walking from my house to my car, from my car to my office and vice versa. I even sit down down an awful lot while teaching. I’ve had health issues over the years that have attributed to my lack of activity, but recently, I have felt better than I did even when I was in my twenties. So I no longer have “health issues” as an excuse not to work out–not to be active. I just don’t want to.
I know I need to do something to be more active….and not just for my own health and well-being but also because my son is watching everything I do and determining much of his future based on what he sees me doing–or not, as the case may be. He is a bit chubbier than he should be at his age, but thankfully,he’s still active enough that he’s keeping the weight gain at bay. If not for myself, then at least for him, I need to work out–be active–so I can be an encouragement to him to continue to be active.
I bring this up in a blog about writing because it has occurred to me that as much as I hate working out, my students hate writing. From my point-of-view, it makes NO SENSE whatsoever that ANYONE would ever hate to write. I mean, it’s just so wonderful! There are many studies that have been done that discuss the importance of writing in our lives–how beneficial it is in so many ways, especially in regards to healing. As an instructor of literature, I live by the adage that you haven’t learned something, REALLY LEARNED something, until you’ve talked and written about it. I love writing about what I read!
I love writing about my daily life.
I love writing about my thoughts and feelings.
I love writing about the cute things my son says.
I love writing about my friends–who they are, how much I love them.
I love writing about my family–what is going on in their lives, how much I love and miss them every single day.
I love writing about the books I read.
I love writing about the movies I watch.
I love writing about writing!
I LOVE WRITING.
How in the world is there anyone who doesn’t?
But there is.
And the reality is that just as I wonder how there are those who hate to write, there is someone (many someones) out “there” who wonder how in the world there are people like me who hate to work out. They LOVE to work out. I spoke to a young man a few weeks ago who works out for a minimum of two hours every single day. When I asked him why he does it, his simple, surprised response was, “Because I love it.”
That’s when it struck me….here I spend one class after another telling students about the benefits of writing in every day of their lives, not just within the confines of my classroom. And I believe every word I say. Writing IS beneficial in a thousand ways for every single person.
But (I tell myself) so is working out–being active. Those who do work out–who are active on a daily basis–can give me just as many beneficial reasons for being active as I can give for writing. And, to my chagrin, they’re right–as I am.
So….here’s the epiphany: if I believe in the benefits of writing as much as I do (and trust me, I do) and I want my students to understand those benefits to the point that they write if not every day, then at least as often as possible, then doesn’t it behoove me to understand that the benefits of being active every day are just as important???? And if my students believe me enough to actually write–at least for my class, then shouldn’t I give being active the same chance in my own life?
Just because we don’t like doing something doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it. The same goes for so many other things in our lives that we don’t LOVE to do. When we KNOW it’s something that will benefit us–be good for us, then we should quit complaining and just do it.
Will I ever love to work out? Probably not. At least not the same way others love it. Will most of my students ever love to write? I doubt it. Many of them do learn to appreciate its value, at least. I can learn then to appreciate the value, the importance, of being active on a daily basis.
So in honor of my student who said that he “loves working out” as much as I love writing, I’m going to give working out my best shot. He gave writing his best shot while he was in my class….can I do any less when it comes to working out?