My days begin around 4:30am with 15 deep breaths before I launch from bed. This is my time to focus, recover from the jarring wail of the alarm and figure out once again where my toes are prior to launching myself into yet another port of call on the Good Ship Vegas. I pet a random cat (generally, which ever one has cried a kitty “timber!” and tipped over in front of me in the kitchen), fill the food dishes, feed Peter’s (also a cat) ice-cube-in-the-water-dish-addiction, grab my things and head for the door all the while apologizing for being a bad mother.
I am off, once again, to the gym.
The gym — where we sweat, scope-out, lift shit that’s too heavy because the hot chick in the red shorts with “P-I-N-K” emblazoned across the ass is looking in our general direction, and strive to accomplish our personal — or society’s — version of physical perfection. For the low, low cost of twenty-something bucks a month (unless you belong to that Agassi Sport 24 Hour Fitness over in Summerlin), we can traipse around as long as we like in the drippings of other people’s sweat and behold spandex-clad Las Vegas life in the petri dish known as the gym.
I have a love-hate relationship with the gym. While I adore having the digital readout of calories expended as a second-by-second reminder that I’m awake at this ungodly hour for a reason, there are some things at the gym I hate:
* Band-Aids left on the shower floor (I have one word for this: ew);
* “Sticky” substances left on the handrails of cardio machines;
* People who use their cell phones while in the gym.
The third item is of particular import to me, as just this morning, I had my iPod-accompanied 5AM cardio splendor pre-empted by a blaring broadcast from the machine next to mine. There I was, twenty-seven minutes into my sixty minute stroll on the elliptical trainer highway, and I hear…
A turn to my right revealed a pink-clad, over-highlighted blonde land whale, jabbering through what could only be a life or death matter via her hot pink RAZR in the shrillest of voices. It was also possible that the sound I heard was her breaking the sound barrier with her speed on the machine, all the while muffin-topping over the waistband of her white terrycloth capris. She was also wearing lipstick.
My God, how does she speak while pedaling so fast?
Once over my initial amazement with her multitasking capabilities and having accepted that Gwen Stefani would not be able to out-wail the pink nightmare next to me, I came to the subject I’ll address in this installment of Redheaded Fury:
We seem to spend our lives in search of the temporary paths of greater resistance, as urban legend would have it that they bring to us those future paths of least resistance. Work hard now so you don’t have to in the future: build your client list, business, house, family, savings, and/or shoe collection in the hopes that one day, the fruits of your labor will bear the relaxed life that entitlement has told us we deserve (and a great pair of strappy Charles David sandals to wear to the inevitable party). We spend more time in the gym so that we might set about on a path of maintenance. We spend years dating (OK, well, maybe that’s just me) in order to find the perfect mate so that we can continue quietly along the Path of the Married and get that extra deduction on our taxes. Our lives are spent in dogged pursuit of that which we don’t have, so we can get what we want, and then celebrate the day we achieve “it.”
Currently, I seem to have left “it” in my other purse when I switched to my black Hobo bag to go with today’s outfit. However, I would contend that we’re all much like the Pink Nightmare on the machine to my right, and desperately missing the point.
There are those who float through life with no resistance whatsoever. Catered to, coddled, cuddled, currency-laden, and quite simply worry-free. The big decision in the morning is whether to go to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte or hit the Bean & Leaf for a nonfat, no sugar added iced vanilla blended. (hmmmmmmmmmmmm….) Should I take the Benz or the Boxster, and if I hit the Bean & Leaf, will I have to skip my Pilates class at 11:00 AM since I get kinda (ahem) gassy from something in the blended drinks? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
As well, there are those who feel that nothing in life is free, and if you didn’t work for it and do it yourself that one’s destined to burn in eternal damnation (similar to those who hire contractors to install flooring in the kitchen instead of doing it themselves…bastards). They while away the hours working longer, harder, more…and it’s likely we all had at least one parent like this. You know, the parent who actually made you work for your allowance instead of just giving it to you at 5pm each Friday when they got home from work … they’re the folks who never see their families, travel constantly for business, have last-minute meetings, know very important people, and always seem to have a networking breakfast, business lunch, client cocktails, charity dinner, and the Crackberry going the whole time.
What about (please sit down for this one…I’m feeling profound) finding a balance in this world that seems to provide as much or as little resistance as we can order off of life’s menu?
There’s a reason that I will argue that the Pink Nightmare is missing this delicate balance. Ms. Pink can pedal away at 300 miles per hour with no resistance on her machine for an hour and end up burning fewer calories than I do going at a slower pace with greater resistance. All too often, we’re sucked into the belief that if you work more/harder for something that it has a higher value that that which comes with less effort. It’s this balance between resistance and intent that I feel eludes us.
I mean, why can’t we sit back and look at this society we live in and realize that we live in a world that caters to our natural desire to reach a path of lesser resistance? I can hire a pool guy and a maid and have my groceries delivered, fat suctioned from my thighs, breasts implanted, tans airbrushed, my house painted, oil changed, vacation pre-packaged, job candidates pre-screened, letters spell-checked, pets groomed, pizza delivered, toenails painted, and shop for a date and bank online.
Why is it so bloody hard then to achieve that delicate balance between resistance and intent?
Why can we not set about our daily tasks with our true intent in mind and make like water and flow down the path of least resistance?
Why are we always trying to reinvent the wheel instead of examining how it already spins and what road it can put us on to reach our goals?
Resistance: changing my outfit 34 times because I refuse to not wear the pair of strappy silver sandals I just bought and am having the damnedest time finding something they go with in my closet since it’s a business dinner and I can’t look like barfly.
Balancing With Intent: realizing I’m going to a business dinner and choosing to wear the simple “little black ensemble” along with the predictable (yet functional and sexy) Nine West quilted leather peekaboo toe pumps.
Now, along with the fact that it’s obvious I’m going to be late for dinner because I’m stuck in Strappy Silver Sandal Land and the Lifeboat of Intent hasn’t shown up on my shores to yet rescue me, I think that I—and many others—would be much better served by asking each morning:
What is it I intend to accomplish today?
And then make decisions based on the answer to that question.
Just think for a moment … when is the last time you consciously told yourself:
“I think that today, I’ll …”
… continue to stay in this emotionally abusive relationship so that I can continue on this path of low self-esteem and continually negated self-worth.”
… keep dating people who aren’t giving me what I need emotionally but look really hot because I’m more concerned about what others think about my date than my romantic happiness.”
… cut someone off on the freeway in order to elicit the oh-so-desirable Single Bird Salute, because that really makes my day when I can ruin someone else’s!”
… make sure that I’ll continue my frivolous spending habits so that I never have any money saved and will always worry about how I’ll pay the bills this month.”
… overeat yet again and assure myself that the money I spend for my gym membership goes to complete waste and I can continue to bitch and moan about how I’ve gained so much weight.”
… work late again so I can deliberately miss my son’s soccer game, because I have no interest in seeing the smile on his face as he kicks his first goal.”
What I feel we miss is the ownership of our intentions, and that how we handle our intentions has a direct correlation to the level of resistance in our lives. We all have our Pink Nightmare moments, where we’re speeding away at a million miles an hour seemingly in pursuit of our goals, yet the quality level of the work we’re putting out there isn’t going to get us there any faster. Water doesn’t flow uphill, and if you ask me, the “salmon moments” in my life where I choose to fight the current are more of a hindrance than help when it comes to reaching my preferred destination. Am I advocating that we blindly follow the flow and become the cliff-diving sheep of legend? Certainly not.
(However, there would be a disturbing satisfaction in hearing the final, bleating end of the Pink Nightmare’s broadcast as she and her magenta RAZR plummet into a chasm…)
It’s knowing when in life to kick-up the resistance and why we’re choosing to do so. It’s learning, I think, to acknowledge openly our intent and balancing it with our exertion. If we actively choose to make the work we do meaningful and not idle — if we undertake and trudge through the appropriate level of resistance for the appropriate goal — just think of how much time will remain for the things we find to be truly important.
I can’t slap the Pink Nightmare and tell her she’s doing 80 MPH in a 45 MPH zone and there are children at play and what the hell is she thinking? She has to own that decision herself, in her own time. Since we’re always our own worst enemy, why don’t we start trying to acknowledge intent and getting done what it is we need to and mean to get done each day when we rise?
With any luck, the Pink Nightmare might be reading this and she’ll begin a thought process that leads her to a path of slower pace and greater resistance in order to reach her goals most efficiently.
I think it’s more likely she’ll want to key my car. In which case, I drive a blue Toyota Sienna minivan and work-out at the Las Vegas Athletic Club in Henderson.
(my apologies in advance to the owner of the blue Toyota Sienna minivan)