I remember reading somewhere that for exercise to be fairly effective you just have to do it the majority of the days of the week. Four out of seven is fine. Three isn’t quite enough — it’s like a see-saw. If one side has more weight than the other, even slightly, it goes all the way down. Keep it at four and your body’s metabolism will stay relatively high — it’s actually easier in some ways to exercise using this “mostly on” pattern because your body knows that on any given day it will be asked to perform, so it kind of keeps the pumps primed.
My therapist wants me to journal and here I am on Thursday with an appointment at 2PM but I only had 3 entries for the past seven days and I realized that hey if I get it done right now I can say I did 4 and this is the majority of the week. I asked once what qualifies as an entry — I was half joking and said something like well if I write three sentences about how I don’t want to journal, can I call that my entry for the day and he looked at me like a teacher getting ready to scold a bad student and deadpanned, no you can not. He said about seven hundred words is the minimum. Which was interesting because I remember reading a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron — yes she was married to the director James Cameron for a while — and Julia recommended doing this exercise called the morning pages wherein you, as an artist, write for about seven hundred and fifty words every morning to just dump out your thoughts and feelings and dreams — your bitching and your excuses — your goals for the day, the shit you wanted to do the day before but didn’t get to — all of this stuff that you can’t really discuss with other people because it’s your head-chatter and if you give too much of this stream-of-consciousness blather to someone else in your life they will eventually learn to block out the inanity. Anyway the point is that a journal entry is supposed to be about seven hundred words but could be longer if you feel like it. It’s probably supposed to be that length because sometimes it takes a while to get into the flow of it… sometimes you have to sit for a while before you realize what it is that might be helpful to think or talk about.
Today I wanted to talk about how much I simultaneously love and hate days where it seems like the entirety of it is planned out. Yes, I know I write about this a fair amount in my journal and it’s likely boring to read about but it feels like it can’t be helped — my life runs on routines and patterns and consistent obligations and as a result I think about the structure of it from time to time. This is a day where I’m booked — there are just about no gaps until after dinner, and I will feel like I’m being dragged through my day like an outlaw tied to a horse in an old western movie. Right after this entry I have to leave the house to go and do physical therapy for my knee which is still causing me trouble, clicking and crunching with any and all steps, subluxing with lateral movements. That will run me through 11. Then I’ll get home and try to do <thing> for a co-worker that he wants done before noon. Then I’ll eat lunch and shower and then I have a 1PM meeting with a bunch of fuckheads at work that I don’t like much, a guy named Leo C who retired a few years ago but couldn’t stay away from working so he returned in a consulting role to manage special projects will be running that meeting – I still can’t believe that he retired and came back to Information Technology work because he was too bored at home (he couldn’t imagine anything more interesting to do than this with his time??) and then I remember how difficult it is to lead a life without purpose and I wonder if he hates his wife and they got on each others’ nerves at home and it starts to make sense to me why he unretired and came back to work – anyway he’s an intolerable cockbag full of ego and false authority — the meeting is about some Saturday work that I don’t want to do that’s scheduled for March and I find that I wish I could just avoid this whole thing. After that I have therapy from 2 to 3 and then I have some meeting about Disaster Recovery efforts and then I have to stand up some single sign on infrastructure on some servers and I’ll spend the rest of the day configuring that. By then it’ll be close to 5:30 and time to think about dinner – my wife will be getting home from work, yes she went to work today, her covid test appeared to be “almost negative” – the indicator line was light – she says she feels fine – I know she isn’t fine because she was coughing and still looks tired and I suspect she’s just getting bored being at home because it’s been almost two straight weeks of being home and I suspect she is basically, like Leo C, just sick of being home, wants to interact with people, wants to feel like what she’s doing means something, so she’s going to head into the library where she works to give it the ‘ol college try.
After dinner I will want to do something productive – for myself – but I won’t – Jennie will want to talk about her day and then she’ll assume we’re going to watch a show on the couch together and before I know it there will be a Mystery Science Theater 3K episode on the TV, maybe something we’ve already seen five times like Mitchell, and she’ll look at her phone and occasionally show me super cute pictures of puppies, and I’ll look at my phone and read about the financial markets and what new video games are coming out this year and I’ll be happy and warm and pleasantly distracted but also, inside, part of me will be wishing I was doing something hobby-ish instead and another part will wish I could shut that stupid urge off and just be happy on the couch with my wife and this will continue until ten or so when we start going through evening routines so that we can get ready to repeat, approximately, this pattern of things again on any number of days in the future.
And I worry, at points, that I will eventually become a Leo C — someone who lives this way, approximately, for another two decades before retiring and then not knowing what the hell to do with my free time — someone who has become so accustomed to routine and obligation that I can’t imagine a life any other way, and I’m trapped in my little OCD world of work work work “must be productive” type thoughts, unable to affect any serious change in my life even though I suddenly have oodles of time, a blighted and blind and miserable mess.
Over 1000 words, done, have to head to PT and begin the rope-drag of a day.