16 November 2012

Unemployed in exercise

Two funny comments people have made, hearing about this stage of my life:
"What is it like to be retired?"
"Will you get a lot more time for cycling now?"

Don't even get me started on the retirement question. Either people have a really outrageous idea of how much church workers make, or they think I'm a lot older than I am. (My gray hair notwithstanding.)

The second question at least has the prospect of reality in it. It does make sense that, having cast off the daily office routine and getting "weekends" in my life, I would find time for more cycling.

When asked about that on my way out the church door, I would say that my recent sabbatical demonstrated that being a full-time student is every bit as time-consuming as the job I had. However, I did manage to train for and run a marathon during that sabbatical, so maybe it was a reasonable question. Would I ride and/or run more, in this period of life?

And the answer it: "no." For reasons which are different and similar to my work life, and certainly because this is unfolding in the autumn months, I haven't been cycling at all and my running has pretty much wound down to nothing. Having a cold recently didn't help the running. And today, when I had planned all day to get in a short, 3 mile run, when it came down to it I couldn't bring myself to "suit up" for it, and treated myself to a power walk instead.

While out, I reflected on this. Nothing new here - I have to admit that the running, at least, and probably the obsession with cycling too, has been a form of compensation for a work life in which I was less challenged/engaged/empowered, or whatever. The exercise was one way to keep me pressing on in one arena - to push myself to accomplishments I could record and look back on with some pride.

Don't get me wrong. There is a lot of that satisfaction in the work I've done and hope to do again. This is just a slice of reflection here, not the whole picture.

Not to mention, that this kind of exercise is kind of essential for keeping my weight down. (Some readers know that I was . . . let us say, plump, until my senior year of college, and have fought weight issues since then.

Now I am busy with school, and when I do have time I feel I must give it to the details of home ownership. And then when we're both home, trying to be a good husband. So the running and cycling? If they're on the back burner, there's barely a flame under them. And the surprising thing is, that I'm OK with that. I'm just busy enough to keep my weight where it should be. (And I'm trying to eat according to my reduced exercise, too. That's the part I miss :~) And I'm more than engaged enough in creative and challenging studies to keep my mind otherwise occupied.

Having said that, this weekend I will bring my road bike into the basement, and put it on the trainer for the winter. Because, after all, this is my physical thing, and spring will return, and when it does I want to be ready for it.

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