#8 GOING THE DISTANCE
Roryd sez: The point of all this effort is to go life's full distance; to live, to paraphrase Thoreau, deliberately -- to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I can learn what it has to teach, and not, when I come to die, regret that I have not lived. My greatest fear is to look back and say, "I regret that I have not lived." To my mind, this is the great sin.
Someone asked me if I loved exercise. I said, "Yes! But I don't love every minute of exercise." I especially don't love all the preparation required to get out the door. I usually don't love the first twenty minutes or so when I am cold and stiff and lethargic. I don't love being surrounded by the chaos and noise of a busy gym. I don't love all exercises the same. For instance, as a rule I don't love running on a treadmill as much as I enjoy cycling through the countryside. I don't like reverse crunches as much as I like bench presses.
But I get out the door anyway, knowing that even when I make it through the first twenty minutes of grumbling I might find another twenty minutes of boredom and repetition. However, if I'm lucky, after about 20 or so minutes the real action begins. I loosen up, pick up my pace, and derive the multiple benefits of warm oxygen, movement, hormones, deliverance and sweat. As hard as it was getting there, I join the ranks of the self-determined rather than the couches of the sedentary place markers. I enter a little self-made paradise and become winged.
Summary: It's often difficult to get out of my chair and get moving. I have a variety of interests and a million good excuses, but I do it anyway (averaging 10.5 hours of exercise a week). And I'm going to keep doing it until old age finally catches up with me and I run out of gas.
I am an athlete, and when I come to die there are a handful of things I will be able to say: I have loved and been loved; I paid attention to my children's education; I got some exercise; I didn't resign; I didn't give up; I have gone my life's full distance; I have been the luckiest man alive.