Why Jogging is Like Sex

You really want to do it. You know it’s good for you, on some level.

But you know, the first few times, it’s not all that fun, you’re not terribly sure what you’re doing. In fact, you’re not even all that sure that your body’s supposed to move that way. But those first few times you know that afterwards you feel pretty damn good – and sometimes during – and you know, afterwards, you want to do it again.

The more you do it, the easier it gets, the more you actually like it not only when you’re done, but while you’re doing it. You find yourself the right music, the right partner (hey – some people have jogging partners), figure out how to breathe properly, how to feel confident in your skin… you stop being so self-conscious, and it gets easier, and more fun, and you look forward to it.

I did just over three and a half miles today, which meant I was doing more walking than I would have liked at the halfway point, and I took the tunnel at a walk. I started to default to self-hate talk, and shut that off when I reminded myself of conversation I was having with a blogging buddy about level of difficulty in the tasks we set ourselves in our lives.

Jogging is hard for me. I spent the vast majority of my life reading and writing books, and though I enjoyed playing outside, I lived in the Pacific Northwest, and the weather was always for shit. I recognize that there are other people who spent their childhoods involved in sports, who carried that on into highschool. There are a lot of people whose families don’t have a propensity for obesity, who didn’t celebrate the binge-and-purge cycle, who don’t have propensities for alcoholism and depression. And I know that a lot of those sorts of people won’t have to fight as hard as I do for what seem to be such incredibly basic things: like jogging three and half miles, or staying at a reasonable weight, or not sitting down to table with a feeling like they’re going to war against themselves.

They won’t understand me and my battles. In fact, they’ll think my battles must be petty things, because obviously, they’ve wanted to eat more than their fill on occasion, and if they have the willpower, why can’t I? If they can get up at four thirty in the morning and go jogging, why can’t I?

The answer, of course, is that I can. It’s just that I’m going to have to work harder at it. It means I’ll have more low days. It means that some days, I’ll have to walk more. Some days, I’ll eat more than my fill. Some days, it will be harder. I’ll have to fight harder.

And one of the biggest things I have to come to grips with this year is that it’s OK that I have to fight harder. It’s OK that this isn’t easy.

I spent my whole life thinking that whatever it was I was supposed to be doing with my life should be easy. I should take the easiest path, take only those choices that fell in front of me, that passed through my life. I should not fight for anything that would be hard, difficult, complicated. In fact, I should not fight for anything at all. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. If not, it would slide through my fingers like sand.

Problem was, I didn’t realize that I did, in fact, have the option of closing my hand and holding onto that sand, instead of waiting around for the wind, the rain, the bitchy guy on my right, to come over and take it away from me.

Now I live my life a lot my feel, by making connections, by viewing all the paths open and moving toward the ones that feel right. And when it feels right, but doesn’t come easy, it doesn’t mean you’re doing the wrong thing. It just means that doing the right thing often means doing the hardest things. Sometimes the best things in life are the things you have to fight for.

Since I made that decision, nothing in my life has been easy. Pieces have fallen in place, dominoes have lined up, but I had to work my ass off to gather money, resources; sometimes flights didn’t line up, I’ve had to argue with people. I’ve had to send strongly worded letters. I’ve had to beg favors. I’ve had to accept those favors. I’ve done favors for others. I have worked crap hours at crap jobs so that I could make something bigger and brighter work. I have learned that being passive and accepting only what comes easily may be the simplest sort of life, the sort of life that others may want to live, a life that may bring them not only contentment, but happiness.

But that is not the life I want to live. And that’s not the person I want to be; someone who casually accepts whatever comes her way. Who passes off on whatever is the most difficult, no matter how much her heart says otherwise.

I want to be a fighter. That’s what I do. This is the life I want. I don’t expect it to be easy.

In fact, it can’t be easy. Ten percent of everybody’s life is luck. The rest is hard work, and persistence.

Anybody who tells you different is selling something.

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