Four Play

4 straight days of going to the gym! Easily my personal best! A sad best but a best!


Upon arriving at the small gym here at the apartment complex, I encountered a small problem. There was another resident in there lifting weights. Ordinarily, this doesn’t seem like a big deal but the way he had rearranged the weight bench had placed it directly next to the treadmill. I was going to have to run in front of another person!


This speaks to a larger problem that this entire new lifestyle of working out and eating healthy that I’m also trying to work on: Insecurity. For many years, I’ve been insecure. About my body but also a general sense of worrying about how people see me. For a long time it’s been easy to simply ignore the problem rather than work on it and try to find ways to improve my own thoughts on myself. When I started going back to school in my 30s I got to encounter some of this head on. As a much older student, “non-traditionally aged” as Oregon State put it, I worried about how I’d fit into the class and the campus.


My first day on campus, which should have been a blast, was filled with a lot of dread. I hadn’t been inside a classroom in over a decade and there were still doubts about whether I could even handle sitting in a classroom anymore. After one class, I started to calm down. Most of the students were so busy on their phones that they had little time to notice anyone else in the classroom, let alone a student who was a decade plus older than they were. After one term, I felt much more at home on the campus. Oregon State University, both the university and the student body, accepted me with no hesitation. I wound up being more popular at OSU than at any other level of school I had ever attended. It was a bit odd at first to suddenly have friends but I found that when I calmed down, relaxed and was just myself that classmates opened up to me.


Is this the case elsewhere? Can I walk in anywhere, be myself and walk out with tons of friends? People at the gym have never given off that vibe. But it’s thoughts like this that keep me from being completely secure in my surroundings. I can’t think of the last time I was comfortable taking my shirt off in public. I can eventually do it if I’m at a big hotel pool like in Las Vegas because there’s enough people around that it never feels like I’m being singled out. But I see people walking around campus shirtless all the time wondering what it must be like to have that kind of freedom of security and freedom of worry over what people are thinking. I know it’s stupid to worry about what other people think about you. I try to only worry about what I have control over and sometimes it feels like since I have control over how my body looks that this is something I should worry about even if 99.9% of the people don’t care or aren’t looking at me.


Running on a treadmill and eating better are big parts of this process but coming to terms with myself and making all facets of my life better is part of a larger goal. I might not end this journey with abs but I’d like to arrive at the end with more happiness and more positivity about myself and within myself.


TIMES*  Note: This whole setup is a time travel situation. I’m posting each day but still somehow several days behind in terms of where my workouts have been.


I’m gaining speed each time but trying not to overdo it. This is why tightropes are difficult to walk on.


SONG OF THE DAY: “The Four Horsemen” by Metallica

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