Becoming Richard Simmons

Anyone reading this blog would think I am chronicling a fitness and wellness journey. And they would be right and wrong at the same time.

I chose to be fit because I found that the alternative simply wouldn’t do. A team-up of genetics and questionable decisions over the past forty five years or so backed me into a corner where I had two choices – I could not do anything and end up growing old, feeling miserable all the time, complaining about everything, being nothing but a bother to my family, chomping pills from a dresser that looked like a candystore of medicine bottles or I could make a change. And it turns out, change is good and I feel good and when I feel good, I like to share.

The other truth is I love to write. I really do. And being at a loss for words to describe how good it feels to write is kind of ironic, but I will try.

I built a workout spreadsheet that tells me what I am doing over the next twelve weeks and how to gradually increase my weight and the reps. I built a nutrition spreadsheet that helps me track my calories, carbs and fats. I track my mood and my sleep. I do that so when I go to the gym, and I push myself, and I feel that ‘burn’, I know it is contributing to all of those things I am tracking and while I may not see it right away in my body, I know I am doing just a little bit more each day. I get a great deal of satisfaction from that. Mostly because, I never thought the day would come when this kind of thing would be important to me.

Mell and I joked over texts the other day, and I made an offhand comment about where I’m going with all this.

“Who am I now?” I texted. “My God, am I the Canadian Richard Simmons? Am I going to make DVDs of dancing to the oldies, but now, because I’m Canadian, it’ll be dancing to Glass Tiger, Honeymoon Suite, and Gordon Lightfoot?”

“You could,” Mell answered. “Elena could produce and edit them for you.”

That’s my wife. Always supportive. I then lamented about her not needing to question her life’s choices after seeing me prance around in glossy gym shorts, clapping away to “50 Mission Cap” while a parade of overweight men and women in gym clothes and a variety of different toques exercised at varying degrees of intensity, while I cheered everyone in an unnaturally high voice.

That’s an entertaining vision, but that’s not why I go on about this. It’s because if I can do this, I can do anything. Even write a novel.

Oh, I’ve written short stories. I am very proud of a recent rejection. I have attempted a couple of NaNoWriMos (formally and informally). And once, I finished a first draft of a 40K word novella that never went anywhere. It always fizzles out. I didn’t stop writing, mind you. But more to pass the time and blow off steam. In the back of my mind, I felt convinced I couldn’t do it. The same way I felt convinced I was doomed to be a victim of my genetics and heritage.

I changed that. Maybe I can change other things, too. So, in the meantime, I blog 500 words a day for the next few months, strengthening my writing muscles and enjoying the feel of that burn. Come January 18th, 2019 – whether I am ready for it or not – I will start a novel that I will stop writing on January 18th, 2020. I’ll be 48.



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