The Gym of Life

I’d like to thank the YouTube channel Not Just Bikes for the title of this entry.

One of the best things about being in Europe was the ability to get anywhere I needed without having to use a car. Sure, sometimes you were still using the roads via buses, but for destinations that weren’t destinations, your feet could give you the world. Most shops were within walking distance, or a short stint with public transportation and a walk away. Wide sidewalks, shops on the main street, pubs in neighborhoods. All things that really can’t happen in the US due to zoning laws and the like.

I got way more exercise every day over there without trying, and it wasn’t just because I was going to visit tourist sights. A grocery store was basically at the end of the street, as were any small restaurants that I would need. Here, we have to drive everywhere to do anything, unless you live in a special mixed use district. The closest grocery store is three miles away, and I live in a pretty suburban dense area. The closest good gas station is over a mile away, which is where I might even approach being able to get the things I would at a bodega.

Today, I decided to use my world as my gym, by walking to that gas station. I could have driven five miles to my gym, and worked out, or I could walk about 2.5 miles round trip to get a couple of 20oz drinks (zero calorie, naturally). It wasn’t a hard walk, but almost all of it was inside a neighborhood. To get to the gas station, I had to cross a five lane road at a crosswalk that didn’t give me a signal. I didn’t particularly feel safe crossing even in the crosswalk, and of course I was the only one doing it. Everyone else was in their steel cages. Blessed with air conditioning, I assume. It was around 87F/30C, and high humidity. Civil engineering couldn’t really fix that, but it didn’t add to the experience.

I was back in just under an hour, and had my exercise done for the day. But I can’t see myself doing it tomorrow. Maybe once a week? I don’t need to spend money on overpriced chilled drinks on a daily basis just to not go the gym. I need more varied places, or places with varied reasons. Like a corner grocery store, something that isn’t too common around here.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to change for quite some time. I do think that a plan is forming to change where we live, but I don’t know what the end result will be, and if I’ll be happy with half-measures. I know the reasonable side of me understands that moving to the UK is a long shot at best, but I can’t help keeping it as a dream and working toward making it attainable. I do have to listen to reason though, and not view good as the enemy of perfect. Even small efforts to change my outlook should be embraced with a positive attitude and open mind.

I need a new gym of life, but I don’t know where or when it will be. And I have to be okay with that.

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