I went to the gym today for the first time since my parents died. I had been dreading going back, but I knew at some point I would have to. I’d spent so much time looking after them the past few years that I had let my own fitness slide more than it should have. Of course, mom passed away 2 1/2 months ago, but school and the related routine provided just enough of an excuse for me to keep staying away. Besides the obvious health benefits, I also have some other incentives to get in better shape. My USTA tennis rating recently moved down from a 4.5 (think moderately-skilled teaching pros and former small-college players) to a 4.0 (think glorified hackers with a few ringers thrown in), so I’ll have a chance to be more competitive. Since that news I’d started practicing harder, a couple of times a week plus a North Shore League match most weekends, and I’ve gradually started to feel my endurance come back and my waistline shrink ever so slightly. Still, I need to up the off-court stuff too, so today I just went through 8-9 machines on light settings to get back into the routine, then did some cardio. This should be an interesting year tennis-wise and I want to maximize my potential (such as it is at 43) if I can. There’s also another, more distant goal. Someday (and I don’t mean “someday someday” but “someday within the next 5-10 years”) I want to hike the Appalachian Trail. Yes, the whole thing. I know it’s crazy, because at this point I’m only a day hiker who can’t even start a fire without clicking one of those gadgets with the long handles! But I’ve had a lot of crazy and not all that positive stuff happen in the past few years, and the idea of getting away from everything for six months and worrying about nothing beyond putting one foot in front of the other appeals to me in a way that I can’t fully explain. It isn’t something I can do right away for a variety of reasons, but it’s out there. I’d call it my white whale, but given how that ended up for Ahab, it might not be a particularly good omen.
Anyway, my goal is to write for 15-30 minutes at a time on here about my goals and the steps I’m taking to achieve them, and sometimes just about life in general. I took a little longer today because it’s something new to me, which meant in practice that I was reduced to staring at a blank screen for entirely too long. Eventually I just decided to start writing and hope for the best. They say the longest journey begins with a single step, and that’s what I took today.