Everyone has a voice and we are encouraged to use it.

There are 1.7 billion (1,700,000,000) websites out there.

There are over 600 million blogs in the world. More than 600,000,000.

In the US alone, over 31 million (31,000,000) bloggers post at least once a month.

There are about 2.8 billion (2,800,000,000) Facebook accounts and 1 billion (1,000,000,000) Instagram accounts.

There are over 330 million (330,000,000) active users on Twitter.

There are over 430 million (430,000,000) reddit users with more than 2.5 million (2,500,000) subreddits to choose from and more than 130,000 active communities.

There are 31 million (31,000,000) You Tube channels. There are 30 million (30,000,000) viewers each day and 1 billion (1,000,000,000) each month. There are 1 billion (1,000,000,000) videos viewed each day. There are 500 hours of content uploaded to You Tube each minute. Only Google has more visitors each year.

I’ve written out the large numbers because when you see the word, the actual numbers seem less awe inspiring. But with the digits in their full expansion, it is absolutely astounding to see the numbers themselves.

These are only some of the more popular social media outlets and there are many, many more. Some are particularly suited to certain niches and have their own communities and advocates.

It would seem we have a lot to say. But not everything being said is of the same worth. There are more and more conspiracy theories out there getting wider and wider attention. Because of algorithms constantly curating the things we see, like minded people can lean into the thoughts that their very small community is much larger and more widespread than is actually the case.

The veracity of what is being said is always questionable. Even this is questionable. I did look up all the numbers, but I assumed the numbers I found were legitimate. I didn’t keep looking to make sure that each number was verified and I have no idea how to go about checking that my data is absolutely perfectly up to date.

So we speak or type or share or communicate. A lot. But who is listening? Who is reading this or anything else I or anyone else is writing? Who is looking to our brilliant missives for advice, inspiration, or even condemnation? How many hits or likes or looks or even glances do our writings get?

We are getting a feeling of significance as we hit post, publish, or enter. But what, really, is the purpose of all this jabbering? Who are we all writing for or to? Is it all just self serving? Do we actually make a difference with our words? How much influence does one need to become an influencer? And how important is it really, to apply one’s eye makeup perfectly?

Image is from: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-50-most-visited-websites-in-the-world/

Sure you do that. It’s easy for you.

No, it isn’t.

I have watched people at the gym come in and not know what was going on because CrossFit is really hard. And it didn’t take them very long to zoom right past me, the old woman who struggles with everything gym.

I watched as my amazing compatriots did many amazing things. All the things that I cannot do. Pull-ups, squat snatches, running great distances, lifting really heavy weights. I would tell myself that it was easy for them, but as I really watched, I knew it wasn’t. They were struggling to do the things just like I was. They did more of the things, but they, too, had limits.

I’ve been told I’m “naturally thin” and I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean. Babies are all born at pretty much the same weight (if full term) there is a ballpark figure there and we all start out pretty much at the same place.

I’ve struggled with this pre-diabetic diagnosis now for a couple years. I’m pretty good at limiting my carbs and trying to get proper nutrients. But I struggle. While it isn’t a constant struggle, it is a daily decision made choice after choice. My weekly trip to the grocery store no longer leaves me in tears, but it does leave me bereft. I WANT the food I love, but I want my toes to stay attached even more. So, I leave the delicious junk I used to love to eat at the store.

I’ve joined an online book club. I’m struggling. I have always eaten potato chips (out of the bag) while I read. I would curl up on one end of the couch with a bag of chips and a book and be content. I’m having such difficulty reading without eating the chips. Nothing else will work as a substitute. I know. I’ve tried.

As we look around us and see people muddling through their lives as best as they can, we assume it is the life they really want and it is going swimmingly. Things are easy over there. They are just breezing through and enjoying the world.

They aren’t.

They, too, are struggling. Maybe they don’t struggle with the same things you do, but they have their own issues and concerns and stones around their necks. No one, not even the most glamorous Instagram influencer or You Tube sensation is living the perfect life. There is no such thing as a perfect life. All we can do is choose to make one small step towards improving the morass we live in.

Facebook makes us think that everyone else is having the time of their life, when in fact, they have the same shitshow of a life that we do. Some days things work out and some days they don’t because that’s the way it works. The perfect meal photo or the hiking picture was curated. They had Kraft mac and cheese with hot dogs yesterday and it’s the first time out of the house in six weeks.

Life isn’t easy. But it remains popular. Make the hard choice today for a better tomorrow. The habits we create make the hard choices easier, but they always remain a struggle. I’m better at the gym today than I was eight years ago, but I’m still no ball of fire out there. I’m doing the best I can, and it is hard. And I really wanted to buy that pineapple. But, I like my toes. And the roof of my mouth.

As an aside and just to prove that nothing is easy, I would add some Tags but WordPress has forced me to update to a new and improved version that makes it impossible for me to find the damn things. I hate when they add all manner of shit I don’t want or need and take away the one thing that really mattered to me. I’m sure it’s in here somewhere, but after twenty minutes of searching, I give up. See? It’s not easy at all.

I have been doing a little experiment. I have not been using social media since the middle of September. Here is what I found.

I have a lot more free time. I’m retired and don’t really need a lot more free time, but I have had it in abundance. I have read more books and learned more things. I have made more baby blankets. I have not spent that time cleaning my house because I’m not that bored and looking for something to do.

I have missed seeing my great nieces and great nephews and even my not great nieces and nephews online. I have missed seeing the pictures of the kids and stories of the babies. I have missed seeing things about my own kids and grandkids. We, or at least my family, seems to have grown accustomed to the use of social media for updates and contacts.

I have missed the horrific diatribes from the political posts. This has been such a blessing. I doubt that one person anywhere has changed their political beliefs because of something they saw on Facebook. The kind and gentle friends who post horrible, malicious things about their political enemy has been vicious and nauseating. I know I can hide the most egregious of the lot and I have done so in the past. It is so startling when they come back just as acrimonious as before even though after hundreds if not thousands of posts, things remain politically the same.

I’m not sure if it has been an overall win or loss. I know it has been different. Facebook seems to change their algorithm with wild abandon and with each change I see fewer and fewer posts and less and less from the people I actually know and love or at least virtually know and love and more and more of the money generating crap. I know they need more money because Zuckerberg can’t possibly exist on the peanuts he has now. But I really would like to see the things my friends are posting instead of the 5,325 ad for MUSC a hospital I have never visited and is farther away from me than several others.

I miss the connectedness even though it is as best tenuous. I miss seeing the stuff my old neighbors are doing. I’m friends on Facebook with people from half a century ago, people I would be totally out of contact with were it not for that platform. It isn’t all evil. It is a time sink that doesn’t really pay off in dividends.

Perhaps what I need to do is give myself a time limit and allow myself to catch up on what my real and virtual friends are doing. I know I need to find out what my family is doing. I’ve heard that I’ve missed some truly unimportant and yet very family type things. Such as this: Owen doesn’t like socks. He is perhaps two months old now and doesn’t like socks. This is genetic since his dad doesn’t like socks, either. These are the stories that bind families together and these are things that make the thousands of ads worth it.

I know I get lost in scrolling, so I will need to set a timer to give myself a limit to my swiping. But I miss seeing what is going on outside my limited view in this limiting pandemic. I don’t really need to isolate more than I have been.

But honestly, not seeing the political rants and hate speech has been so lovely. I know which of you are fans and which of you are not fans of the sitting President. It has been made abundantly clear to all what your feelings are. It is unpleasant to see hate speech in any form. I may be forced to snooze a bunch of people when I go back.

But I’m going back. I miss seeing pictures of the babies. I miss wishing my friends a happy day for their birthdays and anniversaries. I miss seeing my gym buddies succeed at this and that. I miss the people I have come to think of as friends, not the Facebook kind, but the heart kind.

I hope I don’t fall down the rabbit hole and waste hours scrolling. I have been made aware of something called The Fussy Librarian. I get a daily email with links to free ebooks from Kindle (there are some for other providers as well) and have been getting a load of new, interesting books to read. So I have a lot do other than scroll past the ads and the vitriol.

I hope, too, that this is the right choice. Of course, I can always take a break again if I find a need to do so.

For almost eight years, my life has been circling around my CrossFit experience. I would get up early, work around class times, make sure I got my WOD done and then carry on with the rest of my day.

And then Covid-19 struck. The gym remained open and we washed down everything before and after a workout and then, bam, the gym was closed.

I started working out in the garage using the equipment I had here. I did my best with what I had and continued to add to my limited supply as time went on. I have more equipment now, but I still don’t have everything I would like to have.

The gym reopened with small class sizes (although not at the time I ever went). The idea of getting into a small room, even though while the gym was closed, the room we used was swapped out and we got a larger room to use, breathing on everyone and everyone panting and breathing on me was terrifying.

I’m not the normal CrossFitter anyway. I’m old. And frail. My pancreas isn’t quite up to par and my heart doesn’t play well with others. All I need is to lose my lung capacity, too. I’m in the category that is supposed to be at high risk for Covid-19 and my underlying health issues don’t make that any better.

When the gym opened, I realized I simply could not go back under these conditions. I put my membership on hold because that was all I could do over the phone. To cancel, you had to come in and sign papers. I don’t know what happens if you die and can’t come in and sign papers and I didn’t ask.

Many years ago, I bought a set of very small weights so I could add just a pound or two when going for a max effort. Sometimes, upping the weight by very small increments allowed me to get to the next “real” weight and even if it didn’t, I could do that extra pound or two. I left them at the gym because they are pain in the ass to carry and I don’t mind sharing. But I did want my weights back.

So today, I texted Coach and asked if he knew where the weights were and how I could manage to get them back. He was going to be at the gym by himself later and I could come by and pick up the weights.

I did. I got to make sure that he knew it wasn’t him and it wasn’t the gym and it wasn’t anything other than my own fear of losing yet another major bodily system. Dying would be unpleasant, but so would having my lungs join in the ever growing list of body parts that do not function up to par. I really do miss my people. I would love to be able to go back in time and just keep doing what I had been doing.

That’s not an option. While I was there, I completely cancelled my gym membership. It is sad. It is necessary.

On the plus side, my son is a personal trainer and does this long distance, not just for me but for anyone who would like to buy his experience and knowledge base. After coaching for maybe 15 years or so, he really does know how to program and how to individualize workouts. I have been doing his workouts for three weeks now.

There is something really nice about having a workout written for ME. Not for a group of people young enough to be my children or grandchildren, but for me. Craig knows what equipment I have and works with that so I don’t have to modify the moves. And he writes stuff that is appropriate for an old fart with a cranky heart. I don’t have to guess how to scale and then worry that I scaled too much or too little. I just do whatever the hell he writes.

The unhappy part to that is I do it alone. But at least all the panting and heavy breathing is me and I won’t give myself an infection of some sort or other. And besides, I get to play music I like while I’m out in the heat doing the things.

It isn’t perfect. Nothing ever is. I will miss the gym and my gym buddies. But I will not go gently into that good night, I will continue to work hard and do many things. And when my new equipment arrives, I will do even more of them.

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One of the nice things about the internet is that there is real time dissemination of information. Today, that information has been about the coming school year. Parents are eager, possibly very eager, to get the kiddos (God, I hate that word) back to school. They seem to have grown quite tired of their progeny and wish to off load them to the schools.

Because of the state of the economy, school budgets are getting cut. There simply isn’t enough money to go around. And education is just one of those places that seems quite easy to cut. The schools, however, are going to open, dammit. They just have to. Because … well, see paragraph above.

There are three programs being offered in South Carolina, Ohio, and Arizona (that I know of) and I assume across the entire country. Students and parents will opt into one of three options to start the school year, and will be able to change options as they see fit as the year progresses.

First is full time school with social distancing and all that stuff. It will be every day but with seating available for only half to one third of the students if that social distancing will be enforced. So we need more teachers and more classrooms. It seems like we should be building some more schools, if you ask me.

Another option available either to all students (Ohio and Arizona) or older students (South Carolina) will be daily virtual classrooms with set times. Schools will provide laptops to each student magically making them appear out of thin air and classes will be mandatory with teacher based lectures. This seems to me to mean that we need to hire some more teachers for this segment, although we don’t have to build more actual schools.

Then there is the combined version where some of the time will be spent at home and some in the actual schools. I have no idea where the room for this comes from.

Students will be provided some time for recess, but they shouldn’t get close to each other. They will have access to what in educational parlance is known as specials, but they may not share materials or equipment. I guess gym is going to be running laps and I have no idea what art class is going to be like. Music will be singing and more singing. I have no idea if libraries are even possible in this situation.

There will be lots of cleaning and hand washing with soap and water and lots of hand sanitizer. I’m unsure how meals are going to go, but the process states they will. Somehow.

I’m sure that the kiddos will be all over this social distancing and be very efficient in the hand washing and certainly no one will touch anything that another person has used. The younger grades that use manipulatives for hands on learning will be out of luck. Group projects don’t seem to be very promising, either.

Sports will still be able to be played and no one will be in the bleachers to watch, right? Or if they are, they will be scattered throughout the bleachers without any grouping together. I’m not quite sure how football is played if there is no touching, but I’m sure someone smarter than me figured this all out.

We shouldn’t worry about all this because little kids don’t usually die from Covid. And the average age of teachers is 41 and those people are pretty resilient as well. Of course, the way to get that average is count all the new grads who are in their 20s and match them up with the old and experienced teachers in their 50s and 60s and then average that out. So the old one are just going to have to … what? Are we sacrificing them? Apparently so.

What isn’t commented on in this rush to get back to “normal” even as daily records of new cases emerge nationwide, is that just because some people don’t die, it doesn’t mean they don’t get sick. And with all the congregation of the “distancing” students bringing in the germs they have gathered from their ever more active lives outside, there will be an increase in the number of cases.

It looks to me as if we need, regardless of methodology, as least twice the number of teachers, even as budgets are getting cut. So, when the teachers get sick and cannot come to school for two to three weeks, where in the hell are we getting all the substitute teachers from?

In normal times, when there aren’t enough subs, they cram the kids together in one of the classrooms. Can’t do that now.

How do you make little kids (and all this includes preschool to grade 12) aged 3 to 7 to actually wear a mask or not touch anything? How are you going to get a bunch of 3-5 year olds to wash their hands frequently and not just spend the whole day with kids washing their hands?

So, exactly HOW is any of this going to work? In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they aren’t. While this may, at least to some, look like a plan, there is no reasonable way to implement it. There wasn’t a way to make this happen before budget cuts and there surely isn’t a way after them.

Who is going to teach the remote learning? Who is going to make sure the kids actually remotely show up? (Pro tip: they don’t all show up.) Where are the laptops coming from? Who is providing the internet service? Who is going to keep my sister alive? Those kindergarten kids are Petri dishes in the best of time. This is not the best of time.

Anyone have a concrete plan telling me how this will work?

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“I never go anywhere.” I say that quite often but it is really not true. I often don’t remember where the hell I have been, but I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled extensively.

I really didn’t think it was going to be all that difficult to stay home because you see, I don’t go anywhere. I found out over the last several weeks, that I go quite often.

While social distancing and staying home under mandate or heavy suggestion or whatever this is, I have not been shopping for stuff. I have been to the grocery store twice (with Dick going once a week picking up all the stuff on my list). I have not been to the library. I have not had a massage. I have not been to the gym. That last one was my most frequent place to visit.

I have been shopping online and have managed to keep the house going with all my needed unnecessary purchases. My home gym is much better stocked than it was back in March. It doesn’t have everything, but it has more stuff and enough for me to get in fairly decent workouts.

Still, I’m starting to go a bit stir crazy. Every time I think I’m going to lose my mind, I remember poor teen aged Anne Frank. I feel a bit ashamed of myself. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it makes me sink even deeper into this … not really sadness or depression. Maybe ennui. Just a gray lack.

I have spent hours and hours on the phone in these last weeks. I have spent hours and hours and even more hours in my chair either crocheting or coloring. I have watched endless classes from The Great Courses.

I have managed to continue to eat healthily. I’ve lost about 3 pounds during this hot mess. I keep worrying that is muscle mass and all that I’ve worked so hard for over the last years is withering away. That’s rather worrying which gives me something else to add to my list of worries.

Because life is better if one is laughing, I’ve tried to make light of things and make a joke about this situation. So, after dinner, it is SOFA time. SOFA is Sit On my Fat Ass. And I have mastered sitting and more sitting.

Now there is a new worry looming on the horizon. Certain states are starting to lift their restrictions. We may be allowed out in public again. And that scares the ever loving shit out of me. I know what is out there and it is trying to kill people.

I used to think I was healthy, but I have to admit that I am not. I am as healthy as I can manage, but I sit here with blood chemistry that is not all perfectly in that lovely normal black column. I have some red numbers out there and they are simply indicators of ill health. As far as I know, my respiratory status is unaffected so far. As far as I know, is the tricky part. Every trip to the doctor brings up one more area where I’m slowly dying and in slow descent to shut down.

So when things are open, will I be brave enough to head out there? Is there really anything I’m missing right now that is worth dying for? Is there something I should be doing instead of SOFA time?

I have a plan for the gym, the space I visit the most frequently. My plan is to go there when there is NOT a class, do the WOD by myself in the total luxury of ALL the equipment available, and then scoot out of there before all my friends show up. That does get me a workout, but I truly do miss my friends.

I’m not sure about all the other stuff. I rarely interact with anyone at the library. We even have a self checkout station there. I could stand having some new books available. I can go at some weird time of day and get some books and leave quickly.

I have mountains of stuff in this house, so I’m not really sure what sort of shopping I might need to do. I certainly have enough of all the things except some food items and those have been replenished throughout this lock down.

How am I going to find the courage to venture out of my safe house? Why should I venture out of my safe house? Is my house really safe? These are strange times. I wish I had some answers. I don’t even know if I have the right questions.

When this is over, it isn’t going to be all over, so stay safe. Ask yourself as you go forth into the world, if your mission is really worth the possible costs. And know that the possible costs might be zero. Or death. Pretty damn wide spread there on the costs. Uncertainty principle is running wild through the world.

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I was talking to my son today. He owned and operated a CrossFit gym for over eight years. He is a personal coach today. He knows some stuff about health and fitness. He also has worked long and hard on an attitude of gratitude. His day job is being a firefighter. I am quite proud of the guy.

My other son has been bewailing his non-essential essential status. But now, Case Western Reserve is turning some dormitories into housing for COVID patients who might need more space. He is working for the next two weeks to get these dorms patient ready. I am quite proud of this guy.

And here I sit. Old and retired. Making baby blankets for when this is all over. They will be ready to donate so little babies who don’t have a Nana to make them a blanket, will have one from this Nana. It is what I can do in this mess.

I also share as many funny memes as possible and try to share as many health tips as an old retired nurse can manage. Wash your hands. Wash the stuff your hands have touched.

What I am struggling with right now is restless legs syndrome. Not the kind that keeps you awake at night, but the kind where my legs would like to take me places and I know that I’m supposed to stay home and be safe and keep others safe by keeping my distance. I have always thought I was pretty much a homebody. Turns out, I’m not. I miss going here and there and all the minor little things I usually do without much thought.

Biggest thing I miss is going to the gym. I have been going to the gym, first three days a week, then four, and now five. I go and I work out with my gym buddies and we support each other and there is just all sorts of equipment available. Fun times. I can’t do this right now.

Fortunately, I already had a bar and some plates. I can get from 30 to 125 pounds. I had a kettlebell, which is too light but that’s what I’ve got. I had some really light dumbbells and I purchased some heavier ones before they sold out. I now have a box for jumping or stepping up to. I have a speed rope and some resistance bands. I have a fairly rounded out garage gym.

My house is situated on a T in the roads. Right in front of my house is a stop sign. If you turn, you are on the street and if you pull in straight from the stop sign, you are in my driveway. I am finding this quite disconcerting.

I am on display in my garage. I’m not a powerhouse athlete. That 125 pounds is sufficient for all my needs here. And I am finding it embarrassing to work out and have people coming up to the stop sign or walking their dogs along the sidewalk and seeing this old, pitiful woman doing really odd stuff.

I have suffered from feelings of ineptitude and ineffectiveness and unworthiness since I started CrossFit. I have always been the oldest person in the gyms where I have worked out. And I am always at the lower end of the white board and I’m just not that strong. What I am is determined and constant. Like the worst kid in some poor teacher’s classroom who never misses a day. That’s me.

I mentioned this to my son and he was appalled. Perhaps, he said, what they see is not some old, pitiful woman, but some inspiration. Perhaps they see someone with a gray ponytail doing more things than either driving a car or walking a dog. They see me and they might be impressed or inspired.

I’m going to tell myself that story tomorrow morning. I hope I’m not doing toes to wall and feeling like a complete idiot while I try to convince myself this is normal behavior for a senior citizen. I will try to face uphill as I do my double unders and hope I miss fewer jumps and perhaps I will be able to tell myself that I’m adequate in some small way. I will, as always, try to monitor my form on Olympic lifts if that’s on the menu.

What I do know for sure is that you should exercise to keep as healthy as possible. It does wondrous things for your body, young or old. Movement, purposeful movement, it great. Walking is good. Weight training is a bit better for your skeleton. All of it, all the movements, are good for your psyche. We need to feel some bit of control in a situation beyond our control. One way to do this is to take your old, fat ass out to the garage and actually succeed at some workout either as posted or as made up. But with integrity and purpose.

That and, of course, wash your hands. Don’t touch that. If you did, wash that, too.

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I think we are doing okay. We seem fine. We aren’t sick or anything but we are getting a bit batty. Things that shouldn’t throw us for a loop have us looping.

Part of this is because we are completely out of our routines. Routines help us get through our days without nearly as much thought or planning as this whimsical do whatever time. My first this, then that system is all askew.

Part of this is due to low level stress. Under constant bombardment about my impending doom, my fragility, my soon to be corpseness is getting under my skin.

Since we have idiots out there in droves, the virus is spreading faster than it needs to. We have people who do not understand the distance rule of self distancing. Gathering together with a group of your closest personal friends is not what self distancing means. It means by yourself. Distant from others. Your family is all in this together, however.

I don’t know if it is fatalism or realism, but I keep wondering WHEN I’m going to come down with this virus, not IF. And what concerns me isn’t so the much knowing it’s coming as it is in not knowing which version of this shit is going to get me. I know there are mild cases. So mild that people don’t even know they are sick. And then there is death.

That’s a pretty wide variety of choices there. And it is completely unknown. We don’t know why some people get the virus but don’t really get sick as opposed to those who get the virus and die, or nearly die and take a long time to recover. I’m not partial to being ventilator dependent. I worked ICU too long to want that for me or anybody really. Being able to breathe on your own is a wonderful thing and I would like to continue doing it. I wish we all could.

But this low level stress is draining. The waiting is difficult. The boredom is trying. The isolation is gnawing away at my soul.

I love all the memes out there trying to help us gain perspective, knowledge, or even humor. Even they seem to be slacking off.

I don’t have any answers. I do my yin yoga which helps calm my brain and stretch my tense muscles. I do my CrossFit workouts which helps me burn up some excess energy. I have been cooking the same healthy meals I always do. I have been crocheting like a crazy woman.

I was watching a Great Courses class on Infectious Diseases and learned I’m going to die of everything. It was made a few years ago and it still made me crankier and edgier than needed in a time when I’m already crankier and edgier than usual. So I stopped watching it and went to something less soul destroying. I’m learning about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Interesting and calming.

I’m doing what I can and yet there is this constant frisson of worry. I try to stay away from the news. I have only gone out in public to get some groceries and I did my best to steer clear of anyone and everyone. Although I did smile at people from a distance so as to spread a little good cheer, or at least try.

We have gone out for walks around the neighborhood or on a path, staying well away from any of the other walkers. It helps a bit.

What would be great is for normal life to resume. I don’t know if ever really will. We have been fortunate with this virus. Although it is ridiculously easy to transmit and has a very high contagion rate, it isn’t killing off proportionally as many of us. Ebola killed about half of those that got it. This is killing anywhere from less than 1% to about 4%. We can’t get good numbers because of all those lucky people who didn’t get sick enough to even go to the doctor, be tested, and find themselves in the “recovered” column of the statistics.

Hopefully, some good will come out of this. Perhaps our drug manufacturers will stop concentrating on life style drugs and work on a few more anti-viral and antibiotic things. I know those don’t make as much money as blood pressure drugs that are daily and forever, but we really need them. We also need some scientists/humanists like Salk or Sabin who gave the world their invention for free because life is more important than money.

For now, I will sit here, isolated and worrying. I’m not in a panic. But I can’t really say I am not stressed. I wish I could.

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Dear gym owners,

Be not afraid. I bring you tidings of great joy! I miss my gym. Terribly. If you are a caring coach, if you are involved with your clients on a more personal level, you are going to be okay after all this is over.

I have been doing CrossFit for seven years now. Well, seven and a half. I have a record of every single workout I’ve ever done. I have a score for each and every WOD as well. I can do comparisons and see how far I’ve come over the years. That’s really cool.

Note to gym rats everywhere: write down your workouts, your times, your issues, your gains. Your time in the gym is worth more than just your time in the gym. When you look back over time and see the monumental gains over the years of work, it is far more impressive than the incremental gains you are making in the current times. Your PRs mean even more.

If you are still working out, that is.

Jason is our head coach. He is graciously offering up a home workout for us every day. I’m sure it can’t be easy. None of us has access to the same equipment. For instance, I don’t have a pull-up station. Nor do I have a box for jumping on or over. I have a bar and some plates. Not very many. Others don’t have that much. Some have nothing at home except their anxious selves. But Jason is helping us get through this.

I for one, am eternally grateful. I could go to my books and books of recorded workouts and pick something out. I may eventually do that anyway. I have dumbbells, kettlebells, and that bar and plates. I’m not limited to body weight workouts. I have to look around the house and find something for box jump WODs. I used to have a bench here that worked. I think it is gone.

I am scrambling. I am doing my best with what I have. I assume that is what we all are doing. I go to the garage with my phone for keeping time and my tablet for my music. And I get to listen to music that those kiddos I work out with wouldn’t like.

But the thing is, I miss those kiddos I work out with. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the extra push we all get from looking around the room and suffering in unison. I miss the high fives when we are finished. I miss the celebration of other people’s successes. I miss the whole gym experience.

I can work out alone. I’ve always been able to do that. But I don’t like it. It is lonely in my garage. I want my peeps back. I want all the equipment back.

I do keep up with my yoga and my CrossFit because when all this is over, I plan to still be alive and when I step back into the gym, I don’t want to be in a place where I have to start over. I want to keep up with all the advances I’ve made.

I’m waiting patiently for the day when we can all be together again. I know it is possible to never pay for a gym membership again. I can see that I can actually do this. But – I don’t want to. I want my gym. I want the interaction, interplay, and group suffering (almost never in silence).

So, dear gym owners, if you have historically run your business with enough of the personal touches, if you are reaching out to your clients even in this shitstorm of a present, if you are offering them guidance in this our hour of need, you will have them back when this is over. Probably with lots and lots of hugs. We miss you.

Sincerely,
A gym rat

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Lots of workouts to choose from

These are the times that try men’s souls. Some guy from the past said that. I couldn’t stand it and had to look up who it was. Thomas Paine.

I think there are things in every time that try men’s souls. Women’s souls, too. We live in a world that is forever trying us. We are usually found to be quite resilient. If not individually, then at least collectively. Each and every time has challenges.

It is good to remember that we, as a group, have always met them. At times, they have been world changing. The Black Death of the 1300s devastated Europe. It killed off a large proportion of the continent’s populace. Between 30 and 60% of Europe’s population met their maker within just a few years. And it changed everything.

No longer would the feudal system work and so the entire governing system as well as the economic system had to change. It is this sea change that marks a dividing line between Middle Ages and the Modern Era. It was horrific. It gave us today.

It is thought the disease came from the East, probably China. The Europeans were totally vulnerable. It is the same thing as when the Europeans came to the Americas and brought with them their germs to which the native population was totally vulnerable. Diseases have changed the face of the Earth many times. In ancient history, empire collapse often resulted from epidemics.

The Spanish flu, which wasn’t Spanish, killed millions about a hundred years ago. While this was devastating, it didn’t create the same disturbance in our overall way of life. By then the population of the Earth was much higher and “millions” was a smaller percentage.

And so we come to today. We are in the midst of a pandemic. The authorities are trying to come up with some hard and fast rules or suppositions about this disease. Mostly, they are guessing right now. They don’t have enough data to actually create a solid base.

Since the disease can manifest as anywhere from so mild you don’t even know you have it all the way up to lethal, there is confusion. We have no idea how many people in the first category are running around, but they greatly skew numbers such as death rate, the thing most of us worry about. The new stuff all points out that their numbers are based on the “number of confirmed cases needing hospitalization” and are not based on the number of people who actually got sick.

And so we vacillate between what is the prudent thing to do and what is the more convenient thing to do. We know we should be careful with contact with others. But … it is so boring to sit at home alone or with just the family. We are social creatures. And while social media is great, it is not a perfect substitute for actual interaction. As we have been saying for quite some time now.

However, there have been amazing stories out there. Selfless people willing to do what needs to be done to get the collective mass of us through this. Some of these are visible. Everyone is thanking the medical professionals. As a former medical professional, I know they are all grateful.

We are a bit less willing to call the cashiers and stock staff at the grocery store heroes. Truckers are our most precious lifeline right now. We live far apart from things here in America. Without transport of goods to our area, we are in trouble. There are so many people who are doing their jobs with grace and aplomb. They are all heroes.

But wait, there’s more. There are people who are sharing their gifts and talents with the world. There are those who are selflessly supporting their friends and acquaintances by various means. Spreading good cheer is necessary. Even if that means just sharing memes. Creating memes is cool, too. There is so much togetherness as we are forced apart. It is fantastic. Humanity is far more humane than the dire news from outlets that only tell the tales of doom and gloom. Each of us is doing stuff that helps our fellow humans.

I personally find this encouraging. We are really mostly good people. Who knew?

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