Pain versus the expectation of pain. I wonder if that’s how a majority of our lives are measured. For me this last week, that’s been a bit more literal than I’d like. I took a little fall outside a bar (stone sober, I should add) that left me with a sprained back and a pelvis that won’t stop juking and jiving when I lay down. It’s definitely not the worst pain I’ve ever felt, not by a long shot (hello, migraines), but it’s just annoying enough to make sleeping at night feel like a chore. That’s not really due to the discomfort I feel, but the expectation of discomfort, of the pain I immediately know will be there if I do, even if that “knowledge” is fiction my body is presenting itself to avoid the pain.
It’s kind of a metaphor for trying to get healthy, isn’t it? When I haven’t made cardio a regular part of my life since I was eighteen or nineteen thanks to the pain I thought I would feel in my hips, it became easier to just blame it on the expectation of pain than to do work. The expectation of the misery of a proper diet kept me eating junk for nearly a decade and a half, when the reality is that all I needed to do was cut back on excess. That’s not so terrible, but because I was conditioning my mind to think that way, it was.
And that’s not just a metaphor for exercise either, but my whole way of life at this point. I stay at home every Friday night because I think going out will be a hassle or I can’t afford it. The latter would be true if I had to eat our town’s exorbitantly priced food all the time I went out, but I don’t, do I? A simple diet Pepsi (or regular Pepsi, as I’m trying to cut out diet sodas from my diet) is maybe two bucks depending on where I drink it, and a buck less than that if I go to my favorite bar in town. So why don’t I? I have no reason not to. A buck a week to get out and socialize? Of course I can manage that.
It boils down to pain, or in this case, loneliness. The expectation of loneliness can build up just as much as the expectation of pain, to the point where I just want to stay home and hang out with my dogs rather than risk putting myself out there to make new friends or talk to people. That’s not healthy thinking, especially when I’m thirty five and my last relationship ended nearly a decade ago.
I need a life. I need to deal with the pain, not avoid it because it’s easier. I need to do this thing with my heart and body in mind, not just one or the other. It won’t be easy to retrain my mind, but it’s nevertheless something I have to do, or else all of this is going to wind up with me backsliding the next time I have an easy out, just like I did in 2017.
Weigh-in for the week – 289.4