I know I’ve written about it before, but it obvioiusly is a big thing for me, since I keep wanting to write about it. I go to the Y every morning to “work out.” I lift a little weight, and walk on the treadmill, and if I’m lucky, I break a little sweat. The weight I lift is just under what would be hard for me to lift, and the walking, while brisk, is certainly no mad dash. I figure I’m walking a 20 minute mile.
What I keep returning to is how it feels to be working out, in a room full of very serious machines and very serious people, all there to push and stretch and build muscle and get buff, or strong, or whatever. And there I am, doing my little reps, strolling on the treadmill. I’m not usually a person who cares much what other people think of me, but it is hard not to feel unfairly judged in the weight room.
Maybe it’s a guy thing, this thinking I’m supposed to build muscles, like Hans and Franz – pumping myself up. I see other people glancing at me, and I wonder if they are wondering what the heck I’m doing there. Maybe they don’t care. But it keeps coming back to me.
And it is hard not to lift a little more weight, even though I know it will ultimately do more harm than good. Maybe it has to do with how I see myself as a big, strong man, just breaching middle age, used to skiing and cutting down trees and all that. I wasn’t a macho-man, but I am a man, and a certain amount of macho is in every man.
And here I am, getting exhausted walking up the stairs. Just as it took me a while to rediscover my self-esteem when I first become a home-dad, so I find myself on the same journey again, figuring out again what it means to be a man, and to be me.