Back to the Gym

Just for the record, that's sweat, not blood.  Of course, with how I was feeling, six in one, really.
Just for the record, that’s sweat, not blood.

Again, took me a month to finally getting around to tackling those New Year’s Resolutions.  Better late than never, I suppose.

Anyways, this past Saturday, my good friend Chelsea asked me if I would like to accompany her to the gym.  Like the hideously out-of-shape blob that I am, I waffled at the offer.  Then, with the promise of frozen yogurt afterwards, I (begrudgingly) said yes.  So I threw on my old high school sweats, found my running shoes, and went to the gym.

Now, I had not been to a gym in years.  I avoided the one that was at my school like the plague.  Not that it wasn’t nice or anything – quite fancy actually, but again, I am a blob/rarely left my room in college.  And the one that I sporadically attended years ago has since been converted to a mini golf course (stranger than fiction, people).  So, pulling up to this one, I was perhaps less than enthusiastic, and maybe considering making a break for it as soon as Chelsea parked (and yes, Chelsea, I am fully aware you would’ve caught and tackled me there in the parking lot – never said I’d get far).  Still, there was that part of my brain screaming, “Do it.  Do it.  Come on, you don’t want to reach 250 pounds, do you?  DO IT.”

I have to admit, upon walking in, I had a decent feeling about this particular gym.  First off, it was clean.  I know that sounds weird, but it didn’t have that grungy, sweaty kind of feel a gym could have, you know?  Very well lit, very open, lots of gleaming machines – again, clean, which is a good thing for a place of exercise.  And it was huge.  It had it’s own pool, loads of space for classes, and TONS o’ stuff for people to do, from weight machines to ellipticals.  There was truly something for everyone.  And there were people of all shapes and sizes there, from the fit to, well, my type of people.  Felt a little better about that.  Although seeing all those older people who were in better shape than I am at 24 was a bit jarring/depressing for me.  But hey, they’ve actually been taking care of themselves.  Unlike myself.

Then the actual workout happened.  And my body broke.

Kidding.  Sort of.

The stretching wasn’t so bad.  After all, it’s just stretching.  And neither was the cardio bit, which is what I’m used to doing.  Was I out of breath and sweating up a storm once we hopped off?  Yes, yes I was.  But I was fine with it.

Once Chelsea got me started on the workout, though…man.

It was an ab workout that she had done with her dad before – who, by the way, is 53 and has a six pack, because life is unfair.  It involved lots of bending, twisting, and lifting weights – all things that my body is not used to doing.  Yes, I do have a somewhat physical job that involves some of this, but that’s nothing compared to this.  I was sweating up a storm by the time this was over.  Like, dripping off the nose sweating, which is really gross, but is what happens when I push myself/get really, really nervous.  And I really wasn’t that nervous, since everyone else seemed much more focused on their own workout dealies, so I must’ve been pushing myself HARD.

As I wobbled out of the gym, Chelsea said that I’d be feeling it later on.  Damn, was she right.  It hit me as she dropped me off at home and I wandered up the driveway to my house.  Didn’t drop onto my front lawn like in the comic, but OW.  It was mostly in my back, up near my shoulders, at first.  Then, as I attempted to go to bed, it was my knees and thighs, screaming in agony.  Sunday I was super stiff, getting out of bed and going to work (yaaaaay…), plus very sore in certain places.  Plus I had a massive headache from possible dehydration.  Today I’m feeling okay – back’s still trying to recover, knees still stiff, but I’m moving.

Am I proud of going to the gym?  Yes, yes I am.  After all, I told myself that I wanted to lose some weight, and going to the gym is a huge step in that direction.  Plus, I did manage to get through this entire rigorous workout in one piece, super proud of that.  Will I get a gym membership?  Probably – don’t see why I shouldn’t.

Will I continue to reward myself with ice cream tonight?  Maybe…

Don’t give me that look.  I went to the GYM.

Bonus Resolution: Wardrobe

"No characters?  No sarcastic sayings?  NOTHING???" "...no, just a plain t-shirt -" "WHHHHYYYYYYYYYY"
“No characters? No sarcastic sayings? NOTHING???”
“…no, just a plain t-shirt -“
“WHHHHYYYYYYYYYY”

Oooooo, bonus resolution time!

A good chunk of my wardrobe is currently made up of old t-shirts that I’ve had since high school – and maybe even longer than that.  The fact that I can still fit into these shirts may be a testament to how big I was at that age.  And yes, a good portion of those shirts have some kind of sarcastic slogan or witty saying on them.  I preferred my shirts to do all the talking, as opposed to myself.  People always seem to like my shirts, occasionally stopping me to read them.  One of my favorite stories is wearing my Bring Back Pluto t-shirt – which I’m wearing right now, by the way – to Disney World and having people, from workers to tourists to even Winnie the Pooh, laugh/comment on it.  That was a good day.

But recently, as I approach my mid-twenties at a breakneck speed, I’ve sort of realized that my wardrobe has remained somewhat stagnant.  Like, that’s all that I have.  Sarcastic t-shirt upon sarcastic t-shirt.  And maybe, just maybe, it’s time for an adultish upgrade.

To be honest, this has been coming in waves.  Freshman year in college was the introduction of my love for cardigan sweaters – saw lots of people wearing them and thought, “That looks so COOL.”  Last year, I started getting into baseball Ts thanks to my brother.  And now I’ve added a few nice, plain colored t-shirts to my collection – which I know a certain someone is ecstatic about, by the way.  You may stop your maniacal laughing and cheering, now.  You know who you are.

Now I just need to continue this trend now, through the year.  I need to start looking through my massive collection of t-shirts and start culling a few that I know can be either thrown away or downgraded to a sleep shirt.  Which means I need to start going through my sleep shirts as well.  Lord knows there are a few extraordinarily holey ones there that could be dumped.

Am I going to throw them all out?  Heck no.  I love these shirts.  Am I going to stop wearing them?  Again, no.  Just, maybe I won’t be wearing some of the more rattier/juvenile ones to certain places, like work.  And I need to start looking towards having some nicer, more grown-up pieces in my collection so I can maybe, as stated in the comic, stop dressing like I did in high school.  That’s all.

Here’s to 2016, and here’s to looking a bit more like a grown up.  Which is weird to think about.  Adulting, man.

Resolutions: Worrying

"Is...is that an otter tattoo?" "Oh yeah!  I just think they're so darn cute." "...well, okay then."
“Is…is that an otter tattoo?”
“Oh yeah! I just think they’re so darn cute.”
“…well, okay then.”

I feel like I have made it no secret here that I am a prolific worrywart.

I worry about everything.  My weight, my health, my family’s health, the inevitability of death, what’s going to happen at work today, what’s going to happen at work tomorrow, the end of the world, am I going to be alive next year, am I going to be alive 10 years from now, what do my friends think of me, what does that stranger think of me – fun stuff, really.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It has gotten to the point where I have to go out of my way to avoid Facebook just because of the stupid news ticker thing on the side.  Otherwise, I’m going to read something about Donald Trump or North Korea or the fate of humanity in general and my mind will just begin to spiral into this black hole of worry.  Because, of course I have to Google this stuff now, due to lack of self control and I just gotta know more, and then spiral spiral spiral WORRY.  Isn’t anxiety just so much fun?  Especially in how it can control your life to the point where you really don’t want to even go outside anymore and just hide in your bed for the rest of your life?  But of course you can’t, because you’ve got adult responsibilities now like a job that you can’t blow off.

Hrgh.

This year, I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to try and get my anxiety under control.  Not sure how, but I’m definitely going to make the attempt.  I have to, or else be controlled by these stupid thoughts.  And I really don’t want that.  I need to remain calm, and focus on the present, something that I’m not good at.  I’m always thinking about the future, and that needs to stop.  Not completely, mind you, as one does need to think of their next step in life, but enough so that I can enjoy what’s going on around me instead of what will happen.

This might involve a bit of evasion – like I said, avoiding the news/Facebook for the time being so my brain doesn’t get clogged up with too many anxious thought.  And maybe some deep breathing.  Not sure – I’ve have Googled “how to stop worrying” so many times, but have really only scanned the articles only to find that none of the solutions were instantaneous, so what’s the point then?  But no no.  It is a process that takes time like everything else in life, so this is going to be the year where I will focus on being less worried.

Here’s to 2016, and here’s to me being more present in the present, and not such a bundle of anxious nerves.

Side note: this will not involve being body slammed.  I hope.

Resolutions: Losing Weight

"But Greek Yogurt's just not the same-"  "IT CAN BE IF YOU GAVE IT A CHANCE."
“But Greek Yogurt’s just not the same-” “IT CAN BE IF YOU GAVE IT A CHANCE.”

Is this one of the most cliche New Year’s Resolutions out there?  Yes.  Does it still ring very much true for me, though?  Absolutely.

Not gonna lie, I’ve always been a big guy.  Even as a child I was always the chunky one, the last one to finish up the mile run a good 5 minutes after everyone else, the one who, in 4th grade, was actually taken out of class by the gym teacher to get some extra help (only now do I realize how humiliating that is.  Ignorance is bliss, you know).

My weight didn’t actually start to bother until about high school, to be honest.  It was then that I started to think, “Wow, I don’t like being ‘the fat one'” – even though a grand total of nobody called me “the fat one,” at least to my face.  But even then, I didn’t really do much about it.  Maybe it’s my sheer lack of athleticism, or my lack of enthusiasm for all things sporty, or the fact that I can be incredibly lazy.  Or all three.  Point is, my weight bothered me, and I did nothing about it.  I’d always been the kid who hated Physical Education, who was annoyed by all the other kids actually being good at it and treating it like a freaking competition, and yet never did anything to improve myself in that category.

Then college came around, and suddenly, wham.  Instead of gaining that infamous Freshman 15, I lost about 40 pounds over the course of a year.  I blame the student meal plans and the fact that I had to walk everywhere for that startling feat.  Actually had to get new jeans because they were constantly sliding down (and were covered in paint).  Problem was, my weight kept yo-yoing all through college.  I’d go home, and gain about 10 pounds over the summer, then go back to school, and proceed to lose them again.

Since I graduated, I have managed to gain all that lovely weight back – and then some.  Trust me when I say that it’s not necessarily fun to hop on the scale and be like, oh, hello new pound.  Where did you come from?  Because it’s not like my self-esteem/confidence could be any lower, right?  Fun.

So, this year, one of the things that I hope to accomplish is to actually lose some weight, and hopefully keep it off for a period of time.  This means, though, that I need to start adding some physical activity to my life.  I thought that working at the library would be enough.  Apparently not.  I need to start running again (remember that comic?  Yeah, haven’t run since.  Oy).  Or even picking up a gym membership.  That, though, might have to wait a couple of months.  You know, until everyone else has given up and the gyms aren’t nearly as crowded.

This also means having to be careful about what I’m putting inside my body.  Which means having to cut a few things out of my diet.  No more chips.  No more soda.  And *SIIIIIIIIIGH* no more ice cream, perhaps my biggest vice of all.  Or at least cut back on it.  Currently don’t have any in my freezer at the moment, which has really helped thus far, in ridding me of temptation.  Have to carry this forth, so no more weekly trips to Giant to grab a couple of a pints of Ben and Jerry’s, and maybe a packet of combos, and some gummy worms, and so on and so forth, you get the gist.

I need to make this happen.  This has been a battle for a while now, and as I get into my mid-twenties it’s going to get harder, so I’m really going to have to make some kind of effort.  Is it going to happen all at once?  No, probably not.  That’d be extremely unhealthy and maybe a sign of some horrible disease.  But I’ve got all year to make this work.

So, let’s do this.  Here’s to 2016, and here’s to me attempting to make myself a lot healthier and feeling better about me in general.

Resolution: Writing

Can you even get typewriters anymore?
To be honest, the shirt and tie is probably the most unrealistic part of this whole scenario.

Welcome to Resolutions Week!  It’s a series where I discuss what I want to happen/hope will happen during the year of 2016.  And today’s topic: writing!

Yay…

So, back in college, when I was in the midst of discovering that art school was doing nothing more than crushing my soul, I took a mandatory writing class for the Honors college that reignited something in me that I hadn’t felt for a while: a love for writing.  A chance to express myself in a different means, to get out all that frustration concerning what I was going through at that time.  And damn, did it help/make people worry about my mental state/wonder about art school in general.  So, at the end of that semester, I decided to pick up writing as a minor, to counterbalance art school – which, side note, turned out to be a requirement for the Honors college.  Having a minor, I mean.  Didn’t even realize that until later.

Then, when I realized that art school was never going to get better, I switched over to English, which sort of allowed me to focus more on that writing skill that I had let atrophy in the meantime.  I was so focused on art for the longest time, that writing just fell by the wayside.  I had taken creative writing way back in Middle School and loved it.  But then art just took over, and I ignored writing.  To be honest, one regret that I do have is not taking a writing class in high school.  Who knows what would’ve happened had I focused on that instead of, I don’t know, taken photography or continued on with art?  Might’ve been one of the few guys there, but I was already one of the few guys in both photography and art, so, what would’ve been the difference, really.

Loved the writing classes I took in college for the most part.  I took one short story writing class for three semesters because the professor was awesome, and my writing really improved.  Took a few non-fiction writing courses, a poetry course (and discovered that I’m not exactly poet material, but eh) – overall, a rewarding experience.  Once I graduated, though, I stopped.  Like my art, I started to ignore it, or refused to do it completely.  Instead, I decided to indulge in my anxiety, letting all those thoughts and criticisms take over and obliterate any thought I had about continuing forward.  And I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be writing!  Should I have started on that novel?  More short stories?  What was the point?

Over the past year, my drawing, as you can see, has roared back full force.  It’s even improved a bit, considering I was so out of practice (yes, I do look back at some of the earlier comics here and cringe).  But yet, my writing has remained stagnant.  Yes, I write here on the blog, but I want to get back into what I really like: fiction writing.  Fantasy based, world building fiction.  I had a couple moments last year where I worked with a friend and actually got some stuff done…then got lazy.

So, that is one of the things I hope to accomplish this year: getting back into writing full force, and getting disciplined about it.  That’s something I think I lack in the writing department: discipline.  One of my professors, my creative non-fiction writing professor, said on the last day of class, “You have got to find some way to keep writing.  Because if you don’t, you’re going to not do it.”  Or something along those lines.  And he was right.  Man, was he right.

I’m going to try and start writing again, and this time, get a rhythm going, like I have with my drawing.  I want to balance those two things, so I can actually do them at the same time (WHAT a concept!).  And not give up.  Hopefully.  Because that’s not going to solve anything.  And it’s not like I don’t have the time.  I’ve got tons of free time.  Obviously, I need to start spending it a bit more wisely.

Here’s to 2016, and here’s to me getting back in the writer’s mindset.

Welcoming in the New Year

Hey, it'll still be the New Year when they wake up.
Hey, it’ll still be the New Year when they wake up.

Note: I did not sleep through the New Year.  Instead, I welcomed it in by watching Mary Poppins and stuffing my face full of food with my parents.

Happy New Year, everybody!  Here’s to another new year, full of surprises and opportunities!

2015/2016

My heart will go on...next year.
My heart will go on…next year.

Ah, 2015.  What a year you were.

At the beginning of this year, I was hoping that you would most certainly be better than 2014 for me.  And thankfully, you did not disappoint.

Of course, I suppose it wouldn’t be that hard.  Considering the fact that 2014 basically consisted of graduating from college followed up by a 6 month existential crisis plus anxiety galore, not to mention the unemployment and the numerous health issues – both the real and the imaginary ones propagated by WebMD – yeah, it really didn’t take that much.

Still, 2015, I’m grateful that you came through for me.  I mean, what happened this year?  I started this blog.  I’ve broken through the years long artist block and started drawing regularly again.  I got a job.  A JOB.  That pays money, allowing me to not have to worry about being completely broke.  I actually got some semblance of a social life and got some friends.  My brother got married.  And did I mention the job?  Because job.

With all that said and done, I have to wonder – the heck’s in store for 2016?  It’s only a couple days off now, and I’m curious.  I mean, I’m taking part in a mentorship program at work.  I’ll be turning 25.  It’ll be two years since college ended.  But other than that, what’s going to happen?

The answer is, who knows?  Maybe I’ll finally start dating.  Wouldn’t that be a twist and a half?  Maybe I’ll move out (a heavy maybe on that one, considering).  Maybe I’ll actually get a start on that writing career I always wanted to achieve.  And who knows what’ll be up here on the blog.  All up in the air at this point.

2015, you really did zoom right on by.  I’ll miss you dearly – compared to 2014, which I left with middle fingers up in the air and a big “SCREW YOU.”

And 2016 – welcome.  Let’s see what happens in the next 12 months.