Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How the Gym Wasted My Energy

I've really enjoyed my YMCA membership in the past, but I realized yesterday that it was working against my current priorities. Being healthy is still important to me, of course, but my husband and I have been investing a significant amount of time and energy in training and exercising our nine-month-old hound. We've made some progress, but yesterday was a bad day.

The hound chewed a bunch of plants on our patio. He gnawed straight through our hose. He barked and pulled terribly on our walk, escalating my older dog to bark and lunge, too, when another dog came running to the edge of a yard.

As I vented to my husband, I realized a couple of things. First, in some respects, the hound has been better behaved overall in the last few weeks, so we've paid less attention to him. Hence all the chewing. Second, if I hope to eventually train our dogs to the point where I can again walk them together and still have them both under control, I'll need to walk them separately for at least the next few months.

Enter the gym membership. My personal rule to feel like I was getting my money's worth out of the membership was that I needed to go to the Y three times per week. (It was a cheap membership, which I suppose is another issue working against my current priorities...) I liked knowing I was staying in shape and having the challenge of machines that would tell me how fast I was going and time me, etc. I liked the option to take occasional classes, sometimes with friends. I liked that it didn't matter what the weather outside was like.

But, like money and time, energy is a currency, too. If I kept the membership and combined it with exercising with my dogs twice a day and the active chore of mowing with our old push mower, that meant about four days a week where I would be exercising three times in a day. My energy account would be broke. Plus, some of my most active workouts were at the Y on the elliptical, but the hound would be better off if I took him running instead of simply walking. The elliptical, I realized, was a way to misspend my energy.

I could deny it no longer. It had to go. After all, I adopted these dogs. They're living animals created by God, and I am responsible for caring for them.

I called the gym this morning and canceled. My schedule feels a lot freer, the hound is a lot calmer (I took him for a 3 mile run today), and, hey, the refund on the unused months of my membership (I had paid ahead) will really help toward that writer's conference I'm going to in September. And canceling was a lot easier than I thought it'd be, too. I did it all over the phone.

This has gotten me thinking about how sometimes, it seems like it's easiest to stick by old habits, even after they've become inconvenient. I could've cancelled my membership months ago, and both I and my hound would've been better off for it.

So, what about you? Is how you're spending your time and money and energy (physical and emotional) the best use of those resources, or is it time to drop an old habit and replace it with something that better fits your current life?

Your Sister

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