In October of 2015, my days were along these lines- go to work, come home, sit on the couch and try to figure out how to pass the hours until it was bed time. My wife Cathy and I would spend time on our electronic devices, playing meaningless games or reading various articles and blogs, or we would watch some meaningless and mind numbing television shows. Dinner was something convenient like chili dogs or fast food, or maybe some pizza or Chinese delivery.
I was in poor physical condition, and heavier than I’ve ever been. My pants were getting tighter and I knew that if I didn’t do something soon I’d have to break down and go up another size. But it just seemed that at the end of my work day I was SO TIRED, I couldn’t imagine actually DOING something besides holding that couch down. Even my two dogs were getting fat!
Weekends were extended versions of our evenings with the occasional dinner and a movie thrown in, or maybe a road trip somewhere that was easy to get to and didn’t require much effort once we were there. Either way once we returned home that same exhaustion and ennui would return and the couch’s siren call would recapture my ever expanding backside.
Looking back I see now what people mean when they say “stuck in a rut”. You’re just drifting along that well worn and familiar path, not content exactly, wanting something more but unsure what it is and clueless as to how to get out of the “rut” you find yourself in.
We knew a couple at our church, in their seventies, who got out and biked on mountain roads. The wife would go swimming- a mile at a time. A MILE. Think about that. Here I was 30 years younger, and couldn’t even think about trying something like that. I kept thinking “Wow. How is it they can do all these neat things and we can’t? We couldn’t even keep up with them if we tried!”
I thought back to some of the times that Cathy and I enjoyed with one another that didn’t involve couch and/or channel surfing, and recalled how that several years ago we had climbed out of the rut for a season and had ridden bicycles, even going so far as to ride the Silver Comet Trail for a day at the time, racking up 30-40 miles in a day. We rode out to exotic places like Cooper’s Lake and Rockmart GA, and had fun doing it.
However, Cathy’s bike had been stolen when I carelessly left it outside for some reason, and in my current condition my old mountain bike seemed more like a medieval torture device than a means of conveyance. New bicycles are pricey at best and downright EXPENSIVE in most cases and extra money was never an affliction that Cathy and I have become familiar with. It seemed like that particular idea was dead on arrival, and the couch was still there providing psuedo-comfort and sure support for my large weary belly.
But, for some reason, the idea wouldn’t just peacefully fade into the recesses of memory like so many others seem to do. I began looking at bikes online, trying to find something that would be comfortable for us both. I began researching places to ride, and discovered a new paved trail (the Noonday Creek Trail) had been completed just miles from our house. I began to dream again of riding off to exotic locations on the SIlver Comet Trail- maybe even Cedarton (!) or maybe one day even Anniston, Alabama!
It took a while but finally I worked up enough courage to broach the subject with Cathy. Sometimes I struggle floating these ideas past her, because I’m afraid she will voice my own thoughts i.e. “We spent a whole bunch of money on bicycles before and what good did that do? One got stolen, one is in the basement collecting dust, and we are still on this @#$%& couch!” This was the logical and perfectly sound answer.
But, as is so often the case, I underestimated her attitude and her willingness to GO. So, on November 6th, we found ourselves riding brand new bicycles. Our cycling evolved into hiking once the weather turned cold, and from there we started acquiring the necessary gear to backpack and camp, and we haven’t looked back since.
The couch still beckons. Sometimes it wins. But that has become less and less often. Sometimes life stuff gets in the way. But we fight, and we get back out there. You should too!