Unexpected and surprising

Despite my love of habit and routines, a few unexpected and surprising things have happened recently… reminding me that surprising changes aren’t always bad. There were two surprising things in my life the last month or so…

The first is that I’m canceling my gym membership. This may not be “big” to some people, but again, some context. I have had a gym membership pretty much constantly since 2001. That’s 20 years. Before that, I was a travel nurse so didn’t stay in one place long enough to justify a membership. But as soon as I settled in the DC area in 2001? Gym membership. And I’ve never looked back. Until now.

So what happened? I think it was the intersection of several different factors: (1) the pandemic. I was just so over people not paying attention to the mask-wearing and / or distancing rules. I was tired of the lack of consideration of others, and the stress of wondering if the “maskless moron” (yes, I took to calling them that) was going to be there. (2) I was tired of driving even a short distance to do something that I can do right where I live. And it was even less appealing when it was -20 and snowing. Why was I risking my life? (Well, that applies to the pandemic situation and the drive in less than ideal conditions…). And (3) I can’t run right now, and I don’t know if I ever will. I might (MIGHT) be able to walk/run but I have had such difficulties from an illness/injury almost 2 years ago that it probably won’t happen. I’ve been a regular runner since 2001, too. And surprisingly, I’m… mostly okay with this. Running had gotten so hard. It wasn’t fun anymore. It hurt. And I was running the risk of injury. All good reasons to switch to my now well-loved stationary bike, plus the elliptical in the apartment building when I want to do that.

The second surprise? Bonding with my dad over music. Again, some context. My dad has never claimed to be musical, mostly being told to “mouth the words” in kindergarten music class. Yes, seriously. I can’t even believe a teacher would say that, but apparently it happened, and it has made him believe for his entire life that he is “not musical”, and can’t sing. (He’s completely wrong, of course, but you try undoing 75+ years of believing something that strongly…) A few weeks ago, he started sending me links to YouTube music in his daily emails to me, connected either to the day of the week (e.g., Monday, Monday). He’s since branched out to music that he just finds and likes.

Well, imagine my surprise when one of the songs he linked “for something different” was one of my favorite groups that I’ve been listening to on repeat recently! I was floored. How did my dad and I both hit on Tide Lines (modern Scottish folk, if you were wondering) completely separately? And this led to the rather surprising realization that, despite what I have believed nearly my entire life, I am more like my dad than my mom, at least in terms of personality, life philosophy, etc. That’s a subject for another post, but for now, let me just say that I am loving this surprise and now, the fun of finding more music for my dad to explore.

They say people don’t change. I beg to differ. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Unexpected and surprising

  1. Very cool about your Dad and the music! I love that. What an awesome bond. 🙂 I can understand the gym decision, too… it’s hard to beat the convenience of working out from home/in your building. I think it depends some on what your preferred exercise is. Some things are more conducive to being done at home than others! (A stationary bike or elliptical, yes- using a squat rack and wide assortments of free weights, probably not as much. 🙂 I’ve been struggling to get back in the gym, and I have NO excuse as it’s literally a block from my house! Im hoping now with the boys back in school I might be able to fit it back into my routine again. In my case, it is feeling like more of a case of “laziness” than anything else….

    1. I saw your post yesterday (or Friday?) about the gym. I totally get it. Once you get out of the habit, though, it’s so hard to get back in it! And you are totally right – there are things I cannot do here that I could do there. Or, more accurately, I had access to equipment that the apartment gym does not have. I just could not get past the mental block and lack of desire to go, though, so it didn’t make sense to spend the $$$. (And no, you’re not lazy – you’ve just changed your habits! Totally different. Seriously.) I am loving the new bond with my dad, too. Such a totally unexpected joy.

  2. It’s so sad when people convince themselves they are “not musical”. So many people can learn to make music if they just have the will, passion, stubbornness and dedication. Very nice though that he’s discovered music on YouTube! YouTube is actually a goldmine for discovering music. I watch full concerts there every week!
    Leaving the gym sounds like the right thing to do especially if exercising there isn’t for you anymore… I wouldn’t dream of going into a gym in these pandemic days. I just read that they’ll open up 100% capacity on public transport here, which means it’s totally no-no to travel by bus (not that I have since March 2020 anyway) unless the spread goes down considerably.

    1. I know. My dad’s experience makes me want to go back and give that kindergarten teacher a talking-to. No kid should EVER be told to “mouth the words”. Isn’t the whole point of introducing kids to music to make it fun, and enjoyable, so that music becomes part of their lives in some way? Sure, not all of us have a lot of talent, but there’s so much more to be gained by getting kids engaged with and interested in music. Sheesh. I love his new interest, though! It’s so much fun to send him random music (yesterday was “Manic Monday”. Ha.)

      And yes, definitely the right choice to cancel the gym. Although now that I think about it, I last emailed them a week ago and haven’t heard anything final re: my request to cancel. (There may be charges, but they may also be waived…) And yes, I’m super-anxious about doing things, again. Just in time to have to take the bus one time / week in to work. That’ll be interesting…

  3. Oh, did I know that you were an avid runner? I think I knew that you enjoyed exercise but didn’t remember that you were a runner but couldn’t run anymore because of an injury. That’s a huge bummer… but I am glad you are able to find joy in other forms of exercise (e.g. the stationary bike and elliptical). As you might recall, I was also a long-time gym member and canceled my membership last fall (after much debate with myself). I just wasn’t ready to go back under the circumstances and I’ve really come to enjoy the ease and convenience of a home workout. It’s still a big plug to pull after such a long time.

    I love that you’ve connected with your Dad over music. I wish my Dad – who loves music – would send me daily YouTube Videos LOL that is so awesome that you’ve found a new level to connect with each other. There’s still surprises we learn about our parents, even after so many years 🙂

    1. I don’t know if “avid” is the right word, but “plogger” might be more apt? (I plodded, definitely, and it was more of a jog than a run, these last few years when it became increasingly difficult…) For me, it’s more about movement and getting my HR up, and the elliptical and bike do that – with much less difficulty than running, thank goodness. I do see your IG posts, though, and admit to some continued run-envy. I’ll get over it eventually, I suppose. 🙂

      And yes, isn’t it fun to find out surprising things about our parents later in life? They are always surprising me. It’s kind of fun. Actually, it’s a lot of fun. They’re so much more real to me now than when I was younger. I hope that, despite distance, you are still managing to find ways to connect with your family throughout all of, well, *this*.

  4. I am right with you on the gym thing. We put a hold on our membership last year and then decided to cancel it because I was in the same boat of not feeling comfortable being there with the lax mask rules (and also not really wanting to wear one while I was working out either) and getting lazy about driving places when I was used to staying home. Once I started working out at home instead it was a game changer! I definitely miss all the weights and machines and classes, but the money saved is definitely worth it…and being able to huff and puff in the comfort of my own home 🙂

    1. Exactly! I know that many people – you, San – made similar choices. I just never saw myself making the same choice… until it was really the only choice. I am still liking the at-home workouts, and have a decent set of hand weights, and my bike. And of course access to the elliptical across the way when I want it. So it’s working for now. Who knows what the future will bring but honestly, I’m kind of over the whole working-out-with-other-people thing (particularly when I do not know the other people!). You and San are lucky, too, in that your locations have good weather for longer than we do here in WI. That’s the biggest challenge here so we will see how I do in January! 🙂

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