Don’t Exercise, and Other Key Findings

I learned three things today, which makes it an awesome day for personal growth. (Yay, me.) I’ll share with you so that it’s a personal growth day for you, too. (Yay, you.) After you read this, and if you find it useful, you can go watch cat videos on YouTube or discuss conspiracy theories with your teenage son (don’t ask), because your day has been productive.
The three learnings are:

  • Don’t wear mascara when paddleboarding.
  • Try to avoid getting lost at sea in a lifeboat because I think that would be very, very frightening.
  • You don’t have to exercise to get strong and healthy.

Let me elaborate.

1. Don’t wear mascara when paddleboarding: So I’m up at the lake on my board, I’m battling a brisk wind, and I think I’m winning, because I’m continuing to make a tiny bit of forward progress over the waves (which were not caused by hungry lake creatures or invisible boats today). I’m also working up a good sweat.

Then, disaster strikes: sweat drips in my eye! It burns! If I stop to wipe my eyes, I’ll be blown backwards and lose ground! So I screw up my courage and heroically keep going. But sweat continues to drip, and finally I give my face a quick swipe with the back of my hand — rubbing clumpy mascara directly into my eyes.

Now I can’t see, I’m being blown about, I’m rubbing my eyes while trying to balance my oar, and I’m trying not to fall off because it’s a chilly day and I don’t want a dunking. Anyway, I figured it out and everything was fine and I don’t know why I’ve devoted three paragraphs to it, except to remind myself – and you – to not wear mascara when paddleboarding, and also because it led me to my second realization.

2. Avoid getting lost at sea: This lesson was driven home to me this afternoon. When I was crippled by mascara-pain, I happened to glance around the lake and saw it was virtually deserted. It freaked me out. What if something worse than temporary, mascara-induced blindness were to occur? Like, what if the Horsetooth Lake Monster ate one of my legs and I had to lie down on my board and paddle with my arms? And what if the monster then ate one of those? Nobody would be there to help me. I realized I was ALL ALONE.

It occurred to me that being lost at sea would be very scary. You’re probably thinking that being lost at sea in a lifeboat would be a lark: bobbing about in the waves, enjoying the sun, maybe a bit of breeze on your face, sipping the last of your fresh water from the emergency supplies. But I’m pretty sure that it’s NOT like that, people. There’s storms. There’s pretty bad thirst after you finish that last sip of water. There’s sunburn. And there’s nobody at all to help you or comfort you or save you from sharks. So if at all possible, I’d avoid it.**

3. OK, here’s the deal about avoiding exercise but still getting strong and healthy: The only physical activity I’m getting these days is paddleboarding, and I would argue that that’s not actually exercise, even though it’s good for me (which I can tell because my shoulders are getting defined, my thigh muscles are firming up, I can go further and faster on my board than I used to, and I get less winded. Not like I’m in super shape, or anything – but I’m in better shape).

Here’s how I know it’s not exercise: I had a busy day today, but decided I could spare one hour on the lake. When I got back to the dock after my adventures, I saw that I had only been out for 55 minutes, and I thought, “Awesome! I can spend another five minutes on the lake. I’ll go check out those seagull-things I was trying to get a look at before.” I turned around and headed back out to make sure I got my full hour of fun.

If, for exercise, I had gone for a run, and if I got back to the house five minutes earlier than planned, I definitely would not be excited to go back out and get complete those final five minutes. Instead, I’d be like, “Awesome! I finished early. I can go inside now. Hey, do we have any Doritos?”

I’ve tried to make this point several times here, and maybe you’re sick of me, but I feel passionate about it and it’s my blog so I get to repeat myself if I want: if you find something you love, that lets you use your body and move your body and stretch and grow and challenge your body, you don’t have to “exercise,” because you’re already getting in shape.

And that’s all I’ve got today. Until next time: beware of mascara mistakes, stay away from lifeboats, and have fun.



** I have this nagging fear that someone’s going to comment on this post, like, “You shouldn’t make light of people being lost at sea in a lifeboat. My uncle/sister/best friend spent 14 years alone in a lifeboat and was scarred for life.” If that’s the case, I apologize in advance and hope your sister gets some good therapy (and also some good moisturizer, because her skin is probably shot).

PS: I guess you could always wear waterproof mascara.

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