Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Day in the Life (part 2)

Jack mounts his bike, adjusts his bike helmet and turns on his ipod. No matter how things are going at work or in his personal life, this is always his favorite time of the day. There is nothing like putting on your “40-Year-Old-Virgin” bike helmet while you ride down the streets of the big city and vibe to some Led Zeppelin. And hey, let’s not forget the occasional Johnny Cash or Eminem.

Jack glides down Pennsylvania in a happy trance, avoiding cabs and delivery trucks intent on splattering him all over the payment. He gets to the gym at 7:30 am on the dot.

Jack is big on exercise. He used to be a bit obsessed with weight training back in college, to a point that he started neglecting other aspects of his life. One day he looked in the mirror and realized that he was unhappy with the intensity he saw in himself. There was a compulsion to be “big and muscular” that was clearly unhealthy. Seriously, what was Jack trying to compensate for?

So he simplified his approach. His focus now is on being healthy, on exercising his body as well as his mind. Jack typically does cardio 3 times a week with some weight training sprinkled in between. Gone is the need to be an extra in "300." Jack is just happy to feel healthy. The beauty of simplification wins again. :)


Nina said...

So much of this resonates with me (part 1) and this too. I use to be really into wt training, lifting heavy- to the point that if I didn't do it I was depressed- it defined me for awhile. I now love to exercise but much like you for health, mental and physical.

Enjoying a glimpse of your life ;-)

Intrigued to see where this goes.....

Anonymous said...

Please save the iPod for the gym. It isn't any more safe to bike with earbuds than it is to drive with them, and even early in the morning you're that much more vulnerable. Plus, why not absorb as much of the world around you as possible while you're directly interacting with it? Isn't that part of being present in the moment and finding that balance you say you're seeking?

-jd said...

Take it from a guy that's been hit by a bike more than one time. Only wear one ear bud while riding your bike and listening to your ipod, that way you can still hear traffic and still rock out while pushing the pedals!

-jd said...

I meant hit by a car...while riding a bike!

Jack said...

Three Moons,

Thanks for the comments. How is the trip going? We haven’t heard from you guys in a while. The whole weight training thing was an early exercise in simplicity for me. Sometimes a person takes some time to realize things are all wrong before they figure out how to
make it right. I am sooo much more content with where I am with exercise today.

Anonymous, JD,

Point very well taken. Been biking for 14 years in many an urban jungle, so very well aware of the issue. My MO is to be able to listen to the music while still being very well aware of my surroundings. A biker needs to be able to anticipate traffic patterns and the unexpected at every turn.
As for absorbing the world around you, I can tell you haven’t biked in the heart of downtown DC.  I’ve had my fill of cacophonous traffic, the honking of horns, and the sweet sounds of jackhammers. Putting on some Beethoven is, in fact, a way to maintain balance in what would otherwise be a stressful commute. I opt to immerse myself in the world around me when I bike the trails through VA and Maryland on weekends. Those are beautiful.

BTW, JD, how is the new job coming?

Carolyn said...

It's amazing how your view changes once you get older and wiser.

Anonymous said...

But part of the world around you is the cacophonous traffic, jackhammers, etc.--which I can tell you is common to biking in cities far beyond D.C. The less appealing side is also part of the balance.

Jack said...


Yes, I know. Imagine what great wonderful discoveries about my own life I will make when I have time TIME to figure things out. The older I get the more things become clear.


We may have a difference of opinion here. Would rather tune out all that stuff as much as possible. Living in a city it already hard not to experience that on a daily basis. Would rather escape from it every time I can.

Anonymous said...

Well, clearly we have a difference of opinion. It's not based on city living, though. I live in Los Angeles, which certainly can't be described as quiet, traffic-free, or bike-friendly. Sometimes escape is appropriate. Sometimes, though, you just have to deal with the situation.