about two weeks ago I did a thing that I swore I would never do again. I joined the gym.
Yes, I realise that I have often proclaimed that I hate the gym. Yes, I know I said it makes me feel incredibly bad about myself. Yes, I know that every time I have joined in the past I’ve basically been paying a bunch of people £45 a month for no apparent reason since I definitely have not been making use of the facilities.
But frankly, I was a little bit bored of waggling about in my own living room. Yes, it worked very well as an introduction to regular exercise. And yes, there was a certain convenience to it. But after a year of leaping about like a fool in front of my own TV, I was both a bit bored and starting to worry about the integrity of my floorboards.
So I sat there, and I looked at the Virgin Active website, and I thought about it a bit. And then I did some DIY-boxercise. And then I looked at the website again, and thought about it some more.
And then eventually I just decided that actually, fuck it, I knew every routine on every one of my games by heart, and that was sad. And that floorboard right in front of the sofa was getting far too bouncy for my liking. And I really did fancy a swim in a pool where I could see the bottom and wouldn’t have a plaster floating across my field of vision as I tried to work out where the hell end was.
So I just went, and I signed up. And then plan was thus; I would just do classes and go swimming a bit and that would be fine.
But then I realised that I had accidentally joined THE YOUNGEST GYM IN THE WORLD. Which inevitably stomped on some kind of self-esteem landmine.
Because seriously, everyone at this gym seems to be at the university. And the ones of them who aren’t at the university are at one of the local sixth forms. And they are all youthful and slender and generally in much, much better shape than I am, and yet they remain oblivious of this fact and so happily stand around in the changing room talking about how they have this really stubborn but seemingly entirely invisible bit of fat on their stomach which the seventeen hours of perfectly-coordinated zumba they’ve done this week cannot shift.
And I stand there and think about how I am 27 and feel OLD.
So of course, my very first instinct was to run screaming into the night. Quite slowly. Until I got a stitch. But whilst sitting in the steam room and attempting to recover from a particularly vicious gym induction which featured the dreaded intervals, I decided not to. Because, it turns out, I did actually make a new year’s resolution this year. It’s just that I didn’t notice it at the time.
And that resolution was thus: I WILL BE BRAVE.
I’ve been doing it all this year without really noticing it. Not in a super crazy exciting bungee jump type of a way, but just in an everyday acts of tiny little bravery way. I’ve woken up in the morning and felt a bit rubbish and yet I have got on with my day and spoken to people and done things and it’s been fine. I always make sure I answer my phone (even when it scares me). I’ve made Important Decisions without entirely spacking out. And now I am going to go to the bloody gym even though it is apparently the land of the youthful and coordinated, and I am not going to let it make me feel bad about myself.
Because I am BRAVE. And I know deep down that being brave is probably worth it, because instead of sitting and home and cursing the fact that I am yet again paying somebody £45 a month just for fun, I will be waggling about in the company of other wagglers. And that will be far more fun.
Plus, it turns out that the Sunday morning swimming crowd is all at least 65. So if I can survive a week of zumba-ing in the creche, then I can go along there every week and go “you know what? I’m really quite young after all”.