Not Always a Good Fit

I didn’t exercise today.

I had a bunch of excuses. I was tired. My stomach was bothering me. I had errands to run. I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way in the living room.

But they’re only excuses. I could have made it happen, if it had been a higher priority for me.

But it wasn’t. Even though I know it is important. Even though I know that putting physical exercise at the bottom of my priority list day after day has short term and long term consequences that I would prefer to avoid.

Is it rational? Almost certainly not.

Am I hamstrung by a lack of resources? Nope. I have plenty of information, people have shared strategies and techniques with me, and I have even been able to obtain some equipment to help me. My wife and daughter are both more committed to exercising than I have been lately, so I can’t even say I don’t have any role models or examples.

If I’m not as healthy as I could be, if I don’t have the success I want to have in the long run, I can’t put the responsibility on anyone else; I just chose to spend my time doing other things.

I think about this sometimes when I think about the times I struggle to help some of my students actively participate in their education. It gives me some empathy to think that some of them feel about academic work the way I feel about physical exercise. It lets me forgive myself a little bit for not inspiring a hundred high school seniors to become policy wonks.

But it also inspires me to keep trying to find ways to support them, to find the questions that they do have about the world and help them develop the skills to find answers. And it reminds me that sometimes what we need to do has to trump what we want to do.

So tomorrow I will head to the gym, and then I will crack the books. And maybe I’ll take another step closer to being the person I want to be.

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