thanks, but no

Thank you very much for asking, but no.

No, I will not ‘Get Fit in 2013‘ with you. No thank you, I will not join a ‘Fit Photographers’ discussion group. No, please accept my apologies, but I will not be ‘Cycling for the Heart’ this year. No, I do most sincerely appreciate your interest, but ‘Eating Healthy in the New Year‘ is not on my agenda. I don’t even have an agenda for the new year. I don’t even have an agenda for today.

So, no. Thank you for asking, but no. Now please, shut the fuck up and leave me alone.

I’ll continue to walk a lot, but not because it’s good for me. I’ll walk because I enjoy it. I like the pace of walking. Sometimes I’ll walk quickly, but more often I’ll stroll. Or meander. Or dawdle. Because I like to look at stuff. I may interrupt my walk for five, ten, or thirty minutes to watch some ants trying to carry a dead caterpillar. That’s why I’m walking — because watching ants tote a dead caterpillar across a sidewalk is a lot more interesting to me than my body mass index.

I’ll continue to ride my bicycle a lot, but not because it’s good exercise. I’ll ride my bike because riding a bike is fun. I’ll ride my bike to the market, but not to conserve fuel or save the environment. Those are good things. to be sure, and very commendable. I’m a big fan of conserving fuel and saving environments. But I’m riding because getting on a bike makes me feel like I’m twelve years old. I’m not going to be maintaining a certain pace, I’m not going to be trying to burn calories, I’m not going to be seeking out hills because they offer a challenge. If I ride up a hill, it’ll be because the damned hill is in my way. I’m much more interested in getting to the other side of the hill than in my ‘optimal heart rate while exercising.’

I’ll continue to cook the foods I want and eat them because I enjoy them. I won’t count calories, I won’t pay attention to how much salt or sugar there is, I’ll use real butter, I’ll eat fish because I like fish, I’ll eat pork because I was raised by a Southern woman, I won’t eat a lot of red meat because I don’t like a lot of red meat, I’ll eat glutens because I don’t know what a fucking gluten is and I’m not going to bother to learn, I’ll eat veggie burgers because I like they way they taste, I’ll eat organic foods if they’re available and I can afford them because they usually taste better, I’ll eat whatever I think might taste good even if it’s not healthy and even if it’s actively bad for me. I like food.

My body is not a temple. I have absolutely no interest in living in a temple. You know what my body is? It’s an alley.


It’s a pretty clean alley, but it’s an alley. The buildings are old and beat up, but they’re still standing. There are some weeds and oil stains and odd bits of wiring hanging loose here and there, and it’s been patched up a few times, but that’s what happens, right? Here’s the thing: you can relax in an alley. It’ll never be pretty, but it can be tidied up. You can’t relax in a temple, unless you’re a priest — and even then you have to be on your best behavior. Nobody has to be on their best behavior in an alley.

Okay, that alley metaphor? It’s kind of stupid. Mostly I just wanted to include a photo in this post and when I was looking through my files and saw the alley photo, I thought of the analogy. So I decided to use it. That’s pretty much my approach to staying fit too. If I do something healthy, it’s usually because it doesn’t conflict with something else I’m doing. The fact is, I’m moderately healthy — but being healthy isn’t a goal; it’s a side effect. Maybe if I ever become actually unhealthy that’ll change. But for now, no.

So really, thanks for all the good thoughts for the coming year, and thanks for being concerned about my physical well-being, and thanks for inviting me to become or stay healthy with you. It’s very sweet and thoughtful. But no.

I thank you, and again I thank you. But no.

3 thoughts on “thanks, but no

  1. So many people want to help. So many. That is a long as you are doing it yourself, not with any help beyond rah-rah words of encourgement and certainly *not* from some socialist government intervention!


  2. Well Mr. Greg. I KNOW I am one of those people who was encouraging my friends to “get fit with me in 2013”. I assure you, my facebook status update was actually specifically targeting a few friends who might need help. My question posed was- “How would your life change if you got fit in 2013?”. The query was a result of wondering out loud how a certain friends life could be improved if she could say- walk up a hill without getting winded or climb stairs without pain. That said, I would like to share with you how “being fit”, has provided dramatic and joyful benefits in my life.
    1. I also like to ride my bicycle. This year I got to ride it up one of the most scenic mountain roads in the world without any car traffic to inhibit my views or scare the bejebus out of me. I rode 120KM from sea Level Vancouver to the top of the mountains at Whistler BC in the Gran Fondo Whistler. It was hard. It was also very very fun.
    2. I like to take photographs of beautiful places. Because I have good conditioning, I don’t have to take my photos of mountains from the side of the road. I can simply walk up the next mountain and take the sort of photographs that inspire and inform dreams! I like that I can do that. Sometimes it’s hard. But it’s always fun.
    3. I also like to eat. Korean short ribs, gourmet hamburgers, cookies and steak. Because I am fit, I know I can continue to enjoy cooking and eating amazing food whenever I want. I can simply burn off the extra calories the next day doing something active.
    4. I like fashion and fun colorful clothing. It’s a bonus that I can walk into any shop, pick up an item in my size and know it will fit. Straight off the rack.

    At 44, staying active and keeping healthy can be challenging but like you, I only participate in activities that make my heart sing and my mouth smile. I like to dance, hike, bike, walk, run and play. Encouraging my younger friends, my contemporaries and my folks to join me simply means I have more friends to have fun with in the great Alberta outdoors. It’s a winning proposition for me and for them. I “have” played a small part in changing many friends attitudes to getting off the couch. I know I don’t need to change yours! That said, come up for a visit some time. I’ll take you hiking. I might have a bit of a competitive streak when it comes to men and hiking. As a woman, it’s fun to “crush” your male hiking companion. Not that I would try to crush you. Nope. I promise to take it easy on you.
    with Love as always-


    • Lori darlin’, I have absolutely no doubt you could walk me under the table. Okay, that didn’t make sense, but you know what I mean.

      In any event, I wrote this in response to folks who specifically sent me group emails or facebook messages. I think they included me because they know I walk a lot and ride my bike a lot and so must have assumed I did those things in order to keep fit. They all had plans that involved things like charts and goals.

      I very much LIKE being mostly fit, but it’s a by-product of my life rather than a goal. I also know I can get caught up measuring things. I used to have a speedometer on my bike. It kept track of how many miles I rode, my average speed, my top speed, and all sorts of stuff. And for reasons I can’t even hope to explain, I found myself trying to be sure I always maintained an average speed of 10mph.

      The one day I had a little incident involving an abrupt and unexpected stop, and the speedometer got…well, smashed. I didn’t immediately replace it, and I found I was enjoying riding a LOT more because I wasn’t constantly checking the speedometer. Even then I wasn’t riding to keep fit, but I was letting the speedometer dictate my pace…and I’m happier without it.

      But you’re right. If I wasn’t moderately fit, life wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable. I’m content with being moderately fit. Given that I’ve sustained a surprising number of injuries from my various careers over the course of my long and somewhat wicked life, ‘moderately fit’ is about as good as I can expect without surgically replacing a joint here or there.

      That said, if I ever return to that part of Canada I’ll certainly take you up on your offer to go hiking. I wouldn’t even care if you crushed me, so long as we could have Korean short ribs afterwards.


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