This morning, Kris and I got up earlier than usual, for a reason that neither of us would have expected we would do when we came here: to exercise. More precisely, to run to the local park, do a bit more running, and then throw a frisbee around until we had to leave. We had resolved to run home as well, but the sheer biting cold of the morning put those aspirations to a swift end.
This was a major achievement for us. The previous day, we had resolved to do the same thing – get up early to go practice some frisbee and work off some of the vast amount of complex carbohydrates we have been eating since we got here. Neither of us are quite sure whether we’ve gained or lost weight while being here, but we decided that some exercise is a decent precautionary measure, lest we be beset on all sides by some more inches on our sides. However, despite a fairly confident assertion the night before that we would go through with our plan, when Tuesday morning came upon us through the shrill sound of our cellphone alarm, we rolled towards each other, let out a mutual grunt of “Oh hell no.”, and reset the alarm for our normal waking moment.
When I got to thinking what we did differently between Monday and Tuesday in terms of our preparation for exercise, I realized that the first difference lay in our language usage surrounding our early rising. On Monday, phrases like “It would be nice if we got up early to exercise.” and “If we exercise, we should throw some frisbee as well.” abounded. On Tuesday, on the other hand, there was a good deal more “When we exercise, we must remember to put on extra layers.” and “There will be no laying in bed this time, gosh darnit.”. Our language was far more certain in the nature of the exercise, and this led us to seeing our morning run as a definite thing, and not simply a whimsical, idealistic possibility.
On top of this, our actions were also far more determined. We both acknowledged the need to get up the night before, and even planned the morning accordingly, from the moment we woke up until the moment we left the house for work. We gave each other one last pep talk the night before, in preparation for the dreaded coming of slightly less sleep. Actions such as these gave our idea direction and momentum before we even executed it.
This difference got me thinking about how we got here in the first place. It was not some flight of fancy – it was months of planning, taking an English course, and infinitesmal applications and forms (mostly filled out by Kristen and not myself) that led us to getting up for some fresh air before work. I realized once more that most things in life don’t fall in your lap – you have to get up from your lazy chair, do some legwork, and never stop until you have it. If all you do is sit and wait, you’ll end up with a lap filled with rotten fish, crusty Cheetos, and self-pity. I may not be someone who made a million at 16, but I can say that the work is worth it when you end up on the other side of the world with the one that you love. Not every day will be bliss, but it will certainly give you some stories to tell your friends. Or the Internet.