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Destroyer of Nations

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working out and overworked [Feb. 18th, 2012|03:51 pm]
Destroyer of Nations
It's been about 6 weeks that I've been going to the gym 6 days a week. A couple weeks in there I think I only went 5 days. In the past I've gone to the gym a lot, like my 3rd year of med school I was going almost every day for a while, but I've never really been consistent about it. There was something I read somewhere, or maybe I heard it in a pirated motivational MP3, or maybe I was lounging around contemplating things--regardless of where it came from, I've been thinking about consistency. In particular, consistency in working out.

It's actually more than that. It's easy to go to the gym (or kung fu, or to study, whatever) if I want to do it. Duh. But that excitement about doing whatever fades after a while. At first, the excitement keeps me going, then it starts to fade and I change things up a bit to keep it there (run instead of lift, do practice questions instead of reading books, etc), but soon that fades too and then I'm just not into it anymore.

That was never a problem with studying, because I never saw another option. I mean, I had to study. No question, it was my life, I had no choice.

But for working out, I never have to work out. It's never been an obligation. If I didn't go to the gym, then in a way I was rewarded. Instead of going to the gym, I got to play video games or paint or kick it with people. Even though I was going to the gym in the hopes of being stronger and feeling healthier and looking better, it's like I have two minds. One mind wants the outcome, and the other just wants to have fun. As long as the gym is fun, the minds are in accord, but then it stops being fun.

So a few months ago I decided to take away the fun from the gym. Or, maybe more accurately, decided to go to the gym regardless of how I felt about it. The decision was made before today, so it doesn't matter how I feel today, I'm obligated to go.

After these few weeks, it feels habitual. I want to go work out. It's not even fun, really, it just feels good. It feels good to get that extra rep, or to surprise myself and lift way more than I did the week before. And it feels good when I'm all sore and kind of achy the next day. It feels like I've accomplished something, even though it's just moving some heavy thing around for a few minutes and then putting it back where I found it.

The down side is that I only have time for 1 other thing in my life every night. Get home from work, go work out, then do 1 thing I enjoy. That sucks. I keep telling myself that I'll only work 20 or 30 hours a week when I'm done with this residency slavery gig. That kind of gets me through the days.

Work isn't bad. I love it. I love seeing people get better, seeing them enjoy life again. I even like it when the victories are small. Maybe this guy isn't out making his way in the world, but at least he isn't taking swings at the nurses anymore. I love that stuff. But I have this sort of smouldering exhaustion deep down. I think we all do. You have to. You can't do this sort of work at this pace and frequency and not be tired all the way down. Just do the work, smile, joke around whenever you can, be polite for as long as you can, go home and don't think about how you only get 4 days off in a month, don't think about call, don't think about the bad residents, don't think about how this is going to continue for another 2.5 years, don't think about how that amounts to 2.5 times 365 days of this.

It's actually not bad. I enjoy it. That's the mantra.

[User Picture]From: fredandcharlie
2012-02-19 12:44 pm (UTC)
Reminded me of this Ted talk about the present and future self: http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_goldstein_the_battle_between_your_present_and_future_self.html
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[User Picture]From: khagolgahan
2012-02-26 07:24 pm (UTC)
Pei this is excellent. Thanks!
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