JoAnn Gometz

Writing | Editing | Content Strategy

Frugal Freelance Fitness

I need to climb a thing. Or row a thing. Or actually move at all this week, although that's unlikely to happen. With freelance projects on deck, a contracts exam just completed, an interview with a former cellmate of Mr. Khánjání coming up, contractors in my house most of the week, interviews to conduct in Montreal and Maine, and two chapter drafts due this weekend ... well, I'm resigned to becoming one with my computer screen and a seated position over the next few days. Breathing the slow, controlled way rather than the fast, hyperventilating way is an accomplishment right now.

For someone who has made returning to fitness a major goal this year, this is not the ideal week. My low-quality-but-available exercise bike is currently topped by the tax documentation I need to send my accountant. My weights and spare sneakers and exercise cards are jammed inside an end table. Exercise balls inhabit the closet. The idea of unplugging the Apple TV to plug in the DVD player seems far too complex for the limited likelihood of actually making it through a DVD workout. Best of all, it's been frigid outside for days and now there's snow, ice, and a 60-degree jump followed by a 30-degree drop in temperature in the forecast, so the appeal of wandering the great outdoors has waned.

It's odd, but I make more healthful eating choices at times like this (for which I give myself big props). That's in part because I force myself to stop and chow down at reasonable hours so I don't burn out or wind up awake all night because I'm eating dinner when I should be sleeping. While watching my slim budget, I've taken to making very specific grocery lists and then requiring myself to eat at home all the time unless I'm meeting friends or find myself out of the house for work or school purposes. The technique has the added benefit of reminding my tastebuds that they like fruit more than cookies and spices more than salt.

Needless to say, if physical fitness is right off the list for a few days, mental fitness is also questionable. Oh, I'm fine with the stuff right in front of me, but I have tunnel vision. Make a decision about anything outside the bubble? Not a chance. Wrap Ayyám-i-Há presents? Nope! Make plans for upcoming events? No way. Have a conversation not related to what I'm doing? Nuh-uh. Just. Keep. Swimming.

So I won't get to climb a thing or row a thing for a while. There's no chance I'll be clambering down the stairs and rocks at Bass Harbor Head for some time to come, both because of time and because ice and cliffs don't mix. But maybe, if the clock and the weather cooperate, I'll get to wave hi to the ocean and eat clams at Bob's on my whistle stop later this week. Seawater and fried clam strips make the world right. And that is the best kind of fitness.