A Single Step

36 days ago, I was melting into Matt and Natalie’s giant couch. I was slightly short of breath, with one leg propped up on the coffee table. It was Thanksgiving Day.

“I only had one plate, and it’s not like it was overflowing!” I wheezed in glossy disbelief. My confusion was somewhat justifiable. Matt has a rare turkey technique. Wielding a giant syringe, he channels dark magic to inject buffalo sauce into various pathways, then dusts the entire bird with a matching dry seasoning before deep-frying the turkey. No mortal stands a chance. Honestly, I went into the day with every intention of not overeating. One plate (honest!) later, I was semi-conscious and lounging in front of the TV, eyes rolling around while I daydreamed of an out-of-the-blue points surge from a WR or RB that I hoped nobody else had noticed. Naturally, I wasn’t winning anything in the DraftKings contests. My belly seemed to be growing larger by the minute. At that point, I wasn’t drinking anything, and I wasn’t snacking. I wasn’t doing anything at all.

That’s when it hit me. With Christmas right around the corner, and most of the shopping done, I was kind of in a state of cruise control toward the end of the year. I had a bizarre thought. What could I do that day to kick off a new era in life? What was missing? What action could I take that would begin a journey of a thousand miles?

My mild devotion to doomed DraftKings contests had encouraged superstitious behaviors. Horse betters had their weirdo routines, and athletes had their pregame rituals. Matt and I had “Pittsburgh pushups”–regular pushups that generated mystical energy to power the Black & Gold to a W. Nothing more than a drunken excuse to pretend that real activity on our part could influence the destiny of a football game. Anyway, X amount of pushups later (I’m sure I didn’t reach a hundred), I actually felt a little better. Was it possible that the smallest amount of activity on my part created a feeling of achievement? Was it real? It had been so long, I couldn’t even remember what real physical activity felt like.

The next morning, I went into the garage and got onto our nearly decade-old treadmill. Recalling the best motivational quote ever (thanks, reddit), I got started. Nothing extravagant. Just a run/walk combo to get started. Something to jar the gears and knock off some rust. A spark to ignite The Machine. Thirty-five days later, I feel better. Every morning I get up to exact revenge against what I might have become if had I continued to do the exact same thing for another year.

More movement led to better eating, and also to a real accountability to self. The goal is to be better than I was yesterday. I think I am on to something. This year I will be documenting the journey every day. It might be something cool I found, a thought I have had, or an idea I want to explore. It’s funny that it took a pandemic for me to finally do this, but here we are. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

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