When I hear someone mention getting back in shape, only one picture immediately comes to mind for me. That is of some middle age fellow jogging along huffing and puffing, looking totally forlorn and close to collapse. He is like the little engine who could but can’t anymore.


Well, that is what used to come to mind. But what’s coming to mind these days is even more gripe worthy. It’s me not adding posts to this blog or episodes to this podcast. Sure, Gary is still Griping but is just too damn lazy to sit down at his keyboard and microphone and do what he knows he aught to be doing.


There; it’s out there so here’s the deal.


I was going along, keeping a pretty good pace posting and podcasting and then…. I’m not quite sure what happened. A situation came up that was using a lot of my time and focus and seemed more important than posting and podcasting. Please don’t be offended, but it seemed more important than talking with you. I’m feeling ashamed of myself but that’s the truth of it.



Were that all there was to it, I would apologize and you would likely say, “No problem,” and all would be well. But that definitely isn’t all there was to it.


That situation I mentioned only lasted for a couple of days but I kept obsessing about it for days on end. I would know that I should be posting and podcasting but just kept obsessing. And even when the obsessing started ramping down, I wasn’t posting or podcasting. Now what’s the deal with that?


I think it may be the same thing as with brushing my guide dog. Every morning I feed him and let him out to do whatever he does out there. When he comes back inside, I immediately brush him. I brush him whether I feel like it or not and whether he wants brushed or not. I just do it every morning. Sure, I know that it won’t be a problem if I skip a brushing now and then, but I don’t. What’s with that?


I think that if I skip a day brushing him, it will become easier to skip brushing tomorrow and so on. If I relax my routine even one day, I suspect I might eventually just quit brushing him at all. That is unlikely but I fear it might be true.


Going without posting or podcasting, going without talking with you runs a similar risk. I might just stop showing up and that would be sad for me. I hope it would be sad for you too, but nonetheless, I would be missing out on one of the best parts of my week.


So what’s happening? I’m nothing like an expert or anything on things like that but think it’s one of those slippery slope things. There are a few things that I think are important and really want to do. They have different requirements but the main thing is that they take time and require an increased level of physical, mental and/or emotional energy and attention. For that I need to be in shape and need to stay in shape. But there is a catch. It seems like there is always a catch with anything I really want to routinely do.


To stay in physical shape, I need to exercise regularly and routinely. If I don’t it’s nearly guaranteed that I’ll be off my game when it’s time to do what I really want to do. If my game is more mental than physical, I still need to exercise. But here it is usually called practice. If my game is more emotional such as art or music or perhaps some type of counseling or support, I still need to be in shape and stay in shape. Just as when I drop off with physical activity, if I drop off with mental or emotional activity related to my game, I fairly quickly am less able to do what I value doing.


This is the real catch. Most anything that I want to do well requires that I stay in shape, almost without exception. If I don’t do what I need to do to stay in shape, then the likelihood of doing what I do well is somewhere between low and laughable.


I’m not sure which is most gripe worthy, letting myself get out of posting and podcasting shape or having to get back in shape. Either way, it sucks. It needs done so I’ll do it. Although getting back in shape is seldom all that much fun, being in shape is totally terrific. And there is that cherry on my cake … Spending time with you.