I have a job that requires physical fitness. That is to say, I must take (and pass) a test of my fitness twice a year. Push-ups, sit-ups, a timed run, that kind of thing. It's not that hard a test, frankly.
I keep failing it. Oh, I've always passed on the re-try, but as I get older, it sure gets harder. And they've just made the standards a bit tougher, too.
I'm back in the Greek island where I've spent so much time in the past two years, and finding time to work out is difficult with our schedule. And I'll be honest, I really hate working out anyway. But two years ago, Susie and I were rocking a great new diet plan, we'd lost bunches of weight, I was in decent shape (still struggling to pass the test, but doing much better generally), and things were looking good.
Then things happened. I got selected for some specialized training, and I was away for 4 months. I was still doing OK, and even though my test came due during the training, and I failed it, I not only made it on the re-test, I voluntarily retested at the earliest date, rather than the latest as I would usually have done.
Then, when I got back, it was Thanksgiving. And then I got sent away for three months over Christmas. The usual holiday pounds started to creep on.
Then when I came back, I was due to test. I motivated myself to do some extra work at home while I was off work for a while, and I surprised the heck out of myself by passing the first time. A squeaker, to be sure, but a pass is a pass. Then I got sent away again, back to this little brown Mediterranean island. I let myself slide. The weight crept back up. The run times got slower. The waist measurement got bigger. I began to dread the test. I got back home, and they assured me that there was NO WAY I was going anywhere until next spring. Good, I thought, I can use the next two months to get back in shape. One guy at work is running a Crossfit class, so I planned to get into that. Things looked promising.
Then our son got sick. He's such a stoic that he didn't complain of more than "I have a tummy ache" and then the next day he was throwing up. Stomach bug, right? Next day, more throwing up, and diarrhea (TMI?). If he's not better the next day, we'll go to the doctor. So, the next day, he gets up, looking skeletal, and throws up. So we take him to the doctor, and after 6 hours in the ER, they diagose a burst appendix, let's go take it out. (Actually, it wasn't that simple, but...)
So a week in the hospital with him (it was pretty serious, it turns out), then a week at home recovering from that stress, and toward the end of that I get the call. "We need you to go to Greece in three weeks."
Crap. My plans shot, I zombie my way through the next three weeks, and get to Greece, all the time knowing that I haven't got a chance in hell of passing this test.
I was right. Last Friday, I failed my fitness test. I'm disappointed in myself; not because I failed, I sort of expected that, but because I let myself get into that state. Again. Which means now I am required to work out, with a sort of personal fitness demon, 5 days a week. Actually, like ripping off a band-aid, I'm glad it's done. I hate to work out, but I'm doing it cheerfully (no snickering!) and I will pass this test.
I've gained back all of the weight I lost, I've spent more time away from home than at home in the past 2 years, I miss my wife, I miss my kids, my wife has got worries of her own at home and there's nothing I can do from here to help, and it's all dragging me just a little bit... down. The worst part is, the ONLY one of those things I have ANY control over is the weight/fitness, and it's about my least favorite thing in the world.
So yeah, I'm not in a great place right now. I'm just grateful that I know that my wife and children love me as much as I love them, and will continue to do so, no matter what.
(Don't worry, this isn't about to become a "woe is me" blog. More cheerfuller stuff coming soon.)