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Why I’ll Probably Be Paying Exorbitant Gym Fees For The Rest Of My Life

Why I’ll Probably Be Paying Exorbitant Gym Fees For The Rest Of My Life

There’s a certain moment in a person’s life when one can longer ignore mortality’s ugly boar head. Life is no longer timeless and play time gets relegated to tossing back a few drinks with your friends at the bar versus tossing a ball with your friends on one of those endless, summer nights. You know — those nights when it’s 9 o’clock and you’re still running around laughing, skin itchy with sweat, grass stains and bug spray. You get home and knock back two glasses of iced tea and pass out.

There’s no such thing as “time” and no one is dying.

But it seems lately that every time I talk to anyone, anywhere, especially my parents, someone has kicked the bucket for one reason or another. Barring environmental reasons (which no one wants to hear about), the causes related to death usually have something to do with lifestyle, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, smoking, stress, etc. Hey look, I ain’t judgin’. At one time in my life, the Taco Bell siren song used to ring in my ears like a Pavlovian Dog. I’d be running to grab a box of absolute garbage for the cheapest price possible.

Let’s face it. Americans aren’t on the top of the food chain when it comes to health. We’ve been conditioned to eat crap, suck down coffee, take pills, and run our BMW’s into the cold, hard ground. Disregard for health is not only encouraged, it’s rewarded, especially in the work place.

So as I’m lapping around the indoor pool at my gym last night, waiting on a friend, aggravated that my gym fees just bounced up again, worried about the project I have to finish, I’m struck with this feeling of total and unapologetic gratitude. I have muscle in places I never had them before. I can feel my body getting stronger, my mood is elevated, and I get to enjoy and preserve my health and hang out with a friend for a little while before staring at my cold laptop all night. This is health insurance. Is it really that inconvenient?

Truth be told, I know people who drop three times what I pay on monthly gym fees on a single meal at the Outback or a couple rounds of drinks at the local pub. Which is all good. Life and food and drink are awesome. I enjoy these things, but I want a healthy body too.

Which begs the question of why we are tacitly being penalized for caring for ourselves in this country. Take a scroll around Whole Foods. Are these people high? Or should I inherit my friend’s attitude — “I have no problem justifying the cost of organic food — I don’t pay attention to my food budget.” I suppose that is well and good if you charge it up and worry about it later, but for those of us on a budget, we can still part-take. I’ve taken to finding good deals on organic (as much as possible) on lower priced grocery stores and farmers’ markets, making my own probiotics, staying away from the middle aisles, etc.

I guess the point is, health isn’t encouraged much at all here. Our managed care system makes so much loot off of our diseases via insurance premiums, medication and surgery and we’re just chasing their bouncing ball. In a profit-based healthcare system where you’re worth more diseased or dead, you have to outsmart them, because they’re going to make it difficult.

And outsmarting is sometimes the inconvenient part. Outsmarting and seeking out requires work.

But as I sat down to finish my project, I had ten times more energy than I would have, had I merely schlepped by ass from kitchen table to work station.

So since increased productivity is not a bad thing, nor is being above ground, I guess I’m willing to shell out a couple more bucks a month.

And I’ll have more energy for those endless, summer nights.

About Kristen Damasida

Writer and Photographer for Virago Magazine, Kristen grew up listening to vinyl and highlighting the dictionary. Her work has appeared in IrockJazz.com, The East Harlem Journal, Boston's Culturehive, the Ithacan and other publications. Her love of music cannot be eclipsed by her love of words. She's been coined the "Akira Kurosawa of Blogs" by such people as herself. An aspiring musician, she has a serious penchant for peach-flavored anything, multi-tasking, slow-paced thrillers and dreams of going back to South America, laying on the beach, and drinking from a coconut.

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