Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dilemma

Life is somewhat busy at the moment.

I’m trying not to bang on too much about the wedding. It would be only too easy for this blog to slip into “Our wedding, our reception, our music, our orders of service, my dress, my hair – oh, I’m sure you want to hear every detail about how it’s such hard work getting married…” Which would be:

a) boring
b) not really true as to the hard work
c) not like me, really.

So: it’s not THAT much hard work. There are things I’m worrying about, such as my dress (last seen in several pieces and unfortunately transparent in places it shouldn’t have been) but it would be a lie to say it’s haunting my every waking hour. It does take up a bit of time, though, and it’ll no doubt increase as the day gets nearer.

There’s also the house-hunt. We don’t have particularly big ideas – one spare bedroom to put the computers in is about the height of our ambitions – but we want to be able to get into town fairly easily from wherever we are (the D. B. wants to cycle to work, for one thing). So we’ve been spending most Sundays looking at houses and flats, and our lunch-hours going to arrange mortgages and things. All of which takes a bit of concentration.

And unfortunately the D. B. is not entirely out of his bout of depression. It was great having his brother here, and we did lots of things, including climbing Arthur’s Seat. And on Sunday at teatime, my sister suddenly walked in. She’d decided to visit from Sheffield, where she’s studying, and wanted to surprise us. She succeeded. (She's making a bit of a habit of it.) So it was very jolly having everyone together. Alas, once his brother went down south again, the D. B. had a bit of a relapse. There’s a bit of a tendency for this to happen either before or after a keenly anticipated event.

If there was only some tangible reason for the depression, we could do something about it. As it is, however, all I can do is cuddle him a lot, make soothing noises and hope things will get better soon. Which it will, and indeed I think (and hope) it’s starting to. But it’s a bit wearing for both of us. Every so often it gets a bit much, which it did for me on Tuesday – I ended up crying into his shoulder in the street, which is never a good idea.

I stayed home from choir yesterday evening (I had a headache) and it was really nice to have a bit of time unplanned. I didn’t lie around all evening – we did some weddingy things and the D. B. recorded some minidisks – but there wasn’t a timetable.

Obviously it would be good to have more unplanned time together. Really good.

What it boils down to is this – Mum thinks I ought to spend less time at the gym. And maybe I should.

I don’t feel as though I spend hours and hours working out. What I normally do is this:

20+ minutes running, 5 minute walk to cool down.

Either
12 (or as near as possible) Gravitron pull-ups
12 seated crunches on Abdominal machine
3 sets of 12 benchpresses
3 sets of 12 kneeling rows with dumbbell
3 sets of 12 tricep extensions with dumbbell
3 sets of 12 back tricep curls (if time – sometimes I do these instead of the tricep extensions)
3 sets of 12 bicep curls

Or
12 Gravitron pull-ups (I really don’t know why I always do these, but they’re quick)
3 sets of 12 deadlifts
3 sets of 12 squats (or as near as possible)
12 seated leg extensions
3 sets of 12 calf raises

Then
20 minutes on elliptical crosstrainer.

In a perfect world, this would take about an hour and a half overall, and I’d be home by 7.30. But it isn’t a perfect world. Sometimes I stay at work a bit later. Sometimes the place is very busy, and you have to wait around to use the weight platforms or the squat cage or the benches. This means the free weights might take 45 minutes, or longer (they used to take an hour before I split it into upper-body and leg days). Then there’s some time needed for changing before and after, and drinking water (especially after running). Then I have to wait for a bus to get home, which usually means walking for about 10 minutes to a more-frequented bus stop (and then it takes at least 20 minutes to get home from there). Sometimes I don’t get home until after 9.30. And I can see that this leaves the D. B. on his own for an awfully long time. Being sad.

In theory, I’d like to do all of this three times a week. It’s not as though the weight is exactly dropping off me. In practice, I frequently only make it there on Monday and Thursday, and if we’re doing something strenuous on Saturday (such as climbing Arthur’s Seat) I’ll consider that a workout. But I’m also out for a couple of hours on Tuesday at a class, which I have to do, and then I go to choir on Wednesday. It seems like overcommitment and yet I don’t feel I’m doing that much.

I’d hoped the D. B. might join the gym too, and then we’d be together although not at home. But he’s decided he’d rather just run on the road for free. That’s fine, if it suits him. I’d also sort of hoped he might join the choir, but he doesn’t fancy it. Again, that’s OK. But it does seem that we really should be spending more time together. We love each other and we have to be apart 8 hours a day, 5 days a week as it is.

Am I being selfish? Do I do too many things? The class ends next month, and the choir ends in April, but that doesn’t solve the problem at the moment. We have discussed other possibilities, such as buying some dumbbells, and replacing the upper-body day with doing the exercises at home and going for a run. However, we’ve singularly failed to buy any dumbbells (or even investigate what they’d cost) and although the D. B. runs in all weathers, frankly the treadmill looks pretty tempting at this time of year. Also – and this sounds a bit odd, I know – I’d rather not do my exercises with people I know around me. I’d feel silly. I’ve got used to doing them in a specialised environment where people aren’t going to talk to me or say “That doesn’t look like much fun” or the phone’s going to ring. And at that rate, I’d be paying full whack to go to the gym maybe just once a week. Is it worth it?

Another suggestion of Mum’s (just this morning) was that I move to another gym. There is one nearer to our house, but it’s one of a chain. I’d have thought they were unlikely to have as good a free weights section as the gym I’m at presently – if any. And they’re probably much more expensive. I’m paid up until (I think) July at my current gym, and it cost me £100 for a year. Which I know is a brilliant rate, and I like my gym, even if it is a bit crowded right now. Shauna’s gym, which isn’t particularly fancy, charges her £47 a month. And would I still go as regularly, if I was coming home first and then having to get myself together to leave the house again? Wouldn’t the temptation be to stay in more often?

I don’t know. I don’t want to sound like a Cassandra. Maybe this will all sort itself out in summer, when I’ll be doing less, there won’t be as many students making the gym busy, and the weather will be nice enough to go running outside (maybe). But it isn’t summer, it’s February, and I don’t know what I should do NOW. I’d really welcome any suggestions, even if they’re saying “Yes, I think you’re being selfish and you should drop some activities or shut up about it.”

So let me know what you think…

7 comments:

Shauna said...

wow... crazy times. my full sympathies, matey!

with so much change and upheaval and busy-ness going on at the moment, that would be more than enough to bring on the depression symptoms with anyone. and the whole getting hitched/moving thing is particular unsettling... just makes every day life seem that little bit more crazy.

as for the gym, i always find it's better to join the one that is the most convenient location, even if it's more expensive. it's just too easy to make excuses if the location is even the tiniest bit out of your way :) a gym closer to home can work well, coz you can always get changed before you leave work, go straight there and work out, then it's quicker to get home afterwards. and more convenient for a quick visit on the weekend!

(or maybe you could split up your workouts so you did weights on one day cardio on another? or do some high-intensity cardio so you can shorter sessions, like squeeze ina sesssion at lunch or before/after work, so you don't need to be there as long then could be with the boy... hmmm it's a tricky one! it's so freaking hard to juggle things sometimes!)

Shauna said...

that was a rather garbled comment. but in summary, hope you're doing okay! hang in there tiger xx

Zara said...

I hope I don't come off as sounding selfish, but I really, really don't think you should shorten your gym time or give up activities that you enjoy. I understand that D.B. has more time to be sad when you're occupied, but you are embarking on a life-long journey with him while working really hard to be healthy for yourself (and I assume to be healthy for him and any future children?). You are so kind and compassionate and I understand why you'd worry about D.B. being sad while you're making this time to be healthy. But at the same time, it's not like it's easy for you and you are out drinking at a bar with your friends or something, lol. You are doing things that are central and key to your health and happiness. If you dropped those things to take care of D.B., I think that you'd both suffer in the long run.

Any relationship involves compromise, and the decisions you make now will pave the road for the future. I know D.B. must be so proud of the accomplishments you've made and deep down he will understand that you are doing these things so that you are happier and healthier and can bring more to the relationship that way. I think it's fabulous that you are trying to get him interested in other activities, too, and I really hope he finds something that interests him, also. Even the closest couple benefits from individual growth. And you've probably realized that one of the best therapies for depression is to keep occupied with something, even if D.B. hasn't quite bought into that yet. ;)

I'm sure there's a compromise somewhere that will improve the situation and I know you can make those decisions. Honestly, I'm not sure why your mom is having these conversations with you instead of D.B. I understand that you and your mom may be close, but it really boils down to what you and D.B. feel works. If it were my mom, I'd tell her to butt out, lol!

I'm so proud of you for getting your workouts in, nurturing your artistic side (choir), working, AND planning a wedding and such. If you need a break from these things, I hope it's because you want one and not because your mum said she thinks you should cut back. ;)

P.S. I hope I didn't come off too preachy. It sounds like you've already thought through this but I just wanted to make sure that you know I DON'T think you're being selfish, at ALL! :)

YP said...

Hmm, I wouldn't manage to leave the house if I got home from work and then had to go out again for the gym. I'd try running outside together, but then I'm a bit unhinged when it comes to running, so you may have more sense than me! I wouldn't give stuff up if you enjoy it, just because of a bit of guilt, but I don't have anyone at home to come back to, so I've never really had to make this sort of decision. Choose what feels right for you, if you resent having to give something up it won't help your relationship anyway in my opinion.

Rosemary Grace said...

It sounds as though you might need to scale back SOMETHING, but don't make it the gym time purely because that seems the easiest and most "selfish" thing to drop. It's all so important!

Perhaps the best thing is to remind yourself that a lot of what's hard right now is temporary: wedding plans and house-buying. Perhaps until one other thing drops off the table, just go ot the gym once a week, but I think it would feel a lot like giving up if you stopped going altogether.

I swear, it does get better! You won't really see how much time and mental energy is going into the wedding planning stuff until you're out the other side, all happily hitched. There is a lot of transition going on right now, for you and D.B. and transitions are scary, even then you're transitioning ot somehting GOOD.

I'd imagine you guys are feeling a bit in-betweeny right now because you're living together, but not ALONE together. That must be hard sometimes.

Sorry if this is a bit rambly, I'm full of pain killers!

BethK said...

Wow, it's been a while since I made it this far down my blogs-to-read list. Sorry about that. I hope things are sorting themselves out a bit.

Seems like you've gotten a lot of excellent advice already. I'm chiming in on the side of not giving up your work-outs. You've got a lot on your plate right now (figuratively, of course!) Exercise helps to relieve stress and it releases the chemicals your brain is going to need to stay on an even keel until everything settles down. It's not going to help the D.B. if you start going off the rails from the stress. I'm sure your mom means well, but a better question for her to be asking at this point is: "What can I do to help?". Or better still, don't wait for her to ask. Just give her a chunk of your wedding to-do list and tell her to have at it.

Oh, and I, for one, vote on hearing lots about the wedding and the house hunting. That stuff's vicarious fun, too.

K said...

Hello, people. Thanks for all the replies! I haven't collapsed into gloom (or indeed given up the workouts)... just very, very busy. I will update soon. Honest.