Diary of a Gen X Mom: How to get exercise

Really an entry for a geeky writer mom, but we’ll pretend I’m typical GenX

This might make me sound lame, but I just re-opened my Pokémon account.

Like most people I had stopped playing months ago when the novelty wore off. I got busy with election writing. Then the holidays came. Pocket monsters didn’t make the cut.

But exercising also didn’t make the cut. Honestly, it happens every year at holiday time. One year it led me to a horrible haircut, but that is another story.

This year, I realized that I needed something to re-inspire my desire to take a walk. I sit at my desk too much. I’m an ideas gal. When I feel pressure to achieve, it has nothing to do with physical feats. I will go over my scheduled writing time to polish a piece for persuasion, or over my reading time to finish a story or to digest a difficult concept. So I need something to motivate me to get up and take a walk — besides the 10 minute walk-arounds I do to break writers block, which work wonders on the block but don’t do much for my heart rate.

It started with a phone call

My geeky exercise renewal started last week. I was talking to a girlfriend on the phone. We were just going to have a short work talk (she’s also a colleague) but we fell into a nice chat and kept going. During our chat, I paced around our dining room table. I like to walk and talk. That is totally normal for me.

(I have some hysterical footage of my then three-year-old daughter talking to my mother on the phone doing the same thing in our kitchen. She started clockwise and then decided to about face and go counter-clockwise in the middle of a story about the grocery shop.)

At the end of our conversation, I realized that I should’ve been walking somewhere other than around the dining table while talking to her. Now, I’d spent my walking time on the phone. I wouldn’t give up the conversation. Absolutely not. We need more friendship feeding in modern life.

But I had been forgetting about the walking. It was late February and I hadn’t gotten back into my walking habit even though the holidays were long over, the election was way long over, and the turning over new leaves of good habits mood of the new year was over.

I wasn’t prioritizing exercise. In truth, I haven’t prioritized exercise in a long time. Most people when faced with this need to renew a commitment will set measurable goals. These days we get fitbits or use the activity app on our watches to count our steps and measure our heart rate. I’m already on record (again, geeky record) with my objections to life by data.

I don’t like step or calorie counting, either. I’m also not going to run a marathon, even to prove to myself that I could. I never liked running — I was a swimmer — and my knees wouldn’t allow it, anyway.

I know it sounds stilly — it feels silly to type it — but a pocket monster game on my phone does what step counting does for others. I’ll take a walk telling myself I’ll catch one critter to continue my first catch-of-the-day streak, and then when I’m walking, I might take one more loop to hatch an egg, or speed up so I can hatch one before I need to get back to a deadline. A walk I would have skipped for a deadline becomes a 30-minute one. Or a 30-minute walk becomes a 40-minute one.

So just when I thought I couldn’t add another distinguishing feature to my geek CV, I’m walking though my neighborhood catching Pokemon, tickled pink that Niantic added a bunch of new species in February.

I also got an under desk elliptical. Because I know myself. I’ll get bored of the game again but I will still need the exercise.

Teacher of life admin and curator of commentary. Occasional writer.

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