You might notice that the title does not include the word "triumphant." That's ok. Neither does it include the word "disastrous." Or "heartbreaking." For me, this is good.
I returned to the gym because I'd pieced together lately that maybe I was more creative when I was going to the gym regularly. It does make me feel great. I've also been told I'm nicer when I work out. Apparently this is a good thing.
With the duration of time since I'd last been, I had to look for my gym bag and give some thought to what my lock combination might be. Forgetting that could be a problem and it's one I've had to work through before. I do know my grade 7 locker combo but that never helps. (It's 39-3-50 and, as the lock was stolen a few years ago, I'm very willing to share it. Go ahead and give it a try. My lock is out there somewhere.)
Eager to be properly prepared for my return, I had my membership card in my hand before I got inside the building. Still, though, I had to pass through the electronic card reader. While I prefer an electronic device in such a situation to a possibly athletic person checking my card and offering me a look of condescension, restrained humour or outright pity, these devices have their own ways of suggesting that I don't belong in a gym. As I presented my card in numerous ways and continued to receive no recognition, lines like "Not you again, We thought you'd given up, The gym teachers were right, Or the mean ones anyways" floated through my head. I persisted though and got in. That, at least, was a triumph.
My confidence had increased a bit by the time I walked past all the people using elliptical machines. Many of those people looked at me and not in a friendly way. I choose to believe that I caught their attention because I'm not usually there at that time of day (or, really, any time of day) and not because they took an immediate dislike to me. I would expect disliking me to take longer but maybe not. Regardless, my attitude by that time was "Yeah, I'm back, deal with it." Somehow they did.
The 30 minutes I spent on the treadmill was uneventful. The tv choices were disappointing (tennis on a small screen or a morning talk show that I don't enjoy no matter who the new co-host is) but my mind was happily occupied so it didn't matter. I kept setting new goals of time, glancing at my heart rate, and not dwelling on the low number of calories I used. Another treadmill user lost his footing and stumbled off the back of the machine but I didn't do that and he's going to be just fine.
I left the gym today feeling better than when I went in and I did feel more creative. I will go back much sooner this time (really!) and I want to go regularly. Exercise alone does not lead to rapid weight loss (that would be nice) but there are benefits far more important than that. Even if the card reader never accepts me, I will keep trying to convince it and myself that I belong. My return was not triumphant but it was good. I like exercising and I like it when my creativity flows. And I'm glad that, on my first day back at least, it wasn't me who fell off the treadmill. I can save that for another day.