I went running yesterday, just two days after the first two feet of snow had fallen from the sky. The roads were still slick and the air was still brisk, but the scenery of the untouched white snow was worth the required ice-dodging and cold, icy breathe.
After the beautiful 5 mile or so refreshing run, I went inside only to immediately venture back outside on my porch to cool my body off. I plopped myself down on a chair still filled with inches of powdery, cold snow. It actually felt amazing. After a few minutes of enjoying the crisp air, I decided to come back inside before it looked like I peed myself and before the chair full of snow turned into sweatpants full of water. But, not before I grabbed myself a gigantic, glassy icicle hanging from the roof. After doing so, I proceeded inside, laid down on the floor, and relaxed until that entire icicle had melted in my mouth.
But my glorious run is not really what I want the focus of my post to be about today. Instead, I actually want to talk about what a man said to me as I passed him on my run yesterday. While running through the slippery slush-filled streets, I passed a man at the end of his driveway who called out, “If you have so much energy, there’s plenty of snow around to shovel!” I called back, “Yup, I already did some of that,” which was the truth. My dad and I had shoveled out everyone’s car in the driveway yesterday (4 cars) and helped to create a clear walking path amongst the solid 2 feet of snow.
But the man’s comment had me thinking my whole run home. Many people, particularly Americans, claim that they don’t have the energy and/or time to plow their driveway, or grow a garden, or cook their own food, so instead they pay someone, or some machine, to do it for them. At the same time, these same people will go to the gym and run and work their butt off for 1-2 hours at a time. After wasting all their energy, they’ll swing by and pick up take-out on their way home because after such a long day, they’re too tired to cook some food.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of working out and do so quite often, but I do not look highly of it when it gets in the way of actual, useful laborious hard-work. The effort put forth at the gym does nothing but produce a nice looking body. This same body can be shaped through doing hard work, such as gardening, that not only produces a healthy body, but healthy food and a healthy environment as well. Exercise is a necessity to keep a healthy and happy body and mind, but like the gym, acts such as shoveling the driveway and growing a garden are certainly a great workout. Laborious acts such as these allow you to actually reap some fruits of your labor besides solely an award winning body, and allow you to give back to those around you.
In the summer, I don’t usually bother wasting my money on the gym, and instead I stick to running on the roads and working in the outdoors around me. I get a nice ab workout through hoeing rows and whacking weeds in my garden, and an arm workout through lifting and shoveling huge piles of fertilizer to nourish my little babies. Mowing the grass and bending down to pick the vegetables isn’t bad for my legs either. And there’s no way I’d ever need to or want to waste my money (or health) on a tanning salon, for the hours spent outside in my garden give me both a beautifully and naturally sun-tanned body.
The man calling to me from the road was right. If I hadn’t helped shovel some snow, then I definitely shouldn’t of been running. There’s plenty of work that always needs to be done around the house or others’ houses that often going to the gym is just a waste of time. Lucky for me, I’m a young adult full of energy, so I can both shovel my share of snow and get my legs running alongside the beautiful snow-covered hills. However, looking back, I should have stopped my run and helped the man finish shoveling his driveway. My youthful energy could’ve been put to use to help someone else, rather than just wasting it all on myself.
Before you hit the gym, think about what you could be doing around your house, or maybe your neighbor’s house. Don’t waste your money on a snow blower or the snow plow man. Put those muscles to work and rely on your own body to dig yourself out. And if you have the land, I definitely advocate starting a garden this upcoming year (once the snow is gone, of course). If you don’t have the land, seek out the closest community garden and put your energy to use there. Use your energy to produce your own produce and cook your own healthy food creating a healthy, productive “you”.
America as a whole is becoming more and more technologized, driving many of us away from nature, which is why the environment around us is gradually falling to pieces. Many of us sit all day on computers at work, and then hop in our cars, drive to the gym, and plop ourselves on another machine, the treadmill. Then we drive home, microwave our food, and plant ourselves in front of the tv. It’s a nonstop cycle of technology and machinery usage, which wastes a lot of energy, harms the environment, and produces little for society.
We need to slow ourselves down and bring ourselves back to the Earth. Let’s use our inherent energy to actually do things that contribute to society, and spend some more time soaking up the inherently beautiful nature surrounding us, rather than contributing to its destruction.
A bit of a ranting, jumbled post, but hopefully you’re able to see what I’m getting at.