Spring is the hardest season for me, health wise, because I stop sleeping about when February hits. I never sleep well, but just as soon as I’ve settled into a January of hope, maybe even a few nights in a row of five or six hours sleep, my body says, nope, you only get two. Zero if you’re lucky. Sometimes, May kicks me to the curb with only a few minutes of sleep here and there. I’ll be honest; there were a couple Mays in my life when I was drinking a bottle of wine a day just to relax. Alcohol, obviously, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and red wine has the ability to decrease brain inflammation, making relaxation and a few minutes of sleep possible. No other alcohol has the same effect, in my experience. Drunk in a month other than May (again, my experience), red wine can make an entire night of sleep possible, if brain inflammation is the cause of the insomnia. Doctors like to claim alcohol disrupts sleep, but most doctors are full of…shaving cream. They just repeat the same ludicrous advice, and then prescribe sleep medications that are like throwing gasoline on top of a brain already on fire. Granted, their drugs actually might work for people who don’t suffer from brain fire. The problem with many doctors is they lack ambition and curiosity; they don’t actually want to find out what’s wrong with a patient. Patient in. Prescribe appropriate prescription. Patient out.
That was a huge digression. This post was meant to be about exercise. However, it’s about exercise in the wake of intense lack of sleep. Over the years, I’ve found that I’ll give up writing, which has included blogging for some years now, I’ll give up friends — I’ll give up literally everything I can in my life (family and paid work I can’t give up) while in the throes of exhaustion. And yet, I’ve never mentally managed to give up exercise.
Being unwell is a good way to find out what’s really important in life. Family and work should always be at the top. Btw, I’m leaving out spiritual considerations because faith should walk with a person everywhere. If faith isn’t integral to a person’s soul, what’s the point of religion? It’s not something that can be left behind like a smart phone or a keyring. And so family and work are at the top of my list. What I do with the rest of my energy reserves demonstrates what I care about. For me, that’s exercise. Why? How did it come to this?
It’s like a drug, I think. It boosts energy, attitude, and well-being. There are so many varieties that getting bored is unlikely. The only cardinal rule is to never listen to the exercise jackasses who think they know everything. They will even claim if I exercise their way, I won’t have any insomnia at all. Jackasses. Exercise is to be enjoyed, and I generally enjoy dance fused with strength-training, the kind that reminds me of being in dance class. Usually, these workouts involve push-ups, which is good because I don’t waste money or time at the gym.
Thinking back on my life in which I’ve obsessively been exercising for the last thirty years, I have to say it’s my main schtick. More than writing. More than taking classes. I don’t know what else to say.
***It takes me forever to write a blog post. In the meantime, I ran into an old math professor in the beer aisle at the grocery store, and he’s full of inspirational talk, like, come take a class, we’re going to have a good group this fall. Groan. I have to. I really do. Exercise just makes me think I’m accomplishing and doing, doing, doing. But it’s all a lie.