Saturday, August 31, 2013

Insignificant Pleasure and Sacrifice

Matt here.

August has gone pretty well. I've had a few excellent dates, a few mini roadtrips, a few visits from friends, a few job offers, and a few top-notch meals--lots of good things went down over the past thirty-something days. One thing I haven't been doing, though, is going to the gym.

For the past several months my roommate and I have gone together four or five times per week, and I've been pretty proud of it. Not only could I see my pecs starting to fill out and my biceps get defined, I felt healthy and strong. Now that I haven't been for several weeks, the difference is pretty severe.

I haven't been going because, let's just say it, there are other things I want to be doing when I get home from work in the evening. Sometimes I'd rather eat dinner instead of be hungry for a couple more hours. Sometimes I really want to read a book or practice the piano, or (more recently) maybe I just want to sit in front of the tv and absorb vicarious and imaginative experiences, often involving vampires who don't sparkle.

Maybe it seems like a silly thing to be concerned about, but the truth is that I'm noticing a distinct drop in my quality of life. My back pain is resurfacing, my sleep schedule is swinging everywhere, and my motivation and energy levels have sunk into the basement. I feel gross, and I don't like it.


This all reminds me of being at BYU, back before my cohort had chosen sides between the gay and the church. Most of us were going to church even if we didn't believe in it, and many of us were "experimenting" even if we believed it was wrong. We were still building up the whatever-it-was we needed to push away outdated beliefs or hold ourselves in check. It was such a raw time.

And I guess I'm not building up the whatever it is I need to hold myself in check, health-wise. I've never had a problem turning down sex, but cookies? Ice cream? Different stories. I know I should go to the gym like I used to know I should go to priesthood meeting, but I just can't get myself to go. It's the other side of the table, I guess. With the gay, I needed to loosen up a bit and disregard the church's limits. With my health, I need to rein myself in and show a little discipline.

The decision to be healthy means giving up insignificant pleasures for long-lasting, overall well being, just like they told us about Mormonism. Give up those relationships, do as we say, and you'll be happier. It seems to me the principle of sacrificing insignificant but immediate pleasure is sound--it's the Mormon application that's flawed--and I intend to apply it more intentionally in my life over the coming months. 

I'm sick of feeling gross.


  1. Ha ha, interesting comparison. Good for you.

    I feel a NIGHT AND DAY difference between when I work out and when I don't. I don't know if maybe the difference is bigger for me than for other people, but sometimes I'll think about how little exercise all the people around me get, and it makes me wonder if a lot of potential and well-being isn't just wasted in our sedentary society.

  2. It _is_ wasted. Wastefulness is all around us, in so many forms. It makes me sad.