When the temperature painstakingly heaves itself above 50 degrees, the wind chill is nominal, there’s no hail and Jupiter aligns with Mars, I have to get cracking on some cardio nonsense. And that means trotting. Or prancing. Or, you know, walking. Whatever.
I hate sweat.
Where’s the best place to stroll and pretend it’s exercise? The cemetery.
I know, but it’s a good time! No one outpaces me or flies by me in skimpy shorts and a sports bra, and no one judges me for wheezing like a coal miner while grasping my trusty inhaler. Everyone is quiet and respectful … and dead. It’s a true judgment-free zone.
While sauntering, I can’t help thinking about life and death, for obvious reasons. And as I ponder dying, I decide living really is a perk.
Last night, as I was winding down my morbid workout, I realized I really need to calm down. I must stop agonizing over the most minuscule things, over which I have zero control and will not, in an overall, karmalike way, affect my life.
As I rotated around the peaceful plots, I actually assembled a mental list of all the things I’m going to let go — going to release into the universe so I can breathe again:
1. I will not sweat the fact that I am not sweating enough on my nightly prowl.
2. I will not sweat things such as gray hair, bifocals, calcium supplements, orthotics and menopause. Well, I might sweat menopause because sweat is a part of that deal. Fun.
3. I will not become agitated when my kids, who can eat anything they want, clean out my supply of protein bars, almonds, turkey jerky and diet cranberry juice and then frown at me when I’m forced to nibble on a Hershey Bar, commenting in a fake, offhanded way, “Oh, Maria. We don’t really need THAT now, do we?”
4. I will not sweat things festering in my son’s room/Dumpster, such as perspiration-sodden wrestling singlets and towels, left on his closet floor since March 15. I only realized they were there when the dogs ran out of his room holding their snouts and dry heaving.
5. I will not sweat rain. I will accept the rising and falling of water, accompanied by the rising and falling of my anxiety level. Each time I see a puddle forming, I will try not to imagine myself paddling down Wyoming Avenue astride a kayak, pulling my children on inner tubes. (My husband would be on his own, however, probably pulling only his golf clubs and divorce decree to higher ground).
6. I’ll also try not to sweat:
• My ever-present “check engine” light, both internal and external.
• Secondhand cigarette smoke.
• Litigious ridiculousness.
• No returns on underwear after it’s been worn.
• Toe hair.
• Irritable bowel, irritable kids and the negativity of unhappy humans.
• My plummeting hormone levels.
• Gas … all kinds.
My friends who rest in peace would be proud of me. Not only am I getting a nice cardio workout, but they’ve taught me a thing or two about exhaling and enjoying this life I’ve been given.