Jumping in and out of trailers lined with black mold, running around for “39.75” hours a week throwing away subpar donations, and otherwise cleaning the warehouse in the back of some busy thrift store all weren’t enough to get me in as good of shape as I am now, even when I skip a day rowing. Why do we want to buy a magic pill to solve our fitness problems? Is that why we often donate?
Maybe we buy the tools we think we need?
My dad’s dad told him: “If you’re going to do something once, buy the cheapest tool. If you’re going to do it often, buy the best quality tool.” To explore this idea, if I didn’t know anything about rowing machines but I kinda liked the idea of owning one, I might be tempted to buy even a cheap one. They hold their value, will sell easily, and are specific enough where I doubt just “anyone” will buy it like, say, a treadmill or elliptical.
What if that “best quality tool” is on sale?
Let’s say there were a free top-of-the-line elliptical available with delivery. Even with my living environment nearly completely decluttered, (but, don’t get me wrong, it’s still weeks away from being fully packed,) I wouldn’t be able to fit the elliptical anywhere sane, let alone be able to use it as much as I use my rower. What if my next living accommodations won’t allow for the rowing autonomy I’ve had over the years?
I won’t donate it.
I’ll only sell it if I get an upgrade. I can put it into storage, if, say, I need to buy a monthly gym membership because wherever I reside next won’t let me row. There are quieter rowers that I would quickly consider buying because, for me, paying for a gym membership isn’t worth the price of just borrowing a rower for ten minutes a day. I could learn a different machine, but there’s just something so pure about rowing to me.
Rowing is a passion I’ve held for years.
It’s efficient from a caloric burning perspective and it’s a low impact exercise if you don’t move your back too much at first. Even when I’ve spent hours emulating my work at the thrift store during my packing up process, not quite jumping in and out of moldy trailers but dealing with years of dust is about a tenth as bad, it’s still not the same as rowing. Rowing is something I enjoy doing, not just as a health and wellness obligation.
Or, maybe, we buy thinking step one is good enough.
With fitness, the barrier to entry isn’t lacking a machine: it’s the lack of ambition to say: “I must exercise.” Without that, we compromise with our health by overeating and choosing to remain miserable.
It was always poignant seeing donated fitness machines.
|Quotes:  We’d always receive the large furniture items like that in a special area because the warehouse area wasn’t large enough to stage stuff. Sometimes, it’d be: “Let’s put it out on the floor right now.” But part of the reason I left was that I didn’t like how perfectly good things were destroyed rather than shipped to some other charity. I’d feel bad that this perfectly good thing didn’t sell, maybe even something I could use, even after pressing the compactor button. Oh well.|
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 226.0
– Last week’s weight: 225.0
– Difference: One pound up and three pounds up from my lightest weigh-in. I haven’t been exercising much at all this week, and on top of that, I’ve felt sick all throughout this week. I’m not sure that there’s any correlation there. I’m in the tail-end of my packing of random boxes, so I might be plowing through the dustiest boxes. I just want this packing and moving to be complete…
|Inspirations: Accidentally written in the Quotes section, but I wanted to write about something related to donations and fitness equipment and my mind went in this direction.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Photo: I had another photo with some type of skiing machine, but it was a little more clear where it was located. This is just some compactor somewhere out in the ether.|
|Written On: January 10th [30 minutes] — OOPS! Looks like I wrote another draft of this already. Here’s the one I wrote on December 31st. I hadn’t marked it, so, I mistakenly re-wrote it. Enjoy both.|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|