Monday, November 6, 2017

What's Choice Got to Do With It?

We tell them they need to read. We tell them that they have to read. They've been offered carrots and sticks, but they still don't read. They moan, they groan, "Reading is boring, I hate to read", they fake read, and they don't read. Why won't they listen to us? We know how important it is for them to read, we know that it will improve their lives, and on an intellectual level they know it, too. So why won't they do what's best?

It seems that my entire life, my weight was a topic of conversation or at the forefront of my mind. When I was very young, my mother and grandmother decided that I was entirely too skinny. They got the doctor to give me a “tonic” to improve my appetite, held my head and pinched my nose shut (imagine funny-NOT abusive; I fought like a hellion and I’m sure there were wounds!), and made me ingest that nasty liquid. By the time puberty hit, that tonic kicked in and I became pudgy. Middle school and high school saw varying attempts to lose 5 or 10 pounds. With adulthood and children came more pounds and battles (but sometimes surrender, and sometimes token skirmishes) with my weight. I’m an intelligent, well-educated woman. I know how lose weight, I know about calorie intake, burning calories, and carbohydrates. I know that I'll feel better, I'll have more energy, and my health will improve if I add exercise to my daily life. Problem is-I loath exercise. I don’t like to dance, don’t care for swimming, hate to walk on the treadmill, not a fan of lifting weights, too clumsy to do aerobics. I tried all of those and begrudged every drop of sweat and every calorie burned. I could walk our dogs, but I have excuses. They are elderly. We're out in the country and we can’t have them get in the habit of leaving our property. Mainly, I don’t want to do it. I don't care what the research shows, and I don't care what the doctor tells me. Exercise is boring. I hate it.

Something I don't hate? Horses. When I was a kid, I was nuts about horses. I rode them, showed them, and read every book that I could find about them. After having kids who were not horse crazy, that passion dissipated until the boys were grown and gone. Now we have two horses and a donkey. One of the horses is a high strung thoroughbred that is gorgeous but unpredictable because he is so easily frightened. When he is handled on a daily basis, he is pretty calm and he has excellent ground manners, but there hasn't been a reason to spend time working with him. I’ve simply enjoyed watching my equines graze in the pasture. 

That's changed now. I've made plans for the end of August; we are doing family pictures, and I want some photos that include the animals. In order to make that happen, Sheldon needs work every day, and I’m leery of riding him (the ground is a LONG way away) until he’s in a more relaxed frame of mind. My solution? I walk my horse. For the past week we’ve gone on long evening strolls, and I’ve walked farther than I have in years. Not only that, I’ve enjoyed every second of each walk. I have a purpose, it’s walking that I like, and it's relevant to me. This is walking that I do without forcing myself, without making excuses to avoid it. I look forward to it. Today there isn’t time for our evening walk, so I’m making time during the day. I’m making time to walk.

Isn’t choice a funny thing?

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