Portland, Maine will soon have two rocks gyms.* I find this astounding for our little city of 60k people. I climbed a whole bunch as a teenager, but I was never really sure if I liked climbing, or if I just liked my then-boyfriend, he who lived to climb. On the prompting of a friend, Daniel and I ended up at the new rock gym the first week it was open. A couple days later we bought shoes, and shortly after acquired a membership. I most definitely like rock climbing.
This is all part of the “ok, now that we are thirty-five, maybe it’s time to take up some form of exercise” ongoing conversation. Feeling hooked on physical activity- well, it’s not a new thing for me, but it’s new as of late, and it feels good.
Always one who likes to do things all the way, right after we bought climbing harnesses, I went out and bought The Four Hour Body (intrigued by the promise of gaining strength with limited time expenditure.) Since all of my self-experimentation with diets over the years had little to do with gaining strength, AND I know for sure that all changes to diet work in the beginning but not over the long term (so one might as well find a manner of eating that is pleasurable and normal)- I’ve been interested in learning about gaining strength, rapidly.
This is actually a meditation about change, and how encouraging constant change in our lives is part of living well. I write this because I tend to be resistant to and suspicious of change (classic INTJ). Yet, as Daniel and I frequently affirm to each other- the only way to have a long and happy marriage is to keep changing (one might say growing, but in the short term, growth and change on the non-physical level are nearly indistinguishable.)
I’ve been reading out-loud parts of that book to Daniel all week, leading to his comment, “I like all this type of stuff more than PMA.”
“What do you mean, Portland Museum of Art?”
“Positive Mental Attitude.”
I’d never heard the phrase, but it’s apt. For most of the past six months I’ve been fairly obsessed with improving my thinking, becoming more goal oriented, and figuring out a ‘safe’ way to get to a better mental space that doesn’t feel weird or culty.
Because, it’s true: most of the PMA world does look and feel weird, cult-like, and formulaic. (Notice how many blog posts on self-improvement starts with 7 tips for, 4 questions to ask to, 3 ideas to improve your, 8 ways to….)
Before a couple weeks ago, I would have ended that observation with a comment about contemporary culture, but I’ve recently read a couple of books from the 1930s which use this same set of formulations, and through their reflections, make it clear that ‘tips and tricks’ formats had been popular for a while at that time as well! (Tested Advertising Methods, Think and Grow Rich)
So we could easily attribute this desire to evolve and improve to the human condition, not some recent cultural fad. There’s just never been such an opportunity to talk about it in public as in the past decade.
Isn’t there a song from the eighties about constant change? oh no, that’s constant craving.
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