This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.
Exercise is something I’ve always avoided. I’ve put it down to wanting more time to write. To being self aware. “I’m just not that guy who exercises.” But after flirting with exercise over recent months, I’ve been forced to reconsider.
Unfortunately, I’ve found my writing is more productive after a workout. I’m more engaged in the process after a cold shower. And I can write for longer if I limit myself to black coffee and clean food.
Damn. Time to unpack some old beliefs. Beliefs that I had to hate myself and abuse my body to write well. Sounds like hard work.
Fortunately, the world knows more than it did before. Smoking isn’t healthy and alcohol doesn’t lead to better sleep. Unfortunately, that means I know a drink this morning won’t pull me out of this angst. I need a cold shower and a workout. Even if it’s 10 meagre push-ups.
There’s an innate struggle and suffering to existence. That’s what great writers have always been so good at expressing. And no price can be put on those pages that ease our suffering. Whether that’s through feeling like we’re in the trenches together, or hinting that within the chaos and despair there’s space for a small win and time for the odds to favour us. A happier ending.
But I don’t need to add fuel to my struggle or suffering before I can ease it. The world will do that for me and it’ll be ugly and hopeless, brave and beautiful, and worth writing about.
Maybe it shouldn’t have taken me this long to realise it. But writing is my ‘ride or die’ in life and doing things that strengthen my character will make sure I can ride with it a little longer than many of my heroes. Face life with a bit more courage. Approach the blank page with an inner belief that I can do something. That I’m worthy of doing it. Because I survived a cold shower. And because I did 10 push-ups.
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