On Taking the Stairs

Day 25:  The path to the top starts by taking the stairs.

(iPhone photo, #25 in my 2012 365 project)

The truth is I always prefer to take the stairs over the elevator because I feel claustrophobic in elevators, but I like to believe I have a higher purpose, that the stairs are symbol of some sort of resolute virtue in me. Of course, there’s nothing virtuous about it. I just think the stairs equate to exercise, and I can therefore let myself off the hook for all my other bad habits.

The real truth is the stairs are torture. I get winded. My legs get sore. By the time I reach the top I know I’m not even a good person much less an unusually virtuous one. Nonetheless, I take the stairs. The stairs and I have a special love/hate relationship.

My office is on the first floor, and I’ve been walking to the third floor to go to the bathroom just to show the stairs who’s boss. Imagine my delight when I found out my classes would be on the third floor this semester. Now I picture myself walking to China and back on those stairs. I will take them not just once or twice a day but many times.

It’s a nice dream, but so far I’ve maxed out at four trips per day from the first to the third floor and back again. It will take a long time to get to China that way. It will take just as long (because endless can’t really be shorter in one direction than the other) to hike the Appalachian Trail after I’ve trained myself by taking the stairs. This is what I think I’m doing every day when I walk up two flights to pee, but I would really hate it if word of that got out.

The long hikes to the bathroom notwithstanding, I’m having some difficulty getting off the ground with my resolutions. This may be because I don’t actually have any resolutions. I have vague notions. This does nothing to prevent me from fervently believing I will achieve them if I just locate my most virtuous self somewhere in the ups and downs of my day.

I’ve also been having trouble deciding what my project would be for this year other than fervently working toward resolutions I have not made, of course. A resolute and fervent person must have a project. I will be unhappy without one.

Thus, I experiment.

I’ve decided to keep a resolution journal (on the theory that I will at some point have resolutions to go with it). At first I thought I could do this by posting manageable goals at the start of the week and reporting on my progress by the end of the week. This did not work at all because it did not take up residence as part of my routine. If I’m going to do it, I need to do it every day or at least most days. Otherwise, it will never be done at all.

I want to keep up my photo a day project, but I’m probably going to just do scenes from my life with the iPhone rather than challenges with the Canon. My idea at this point is to combine the photos with my daily journal reflections on what I’m doing to improve myself in mind, body, and/or soul.

Today I took the stairs only three and a half times (stopped on the second floor to go the bathroom the last time). I walked three miles around the lake. I wanted to begin interval training in which I would walk part of the way and run part of the way. I ran what would be considered a normal length between the couch and the bathroom for most people. I don’t think that can be classified as a start.

The thing about taking the stairs is that every time you approach them you’re starting out at the bottom all over again. I feel that way about resolutions. I feel winded by the very thought.

Today I think I’m going to show up again tomorrow and write something else about my resolve, though. I guess the only way to find out is to wait and see. Sometimes you start out walking to China, and you stop at the house next door and sit down to talk and maybe drink a Crystal Light. I don’t know where I’m going. I just know I need to take a first step. Meet me back here tomorrow at my resolution journal. It’s possible I’ll even show up myself.

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